Escape - Rajgad Trek

11:53 PM

            Rajgad is one of the Maratha Kingdom's fort in the Pune district of was made as the capital of his Kingdom by then Maratha King chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaaj. The fort is 42 km to the south west of Pune, about 15–16 km west of Nasrapur, in the Sahyadris range.

Wiki Info:
           The fort can be divided into four different parts based on geographical terrain and fortification. These are the three sub-plateaux (Machee) namely Padmavati Machee, Suvela Machee and Sanjeevani Machee, and the central volcanic plug called Balekilla (meaning "small fort" or "citadel") 

Padmavati Machee (north end)
Padmavati lake at the summit of Rajgad Fort
          This machee is the site of Padmavati Temple, Padmavati Lake, Chor Darwaja, Pali Darwaja, Gunjavane Darwaja, Daru Kothar (storage of arms and ammunition), Diwankhana, Rajwada (ruins), Ghod Tale (Horse Lake), Sadar (office) and Dhalkathi (flag hoisting place)..It is also a site of Samadhi (Tomb) of King Shivaji's first wife, Saibai.. 

Sanjeevani Machee (southwest/west end):
          The machee faces west and has a three-stepped (layered) fortified structure. Each of the lower levels is separated from the higher one by a fortified bastion with a gate that could be defended independently. The lowest level is fortified by double curtain walls (chilkhathi) separated by a deep trench, on average 12 feet across. One can walk between these walls. The outer wall has openings to let soldiers out for sudden attack.

Suvela Machee (south east):
Suvela Machi as seen from Ballekilla
          This is another machee facing east with lots of secret routes and doorways. This one is a double-stepped fortified machee with the steps separated by a bastioned doorway. At the end of first step a hole cuts across the rock; one can sit on this hole (nedhe).
The final (lowest) step like Sanjeevani Machee is has a double curtain wall.
To the south side of this machee there is a triangular bastion called Kaleswari buruz having an escape door near it. The home of the renowned military leader Tanaji Malusare was in this machee. 

Bale Killa (centre):
            This is the highest part of the fort which has remains of palaces, water cisterns and caves. It has an entrance door called Mahadarwaja. One can view the whole fort and the vast surrounding expanse
           One can climb the fort from numerous route from villages at the base of Rajgad, namely Gunjavne (Gunjavne Darwaja or Chor Darwaja both on Padmavati Machee, and a tough route to Chor Darwaja near Nedhe on Suvela Machi); Chirmudi (Chor Darwaja on Padmavati Machee, the route meets corresponding route from Gunjavne); Wajeghar (Chor Darwaja on Padmavati Machee, the route meets corresponding route from Gunjavne); Pali (Rajmarga to Pali Darwaja on Padmavati Machee); Bhutunde (Alu Darwaja on Sanjeevani Machee); and Male (Chor Darwaja on Kaleshwari Buruj, Suvela Machee).
Another route from Budhla Machee of Torna comes through a connecting ridge to Alu Darwaja on Sanjeevani Machi.

Preparation for the trek:
               This trek was completely unexpected for me. I had been to Mumbai to my sister's house for vacation and she had booked this trek  with a trekking group. Since, the trekking group was responsible for everything there was actual little preparation to do. We left from Mumbai on friday llate night in a tempo traveller.

Trek day 1:

              We reached Pune early in the morning as the Mumbai-Pune Expressway reduces the travel time exponentially. The coordinators had booked a house for refreshments. There are numerous routes to climb the fort. The one taken by us was Pali (Rajmarga to Pali Darwaja on Padmavati Machee). We started trekking around 8am. The trek coordinator had chosen one among us to lead the trek. When we encountered multiple routes our newly appointed lead got confused to take the correct path. at this time a tip came from the coordinator turned out to be handy. He told to take the path which is littered by chocolate wrappers or plastic as trekkers throw them while trekking.

             It was a hard sun and after sweating for 4 hours we finally reached Pali Darwaza(Pali gate) by 12:30pm. There is temple on the top where you can take rest. Localites provide you lunch there(roti and subji). We had lunch and slept inside the temple for 1 hour. After getting up we walked towards Sanjeevani Machee to view the sunset. This takes around 1 hour of walking towards west end of the fort. the sunset view from here was astonishing. After a little bit of photography, we  walked back to the temple near padmavati lake where we had camped inside the temple. This place sees hundreds of trekkers during weekends, so you need to go early to reserve your place inside the temple as the temple can accomodate a maximum of 30 people.

Trek day 2:

             We woke up early in the morning to witness sunrise. The best point to view sunrise is Suvela Machee which is at the south end. Again a walk of around 45 minutes took us to the peak of this Machee. We spent an hour here witnessing the most beautiful sunrise. While coming back from this Machee we visited bale Killa which has remains of palaces, water cisterns and caves. The path to Bale Killa is little difficult since it includes little bit of rock climbing. We started trekking down around 10am. We reached down in 2 hours and took our cab from there to Mumbai.

Trekking details:
Cconnectivity: Well connected from Pune. better take a private vehicle.

Trekking season:

Difficulty level:
Difficult for amateur trekkers.
Moderate for frequent trekkers.

Must carry:

  • Tent, sleeping bag and mat.
  • Good trekking shoes.
  • Water(2-3lts). You can fill it up at the top.
  • Proper winter wear if you are going after Nov. Temp on the hill slides during winter
  • Flashlight, First aid kit, Knife, energy drinks and food items.
 Important guidelines:
  • Start trekking early in the morning, sooner the better. take rest at the temple and visit Sanjeevini Machee for sunset
  • Lunch is available  at the temple. Localites sell buttermilk and lunch. They also help to ollect you wood if you are planning for campfire in the night.
  • Carry enough of water or filter paper. Water is available at the top. You can filter it.
  • Keep your backpack as light as possible. Dont carry too much of food. 

  Total trekking time:
  • If you are a frequent trekker, you can reach the summit  in 2-3 hours.

Tips for photographers:
  • Dont forget to capture the beautiful Sahyadri range.
  • Sunrise at Suvela Machee and sunset at Sanjeevini Machee are perfect for some shots.
  • Padmavati lake blooms if you visit the fort during Full moon night.
Trekking rules:
  • Do not carry alcohol.
  • Do not throw anything during the trek.  Keep the trekking place clean for the following trekkers.
 Happy Trekking :)

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