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Monday, June 29, 2020

What Are The Best Routes To Reach Harishchandragad Fort?


What Are The Best Routes To Reach Harishchandragad Fort?

A weekend without work stress, but still something was missing, guess what? it was trek. Heart started beating fast, mind started thinking of another adventure from Sahyadri, Maharashtra. It was nonetheless than Harishchandragad Fort. It is been long time since last trek, my body was missing a thrill, and it was now high time to experience that thrill. This fort is one of the stunning fort in the hill range of Sahyadri and situated in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, India. Activity of trekking here is well known and one of the most challenging and toughest one. Harishchandragad height is 4665 feet from sea level. Monsoon here is filled with lush greeneries, amidst cloud and dense fog with waterfalls in the surrounding.

How To Reach Harishchandragad Fort

Harishchandragad is the main attraction from Sahyadri, Maharashtra and it can be reached via Air, Road, and Train route.

By Air

Nearest airport to reach here is Mumbai International airport which is further connected to the other national route. The distance from airport to destination is around 180 km. From airport one can reach to Harishchandragad fort by road.

By Train

There are two different routes from two different railway station.
Khireshwar village-It is the base village and nearest railway station to reach here is Kalyan on central line of Mumbai. Catch bus going towards Malshej ghat and alight at Khoobi Phata, Khireshwar village is further 5 km from it. One can walk or can take lift to reach the village.
Rajur village- It is another base village to reach Harishchandragad fort. Get down at Igatapuri station and reach Ghoti which is 20 km from Igatpuri station (Buses and share cabs available). Take another bus from Ghoti going towards Sangamner via Malegaon and alight at Rajur village. From here two ways diverge to the fort. 1- From Rajur one has to board the bus or private vehicle to the village of Pachnai. From here route is straight to the top point. 2-From Rajur village one can reach Tolar Khind and another 2-3 hours walk to reach the top point. Bus facility is available every one hour to reach Tolar Khind. If you are traveling from Pune then manage to reach Kalyan and then further to the route.

By Road

This fort is approximately 180 km from Mumbai and 100 km from Pune.
The route from Mumbai is 1-Mumbai-Kalyan-Malshej-Khubi Phata-Khireshwar village and 2- Mumbai-Igatpuri-Ghoti-Malegaon-Rajur.
Regular buses available from Mumbai and Pune as per the route. The first route that passes through Malshej ghat is the one that offers amazing road drive trip in monsoon time.
Following are major routes which are well known for trekking to Harishchandragad fort.
Way from Belpada-One should board the bus to Malshej and go to Belpada village on Malshej Kalyan road. From here the route goes through Sadhle ghat. One has to catch straight rock-patch trail to reach. The temple is further 1 km from Belpada. The total distance is 19 km. The route is not popular among trekker.
Way from Pachnai-Harishchandragad is 3 km away from Pachnai village. On this way there is small pond of water available. Pachnai is surrounded by the mountain.
Way from Khireshwar-One of the best known route by trekkers that passes through Junnar Darwaja (Gate).


This fort belongs to the ancient time. The various Puranas have lots of references about Harishchandragad fort. Its origin have said to be 6th century, during the rule of Kalachuri dynasty (ref). The different caves here were carved in the 11th century. In this caves, there are idols of Lord Vishnu. The cliff here are named as Taramati and Rohidas. Great Sage Changdev used to meditate here in 14th century. The different carving made on the temple of Nageshwar in Khireshwar village and also on the temple of Harishchandreshwar indicates that fort belongs to the medieval period, since it is related to Mahadeva. They were controlling the fort before Mughal. Later Mughal had a control of fort and further it was captured by Maratha in 1747.

My Experience Of Trek

Coming back to my corner of story, Trekking is some sort of peace and meditation for me. It not only heals me from inside but also realize me of one statement, and that is “Life is either adventure or nothing”. Harishchandragad trek was a dream for me and to make it come true, I had started collecting all information needed for this trek a week before. A day arrived, when it was time to give positive direction to the information I had collected. I was so excited to trek here, there was one more person who was excited like me and it was Mady, who is my partner in most of the trek. Final day was right here when we both left the home midnight at 3 pm towards the destination. A morning drive with peaceful climate and we are close to the target. It was almost 3 hours journey on bike from Mumbai.

Khireshwar village is the route that we had chosen for trek that further meets Tolar Khind.  If you are coming from Mumbai via Malshej ghat then take left 2 km ahead of Malshej ghat ending. This will leave you at the base of Khireshwar village. Malshej ghat here has lot to offer for travelers. One can find beautiful view of Lake while reaching towards Khireshwar village. There is enough space available at the base village where we parked our vehicle and started the trek with full of energy. Initial route is simple and slight ascend with zigzag. If you are trekking here in monsoon then be prepared the route with full of mud on the way. There is arrow marking on the stone towards Harishchandragad, so one doesn’t need to worry about. Trail route involves a walk through dense forest and route that further opens up in the rock. One has to climb the small patch of rock where railing is placed. This is one of the toughest part of trek where one needs to take care while climbing up. Follow the railing path and you will reach the top of the first mountain. This top is not the one you are looking for, destination was yet to come, trek continuous with flat walk and little ups and down. It takes almost 4 to 5 hours to trek the summit point. We have been a regular trekkers from Sahyadri, so difficulty was not issue for us. On top one can get engaged with amidst greenery, mist and cold wind. This is the combination to experience here for all trekkers. Sahyadri range shines with greenery in monsoon as like Himalayan Mountain with snow. 






Moving further one can experience beautiful valley on right side filled with fog. Most interesting part here was the valley view which was completely hidden under fog. We had waited here for almost half hours to see he beautiful view of valley after fog gets clear, the view was enchanting. The place was great and pictures that we got here was excellent. You need to keep your mobile or camera full charged and hope to save your camera from rain, because due to heavy rain we missed some of the important photos and shoot here. Khireshwar route is the one where you have to cross 7 hills to reach the top. If you want to avoid this route then there is another shortcut, but it passes through dense forest and bit risky too. If you are group of people then you must try this adventurous route. There are lots of small huts on the way selling few snacks and water too. Another few steps and you are near to the temple of Harishchandreshwar, the temple of lord Shiva. It looks so marvelous. There are few caves situated at the top where few peoples can accommodate in night and some of them use this caves for camping purpose. There are so many caves on the fort and some of them situated at the base of Taramati peak. Some of them are near to temple. The main attraction here was Kokankada that gives spectacular view and trust me it is simple breathe taking. If you are trekking to Harishchandragad then do not miss this place. In recent years, one video has got viral on social media and it was Kokankada completely under the clouds and the view becomes spectacular.


It was raining continuously and this is why we had to miss some of the points from summit, but whatever we had explored it was completely memorable. The fog on this day didn't helped us to see all the places. We couldn’t even wait for some time for fogs to get set, the reason heavy rain. We decided to move back and left for base village. Descending down was not much tough, it hardly took 2 hours to reach back to village Khireshwar. This trek is the combination of easy, moderate and difficult grade. If you are new comers then be careful while ascending. There are lots of new comers on this trek, but with proper safety and precaution. In winter it is beautiful destination for camping on the height. 


Ideal Time To Visit Harishchandragad Fort

The best time to visit the fort is monsoon from July to September. One can experience the foggy climate with greenery all around. Entire Kokankada is under the cloud in these days. From October to February the climate is pleasant with breath-taking view of surrounding region. This is the ideal time for camping lover. One can pitch their own tent on the top and experience the camping under moon light. Walking in the trees and smell of wild air is perfect in these season. Avoid visiting here in summer as sun heat up the rocks and it becomes difficult for trek.

Places Of Interest On The Fort

KEDARESHWAR CAVES- It is a cave with Shiv Linga in it, surrounded by water. The level of water is up to 5 feet and it’s too cold also. One can also experience different sculpture carved in the caves.
KOKAN KADA- The cliff facing towards the Konkan. It also provide the awesome view of surrounding mountain. This is one of the best point to witness the nature with rainbow.
SAPTATIRTHA PUSHKARNI-It is a lake built towards the east of the temple. It is said that once upon a time it had a idol of lord Vishnu in it. This lake is now polluted by the people.
TARAMATI PEAK- This is the top most point on the fort. From here one can have the glimpse of Nane ghat and surrounding forts.
TEMPLE OF HARISHCHANDRESHWAR- Temple itself is the beautiful example of fine art and sculptures on it. There are few caves and water tanks around this temple.

Stay And Food At Harishchandragad Fort

The fort is situated near to local village, so there are no hotels or resorts for stay. Hotels are available on the distance of 10 km from the base village. The price varies as per economic to deluxe room.
Kokankada at Harishchandragad fort is famous for night camping under shining stars. One who want to experience camping on the height of 4400 feet, for them it is a next level of adventure here. A part from this, there are caves on the fort that can accommodate good amount of people in it. If you don’t have your own tent then no worry, you can take it on rent from local villagers. One should definitely try camping at Kokankada once.
  • If you are going in to local village and not trying taste of homemade food then your trek is incomplete. Villagers at Maharashtra are the best in giving delightful tasty homemade food. You can request any villagers to cook some food for you. They will charge some minor amount for it, but it is worth of it. Load your bag pack with some energy bar and glucose that can help yourself to keep your body energetic throughout the trek.

Things To Know Before Visiting Harishchandragad Fort

  • If you are visiting here for the first time without any guide then take Khireshwar route which is easy and well-marked.
  • Start your trek as early as possible.
  • Avoid taking selfies at the edge of Kokankada due to some risk factor.
  • Trek with proper grip of shoes, otherwise it will put you in the trouble.
  • Do not drink on the fort.
  • Do not litter the area around the fort.

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