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Wednesday, November 11, 2020

When Is The Best Time To Do Beautiful Sondai Fort Trek?

Sondai Fort Trek
Iron ladder view from top 

When Is The Best Time To Do Beautiful Sondai Fort Trek?

The western Ghat's also known as Sahyadri hills that covers the long area of mountain. Sondai fort is one of it, and Sondai fort trek is the activity that can be taken place in this terrain. This place is located in the hill range of Matheran, Karjat at Maharashtra, India. Sondai is the name derived from goddess Sondai devi situated on the top of the mountain. Sondewadi is the base village to reach the top of the fort. Sondai is not a fort, it was used as watchtower for surrounding area. A less known place from Sahyadri hill range. The beauty of the place is, it is surrounded by forts like Prabalgad, Irshalgad, Rajmachi, Karnala fort and gorgeous Matheran hill range. One can not miss the view of the astonishing Morbe Dam from top. This adds the flavor in Sondai Fort trek. Though it is easy trek for beginners, it has its own adventure and like other forts, it has its own story to tell.  

How to Reach Sondai Fort

One can manage to reach Sondewadi village which is the base village to reach the summit point.

By Air

There is no direct connectivity to reach this place. The nearest airport is Mumbai International and Pune airport. From airport one can take self-drive car or can option for taking local transport like bus or train to reach the base village.

By Train

Karjat railway station on central line of Mumbai is the nearest rail-head to reach the base village Sondewadi. If you are coming from Pune side then alight at Karjat, Sondewadi is further 9 km from Karjat station. Pune-Karjat connectivity is easily accessible. After alighting at Karjat station walk further for 5 min and take 6 seater auto till base village. Auto is preferable when you are in group. If you are in budget to travel then take bus from Karjat chowk to Borgaon phata. Sondewadi is further 3 km walk along the side of Morbe Dam.

By Road

Self-drive vehicle is always preferable when it comes to trek to any fort in Maharashtra. One can take own car or bike till Sondewadi village. Enough parking space is available at base. From Mumbai to Pune old highway, one has to take left towards Karjat next to Chowk Phata. Village roads are in bad condition to drive, but still you can manage to reach here.

My Trekking Experience

Coming back to my corner of story, it was all started from Mumbai when I along with my friend was discussing the necessity to take break from routine life. Disturbed job life made me to plan something adventure. The break where I can immersed in the beauty of some place or I can feel what I like. Being short time in hand, I was in search of the place which is not far from home. Sondai fort trek was the only option which was close to me, I had heard of this place before and it was also in my bucket list. Fingers started scrolling the Google page to gather some more information related to this place. This is less of the fort and more in adventure for trekking, hence it was easy trek. This place being placed in the range of Matheran Mountain, Its magnificent structure was inconceivable. For me the distance to the Sondai fort was not more than 35 km as I stay at Navi Mumbai.

I must thank Google Map for directing me towards an exquisite hidden trek. As like other treks, I preferred to travel on my bike, because it is not only gives the comfort level but also it is time saving. As decided I along with my friend Mady reached the village Sondewadi at 11 am and parked the bike near to the entrance point of the fort. Driving towards the base village, view of beautiful Morbe Dam will leave you wander. The Dam view here magnetizes all travelers. One can get engaged in clicking some pictures and making some videos of it. Drive further 3 min ahead of Sondewadi village, there is small opening on right side that starts through the rocks. This narrow opening is the start point of the Sondai fort trek. Once you reach near to Dam take help of locals to find the starting point of the trek. Remember, there is no marking on road, one has to take help of locals for initial route.

Sondai Fort Trek
Morbe Dam view on route to Sondewadi village. It also has enough space for camping

Sondai Fort Trek
Roads to Sondai Fort trek from Sondewadi village

Once you get the starting point cross small water streams and follow same route. Trail is narrow and straight with small rocks throughout all the patches. Monsoon in Sahyadri always welcomes variety of pretty colorful flowers. One can witness such variety here. The route here is filled with dense trees on both the side. First glimpse of the fort can be still seen from  the start point. After a walk of 20 minute flat small plateau opens up and summit becomes clearly visible from here.

Sondai Fort Trek
Sondai Fort view from base of the trekking route

Sondai Fort Trek
One has to cross this rocky terrain with lush greenery on both side 

Sondai Fort Trek
Trekking trail at Sondai Fort trek

Left direction from the plateau goes towards the destination. It is steep ascending that takes you through the forest. Routes are not confusing and hence easy to find. Jungle trek and hiking through forest always sounds like ultimate adventure. Those are the terrain of nature that should neither be destroyed nor be litter. Another 30 minute ascend will lead you to another small plateau that offers the view of gorgeous Morbe Dam and Sondewadi village. This plateau also offers the view of beautiful Matheran range. Trek doesn’t stop here, another small mountain with adventurous Iron ladder was yet to come. Yes, you heard me right; there is steep ascending of close to 100 feet and ladder is the only source to cross this distance. No other routes other than Iron ladder. One such ladder trek was in Kalsubai and Sudhagad.

Sondai Fort Trek
Steep ascending to climb towards summit of Sondai

Sondai Fort Trek
Surrounding view of Sondai Fort trek

Sondai Fort Trek
Ladder route to climb the Sondai Fort

Sondai Fort Trek
Adventurous Iron ladder at Sondai Fort 

Sondai Fort Trek
This railing has placed next to Iron ladder for safety purpose, beside this railing there is small water cistern (It is not advised to drink water)

Valley on right side looks so scary, one has to take proper care while ascending from ladder part. The distance of 100 feet needs to cross with the help of ladder. There is small water body beside the ladder. Water is not drinkable here. One person at a time is a thumb rule to climb the Iron ladder. One mistake will take you to the death. Another water cistern opens up after crossing the first ladder. There is small railing that has been placed next to water cistern for safety purpose. Another small Iron ladder of 15 feet here will take you near to the destination. One can take some photogenic break here as it offers the beautiful view. Summit was yet to come. Another 5 min ascend and you reach to the final destination. Summit has small beautiful temple of lord carved in the stone. One can feel the fresh air with astonishing view of Morbe Dam and surrounding mountain range. It takes one and half hours to reach the summit point. Trek is easy for beginners, so no need to worry. Take long break at summit to feel the breathe taking view.

Sondai Fort Trek
Lord idol carved in the stone at summit of the Sondai Fort

Sondai Fort Trek
Surrounding view of Sondai Fort

Sondai Fort Trek
Glimpse of Morve Dam from the top of the Fort

Ideal Time to Do This Trek

Sondai Fort trek is best one day trek near Mumbai. Monsoon is the best time to do this trek. Mid June to September month is ideal time to visit here. One can find many flora and fauna on route. There are wide variety of flowers. Shimmering waterfall can make your adventure remarkable in your trek. At some point extra care needs to be taken in monsoon as rocks becomes slippery.

Winter here is pleasant for trekking lovers especially for one who are fonder of camping. October to February is the best month for trekking and camping. Small plateau near Morbe Dam has lots to offers for travelers in terms of camping with bonfire. Enough space is available near Dam for pitching the tents. One can camp on plateau or summit point. It is completely safe to do camping at fort. (One needs to carry own camping equipment’s).

You will hardly see any trekkers trekking in the month from March to May. Sun-ray in this time heats up the rock and body dehydrates so fast, so summer is not preferable for trekking.

Stay and Food Option at Trekking Point

There are no hotels or resorts near to the base village, so people coming here for night stay has to make own arrangements. Own tents can be pitch at summit or on route. One can travel 10 km to Karjat for hotel stay. There are hotels and resorts available in economic range.You can also camp next to the Dam.

No food counters at village or on fort. Better to carry own food.

Other Places to Visit around Sondai Fort

Karjat being close to Mumbai is favorite hangout for most of the trekkers.

Rajmachi- One of the historical fort ranging in Sahyadri Mountain. Karjat has steep but adventurous ascending to the fort.

Peb Fort-It is located 19 km from Karjat. One of the easy trek that offers the view of Ganesh Idol (Lord Ganesh carved on the edge of mountain).

Dhak Bahiri- Less of the fort and more of the caves carved in between the mountain. One of the toughest trek in Sahyadri region.

Irshalgad- It is pinnacles of stone ruined of the fort. The summit of the fort offers beautiful view of Morbe Dam.

Things to Know before You Visit to Sondai Fort trek

  • Remember to carry own water bottles and food, there are no source at village or on route.
  • Trek is more in to the rocks, so carry better griping shoes that can support your ankle too.
  • You just need to follow human made trail that can take you to summit.
  • There is one more route to Sondai Fort trek, but Sondewadi village route is most easy. 
  •  If you are visiting for camping purpose then better to carry tents on own. 
  • Do not litter the area and do not drink on the fort.


1 comment:

  1. Nice place and really this blog will be beneficial during trek...and a must visit place.....the way you have described this was amazing...keep it up man👍