Just like the name suggests, Rajgad is the king of forts. Because of the rich history and the fascinating architecture of the fort, it stands out among other forts in western ghats. It is situated at an altitude of 4,514 ft near Pune. Trek to the Rajgad offers to witness the beauty of the Sahyadris as well as the fort. The fortification of the 3 machis: Padmavati machi, Suvela machi, and Sanjivani machi define the architectural creativity of that time. There are many temples, water cisterns, and ashrams that are very rich in architecture.
It also offers a splendid view of other surrounding forts like Torna, Lingana, Raigad, Sinhagad, Mahabaleshwar mountain range, Pratapgad, Lohagad, Visapaur, and Tikona. There are many things on the Rajgad fort that define great architecture. There are long watchpoints(Machis) on the fort which is constructed like a snake. They were built using double fortified walls which is very interesting to see.
The trek can be started from Gunjavane village. The trek starts from the road behind the Hotel Suvela Garden. Once you cross this hotel after a 5-minute walk you get an entrance gate. Enter the gate to start the trek. The trail from here is fairly straight and chances are very low that you can get lost. The trail gradually climbs uphill after a walk of 10-15 mins. Now, you will be trekking parallel to the Suvela machi. After 20 minutes of trek, you reach a huge plateau. From here, you can see the Rajgad fort and Nedhe along with Suvela machi. And in the further accent, you have a proper trail till chordarwaza. Now, the trail connects you to the ridge that directly goes to the fort. Follow the trail until you see a final rock patch.
This section is pretty steep. Since it was the back door of the fort, there are no proper rock-cut steps. But now, to make the climb easier, there are railings till the entrance to Chor Darwaza. Once you exit the Chordarwaza, immediately there is a staircase that takes you to Padmavati machi. As soon as you climb up, a clear view of the Sahyadris welcomes you with mind-blowing views. Keep walking further till you reach Padmavati temple and lake. You can camp or stay in the temple. At the end of Padmavati machi, the trail splits into 3 sections. The trail in front of you takes you to Balekilla, the left one goes to Suvela machi and the right one goes to Sanjivani machi. There is a short descent to the exit point from Sanjivani machi from Rajgad that connects to Torna fort ridge.
Best time to visit:
Rajgad trek can be done in any season and it offers different views in different seasons.
Board the train at Hyderabad (8:40 PM)/ Begumpet (8:49 PM)/ Lingampally (9:12 PM). Reach the station on time. While you pack your bags, also pack some energy and excitement for a good trek. Make sure you carry some snacks, energy bars, water bottles, quilts, etc. Start your journey with a wide smile.
Your guide will meet you at the station/at your designated seats.
We will reach Pune railway station by 9 AM and we will board the private bus hired only for GoAdventure and head to the base village of Rajgad fort, Gunjavane village. Gunjavane village is around 2 hours away from Pune railway station. On the way to the base village of Rajgad fort, we will stop at a small market to buy some fruits, and also we will pack some food. You can buy water as well at the same stop.
Note: Please carry water bottles from home to avoid littering plastic bottles on the trails. Let's be very responsible trekkers.
We will reach Gunjavane village around lunchtime. Our trek leader will take care of entry permits and a few more formalities. Meanwhile, our local guide will join the team to support the team. Also, hiring local guides will provide some employment to the local villagers. We suggest you provide tips to the guide if you feel he is responsible enough. It motivates those local guides and bus drivers.
You can drop off all unnecessary luggage and a few other things not required during the trek by bus only. Please make sure that you don't drop any valuables in the vehicle. And, our trek leader will brief you about the complete plan along with team roles at the starting point of the trek. Once the briefing is completed, we will start our long trek with a lot of energy. After an hour of trek, we will halt for a hydration break and buy some lemon water from local vendors. Please don't negotiate there. It's a lot of hard work to provide that at that part of the hills. Still, it's quite cheaper than restaurants. Also, we will take a group photo on the flat lands of the hill with Suvela machi as a background.
After the hydration break, we will resume our trek and move towards Chor darwaja. The views at this point are breathtaking. You can ask fellow trekkers to capture an amazing photo when you are on the ladder of Chor Darwaja. Please don't block the way for long here since the trail is very narrow and other trekkers would be waiting to experience the same. After crossing this main door, we will be inside the boundary wall of the greatest forts of Chatrapathi Shivaji Maharaja. Isn't it a special feeling to stand in the capital of the Maratha empire.
We will spend some time at Padmavathi temple and the small pond. We will set up our camp or drop all the luggage inside the temple. We will consider this as a recharge break where will have some food and hydrate ourselves. Once, we are set with everything, we will head to a much more exciting part of the day. We will trek towards Suvela machi, Nedhe, and Balekilla. First, we will go to Suvela machi. At the end of Suvel machi, We will spot a very big hole in the mountain which looks very small from our first hydration break. This big hole is known as Nedhe. We will definitely capture a group selfie. Followed by, we will trek back to Balekilla.
We would be reaching the top of the fort which is Balekilla to witness an amazing sunset. We will be able to see clouds below us if the weather is cloudy. It feels as if Sun is playing a hide and seek game with us when you are at this point. Everyone can be a good photographer here because everything is picturesque with the backgrounds of Suvela machi, Sanjeevani machi, and a big valley. We will experience amazing nature till it is almost dark. It would be an awesome feeling to spend time here.
After returning from the Balekills to Padmavathi temple, we will wait for our dinner to prepare. Meanwhile, we will share travel stories, and team activities along with a briefing by the trek leader about the next day. We will have our dinner and take a rest. Please don't expect a campfire here since it is a sacred place for all the locals. Let's not ruin this place with ashes. And, we have to follow the buddy system for nature calls since there are no washrooms. We have attended them in the forest only. You can carry tissue paper and sanitizers.
We will wake up before 5 AM to start the trek early. It would be a very long day of the trek. We would be trekking around 16 KM from Rajgad fort to Torna fort, followed by descending to Velhe village to board our vehicle. We will visit the historical sites of this place, Suvela machi and Sanjeevini machi.
These places give a sight of beauty and serenity, good to visit during winters. These places give you a wonderful experience, with a beautiful environment and panoramic views. After breakfast, we will start ascending Torna fort. It would be endurance for all trekkers. But, the view on these ridge lines would be breathtaking and that gives a lot of happiness and motivation to go ahead in the trek. These long trails are a dream for many trekkers in South India. These beautiful views and endurance testing trails make this trek special compared to many other western ghat treks. There are a few adventurous rock patches that make this route more interesting. Don't worry..! Our certified mountaineer trek leaders and local guides will ensure safety with the right equipment. Life looks very special on these edges of mountains. That's where trekking as a hobby becomes a healthy addiction to conquer many challenges with ease.
We will reach the top of Torna fort around lunchtime. Yes! We definitely need to take some calories along with rehydration. There, you can witness the beauty of the steep hills, lush green mountains and hills, rocks and stones to cross, sometimes you can also experience the adventurous trek where you cross the water streams passing on your feet. All these moments and experiences are eye-catching and breathtaking. After taking a quick nap, we will descend to Velhe village. Velhe is the base village of Torna fort. By the way, You can see Rajgad fort from the top of Torna which looks as if we walked millions of meters. We will witness a waterbody with spectacular views.
This waterbody is known as Velhe dam or Gunjavane dam. The reflection of the blue sky and the white clouds form a reflection on the surface of the water, which makes you forget the past and take a deep breath.
Start descending towards Velhe village. While trekking down you can have a great experience by witnessing the beauty of mother nature. All these forts are swinging in the womb of Mother Earth. Though it is a tough trek, all the trek lovers like this trek as it is much more challenging. At Velhe village, we will end one of the best treks of our lifetime. This is where most of the trekkers are born.
GoAdventure also started our journey from the same trek. Our founders started their trekking life on the same trek. All our team loves this trek. Rajgad to Torna trek is always a special trek to us. This is where we started and many other trekkers started their trekking careers. Hopefully, we will see you at Gunjavane and welcome you to this community at Velhe village. Good luck buddy..!
Once we are done with the trek we will head toward Pune. Board the Bus to Hyderabad as the trip and the great trek has come to an end with lifetime memories.
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