Harihar Fort, situated in the Sahyadri range, is one of the famous forts in Nashik district. This fort is very famous for tourism. Breaking from easy to medium range for climbing, this fort is definitely a great option for trekking.
Harihargad is known for its steep steps. It is seen that these steep steps have been made by climbing the hill to climb the fort. The steps seem to be exquisite and very thoughtful. Each step has an angle of 60 degrees.
If you look at the end of the fort from the base, these steps seem to reach the sky at 80 degrees. Square notches appear on both sides of each step. While on the lower step, the hand meets the support in the groove of the upper step.
These notches make climbing much easier. It is only when you start climbing the fort that you realize that it would have been very difficult to climb the fort without these steps. The practice of carving forts in this manner has been going on since the Satvahana dynasty. Today, some 350 years later, some of the steps are still intact. This gives an idea of the traditional construction skills of the time.
The average height of the Harihar fort is 3576 feet. This fort is located about 40 km above Nashik city. The walls of the fort are very steep. To the east are the Kapada hills and the Brahmagiri mountains. These two mountains add to the beauty of the fort.
If you visit Harihar during the months of June to February, you get to experience the amazing beauty of nature. The entire construction of the fort is made of stone and bricks. But at present, the fort has suffered a great deal.
Harihargad is also known as Harshgad and is named after the village of Harshewadi located below the fort. Harihar fort should be restricted to unruly behavior. Also, the safety of tourists should be maintained. So the western forest rangers have denied entry to the fort without permission.
Tourists will be able to visit the fort only after getting the permission of the forest officials. Also, everyone who comes to this place will be checked and the tourist crowd will be closely controlled.
Harihar fort History –
Harihar fort was built during the Pankaj period. After that, it was in the possession of the Nizam Shah of Ahmednagar. In 1636, Shahaji Raja conquered the fort along with neighboring Trimbakgad. Later its control passed to the Mughals.
Later in 1670, Moropant Pingale conquered the fort and added value to the Swarajya. Mughal Sardar Matabbar Khan conquered Harihar Gad on 8 January 1689. Finally, in 1818, the fort was captured by the British from the Marathas.
Harihar Gad is the second fort in the area after Trimbakgad, which has experienced such ownership in history. Harihargad was conquered by a British officer named Briggs in 1818 against the British. At that time, the policy of the British was to destroy the fortifications and access roads of the forts with guns. Accordingly, he also did many things. However, he was shocked to see the beauty of the steps of Harihar fort. He did not even touch the steps of the fort.
What to See –
The triangular shape of Harihar fort, the steep steps carved to climb the fort are all wonderful. Although the fort is in a state of disrepair at present, there are still many features to be seen.
1) Lord Shiva Temple – Once you start climbing the fort, you reach a small plateau after climbing for about an hour. There is a temple of Lord Shiva on this plateau. This temple is very crowded on Mahashivaratri for darshan.
2) Steps of the Fort – Harihar fort is known for its steep steps. After walking for about half an hour on a small plateau, you reach the steps of the fort.
3) Ganeshmurti- After climbing about ninety steps, there is a small entrance to the fort. Next to the entrance is a small idol of Ganesha. In front of the entrance, there is a very wonderful step carved in a narrow hemispherical shape carved in the belly of the fort.
4) Cave- After passing the last small gate of Harihar fort, go a little further and there is a cave on the lower left-hand side but you need a rope to get down there.
5) Lake –
There is a big lake in the middle of the fort. The water of the lake is blocked by building a wall on the west side. There is a Hanuman temple on the bank of the lake and there are Shivlings and Nandis in the open.
6) Kothi – After descending, there is a stone house thirty feet long and twelve feet wide with a domed head in front. In the past, ammunition was stored there. The entrance to the room is like a small window, and it is dark even during the day. The roof of the fort is the only building that has survived.
Where is Harihar Fort Located? –
Nearest Cities – Nashik 40Km, Mumbai 200Km, Pune 250Km.
How to Reach Harihar Fort –
There are two routes to reach Harihar fort
Route 1: On the Nashik-Trambakeshwar road, 3 km from Trimbakeshwar, on the left side of the road, if you take the road towards Mokhada, Nirgudpada is a village at the foot of the fort.
Second way: On the way from Nashik-Trimbakeshar to Jawahar towards Sapgaon, after reaching Harshwadi which is 15 km from Trimbak, you can reach the fort.
By Bus – To visit Harihar, we used to catch a bus from the Nashik bus stand to Ghoti or Khodala. We wanted to get off the bus at Nirgudpada village. As soon as you step out of the bus, you can see the characteristic hill of Harihar on the right-hand side. From there, we reach the open plateau in front of Harihar fort in an hour.
There is another way for the fort lovers who are coming here from Trimbakeshwar. He took a bus from Trimbakeshwar to Mokhada or Jawahar for about 15 km. After traveling to the left hand, descend to Harshwadi fork. From here, after a 4 km long pipeline via Kalamuste, we reach Harshwadi. From here, after climbing rock for about an hour and a half along the banks of a dam, we reach the open plateau in front of Harihar fort. On this picturesque road, you can see an ashram, an ancient stone pool, and a Ganesha temple next to it. From Nirgudpada or from Harshwadi, both of them take you to the open plateau in front of Harihar fort after about an hour’s walk.
By Railway – If you want to go by train, you have to get off at Nashik railway station and from there you can go to Nirgudpada or Harshewadi by bus.
Food & Accommodation –
There is no provision of food or water on the fort, so it is necessary to have water with you while climbing the fort. The best dining arrangements can be made at Harshewadi or Nirgudpada.
Most of the trekkers stay overnight in Harshewadi village and start climbing the fort in the morning. Great accommodation is available in Harshewadi or Nirgudpada.
Some Useful Tips Before You Visit Harihar Fort –
- First and foremost wear excellent quality trekking shoes or sports shoes.
- Carry a flashlight/torch.
- Carry water bottles and some healthy non-perishable snacks.
- A pair of sunglasses, a raincoat, and a cap is a must.
- Carry at least 2 litres of water per person.
- Carry a quality raincoat and umbrella during the monsoon.
- Shoes should be of a good grip and waterproof.
- Do not litter on the fort or in the trek’s route.
- Carry protection for photographic and electronic equipment during the monsoon.
- Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol are strictly prohibited.
- Avoid wearing jewellery and also taking any valuables.
- Last but not least, have a medical kit with you