Harishchandragad is a paradise for trekkers. Just as the beauty of this fort is extraordinary, so is its history. Harishchandragad is a trendy place for trekking. A variety of animals, birds, and plants can be seen on this fort. It is the most favorite place of trekkers.
Harishchandragad is a mighty hill on the left side of Malshej Ghat on the border of Pune, Ahmednagar and Thane districts. The beauty of this fort is fantastic in the rainy season. Konkan Kada, west of Harishchandra fort, is known as the most attractive place here. Harishchandragad is 4000 feet above sea level.
This fort preserves its geographical and historical heritage. As the peaks here are named Harishchandra, Rohidas, and Taramati, the fort is directly linked to King Harishchandra by local legends. From the highest peak of this fort, i.e., from Taramati peak, Naneghat, Ajobacha Dongar, Kalsubai, Bhairavgad are visible.
From Harishchandragad, forts like Shivneri, Hadsar, Chavand, Nimgiri, Sindola, Jeevdhan, Gorakhgad, Machhindra, Siddhagad, Mahuli, Kaladgad, Bhairavgad, (Moroshi), as well as Bhairavgad (Shirpunje), Kunjargad are visible.
Harishchandra fort is also called Pandhari of wanderers (Bhatkyanchi Pandhari). This fort has the highest peak in the district of Pune called Tarabai Shikhar.
Harishchandragad is mentioned in ancient Agni Purana and Matsya Purana. Changdeva had performed penance in the caves in this fort. This fort is one of the oldest forts in India. The idols of Lord Vishnu are carved in the caves near the temple of Harishchandreshwar and it is believed to be from the 11th century.
Many caves have been carved here in the 11th century. There is a Shiva temple on this fort which is more than 12th century. The Mughals captured the fort from the Adivasi Koli Mahadev community. In 1747, the Marathas took this fort from the Mughals and appointed Krishnaji Shinde as the fort keeper. The British captured the fort in 1818.
What to See-
Konkan Kada –
Konkan Kada is the main attraction of Harishchandragad. With a circumference of about half a kilometre, this rugged shore attracts tourists.
The height of konkankada is 4500 feet from the base, and its straightness is 1700 feet. It is difficult to describe in words the joy of watching the sunset from this edge. In the rainy season, the beauty from this edge is amazing. The view that clouds come down here in April-May month is also captivating.
This temple of about 50 feet is at the foot of Taramati peak. There is a stone bridge in front of the temple. Under this bridge, a stream flows from the peak, this is called a source of Mangalganga river. There are many caves in the temple premises. There is a chauthara in a cave behind the temple, there is a room below the chauthara. The locals believe that Changdev had performed penance in this room for 1400 years.
Continuing in the flow’s direction of Mangalganga, the cave of Kedareshwar is on the left side. In this cave, there is a Shivling 1 meter high and 2 meters long This cave has waist-deep water. At first, the cave was weighed on four pillars, but at present only one pillar is intact. It is said that these four pillars represent the four yugas. According to the locals, this Shivling is from Satyuga, which is 9 lakh years old. It is said that King Harishchandra also worshipped this Shivalinga.
Taramati peak is the highest point of this fort. The peak is named Taramati after the wife of Raja Harishchandra. It has an elevation of 1429 m above sea level. This peak is one of the highest peaks in Maharashtra. There are a total of 7 caves, one of which has an 8 feet tall and beautiful idol of Ganesha. 2-3 Shivlings are found on the summit. From the top, you can see many places i.e. ajoba, naneghat, kulang fort.
Saptatirtha Pushkarni –
To the east of the temple of Harishchandreshwar, you can see this well-equipped Pond. The water of this lake was formerly used for drinking, but recently it has become polluted due to people throwing garbage and taking a bath. The water in these pounds is very cold. The construction around this pound shows how beautiful and important this pound used to be.
• Must Read – Prabalgad- The Fort that lived several dynasties
Where is Harishchandragad Located? –
Harishchandragad is located in the Ahmednagar District of Maharashtra State. Harishchandragad is a mighty hill on the left side of Malshej Ghat on the border of Pune, Ahmednagar and Thane districts. Because of the large perimeter of the fort, there are many ways to reach Harishchandragad.
Nearest Cities – Mumbai 140 Km, Pune 130 Km, Nashik 150 Km, Ahmednagar 130 Km.
How to Reach Harishchandragad-
Trekking is the only option to reach Harishchandragad. Because of the large perimeter of the fort, there are many ways to reach Harishchandragad.
•By Rail – Nearest Railway Station to reach Harishchandragad is Kalyan Railway Station 100 Km.
•By Air – Nearest Airports to reach this fort is Pune International Airport, Pune 120 Km, Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai 140 Km.
•Via Road – Because of the large perimeter of the fort, there are many ways to reach Harishchandragad. Via Khireshwar Village, Pachnai, Sadhale, Nalichi Vat.
Due to the large perimeter of the fort, there are many ways to reach this place.
1) Khireshwar Village –
This is the most famous way to reach the fort. To reach this way, Khireshwar village is at a short distance of 5 km from Khubi fata on the Murbat-Malshej Ghat road from Pune. On the way to Harishchandragad from the village, at a distance of 1 km, there is an ancient Shiva temple of Khireshwar. This temple dates back to the 11th century Yadav period. There are many stone carved portraiture in this temple. This temple is also called the temple of Nageshwar. There are two ways to reach the fort from Khireshwar village. One way goes through the Tolar Khind. This route takes about 3-4 hours. The other way is the way to the Rajdarvaja (Royal gate). This route was first used. You need the help of a guide to go this route.
2) Via Pachnai –
This way to Harishchandragad is from Ahmednagar district. For this you have to come to Rajuri village from Ghoti village on Mumbai-Nashik road. Pachanai village is at a distance of 30 km from Rajuri village. This village is at the foot of the fort. The distance from here to the fort is 6 km. This is the easiest way to reach the fort. It takes 3 hours to reach the fort by this route.
3) Savarne – Belpada – Sadhale Route-
To reach the fort, there is a ghat route Savarne – Belpada – Sadhale. Savarne is a village on the Mumbai-Malshej Ghat route before the ghat starts. There is a fata from Savarne village to Belpada village. Belpada is a village at a distance of 4 km from here. Harishchandragad can be reached via Sadhale Ghat from Belpada village. This route is very difficult and long, and most people avoid it. It takes about 10 to 12 hours to reach the fort by this route.
4) Nalichi Vat –
The hardest way to get to Harishchandragad is nalichi vat. The route is through Belpada village. Savarne is a village on the Mumbai-Malshej Ghat route before the ghat starts. There is a fata from Savarne village to Belpada village. Belpada is a village at a distance of 4 km from here. From Belpada village starts walking towards konkan kada. After a short distance, to climb through a narrow valley between Konkankada and the adjoining hills. Since this path is very difficult, one should follow this path only if one is aware of the technique of rock climbing. It takes 10-12 hours to reach the fort by this route.
Best Time to visit Harishchandragad-
Post-Monsoon season (Oct-Feb) is the best time to visit Harishchandragad. During this period, the weather is conducive to trekking. The fort is splendid to see in the rainy season, but the continuous rain in the rainy season, the slippery path makes the trek a bit hard. Therefore, experienced trekkers should trek in the rainy season. Seeing that, Harishchandragad is good for trekking anytime throughout the year.
Food & Accommodation –
The fort has both food and accommodation facilities. Many trekkers come to this fort for camping. Tents are rented for camping at the fort. There are also many caves on the fort, you can also stay in caves. Just don’t litter in the cave.
There are many food facilities available from the beginning of the trek to the top of the fort. There are small snack stores on Route. Meals are also available at the fort.
• Please do not bargain for meals and water bottles at this place.
Some Useful Tips before You Visit Harishchandragad-
- First and foremost wear good 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 is strictly prohibited.
- Avoid wearing jewellery and also taking any valuables.
- Last but not least have a medical kit with you
- Pimpalgaon Joga Dam
- Shivneri Fort
- Malshej Ghat
- Kalsubai Peak
- Kulang Fort
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