This fort was the first to enter the Swarajya established by Shivaji Maharaj. Torna is located in the Sahyadri Range in the Indian state of Maharashtra. The average height of the fort is 1403 meters. Torna is a mountain fort and is a great option for trekking. The range of climbing is moderate so even those who are trekking for the first time can do this trek.
As the distance of the fort from Pune is only 67 km, there are not many difficulties in travelling. But despite being close to the city, the fort is situated in a scenic environment. So much so that during the eight months of the year, except summer, the fort is lost in the fog in the morning in other months. So this is a great option for nature lovers.
The expansion of the fort is very large. When Shivaji Maharaj saw the huge expansion of this fort, he called Torna as Prachandagad. Since then, the fort has been known as Prachandagad. The name Torna was given to the fort because of the large number of Torna trees found there.
Even today, these shrubs are found in large numbers in the fort. The construction of the fort is very special. Jhunjar Machi, Budhala Machi, and Balekilla are located in the middle of the two. As soon as we cross the Bini Darwaza and the Kothi Darwaza next to it, we reach Balekilla directly. The main feature of the fort is the direct access to the balekilla on the way to the fort.
Torna fort is still in very good condition. The fort has not suffered much fall in so many years, so the footsteps of history can still be experienced here.
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Torna Fort History –
Evidence of when and by whom this fort was built is not available today. Scientists believe that this should be an ashram of Shaivism based on the remains of caves and temples here. The fort was conquered by Malik Ahmed for the Bahamani rule between 1470 and 1486. Later this fort came under Nizam rule.
After Shivaji Maharaj promised to establish Swarajya, the first honor of Swarajya was achieved by the Torna fort and this fort came under Swarajya. When Maharaj came from Agra, he restored many forts. He spent 5,000 Hons on it. After the brutal assassination of Sambhaji Maharaj, the fort passed to the Mughals. Secretary Shankaraji Narayan brought it back under the control of the Marathas.
Later, in 1704, Aurangzeb besieged it and captured it in a battle, naming it Futulgaib, meaning Divine Victory. But four years later, Sarnobat Nagoji Kokate brought the fort back under the control of the Marathas and after that, the Torna remained in the Swarajya forever. Among the forts given to the Mughals under Purandar, Torna remained with Maharaj. What is special is that this is the only fort of the Marathas that was conquered by Aurangzeb.
What to See –
Toranjai Temple & Mengai Devi Temple –
There is a small temple in the stone chiseled wall in front of the Kothi door. It has an idol of Goddess Toranjai. While excavating at this place, History records that the Mavalas found pots of Treasure. On the way to the fort, there is the temple of Goddess Mengai.
Fort lovers who stay overnight live in this place. Also during the Navratri festival, people of Velhe village celebrate the Navratri festival of Goddess on the fort. On the way from Mengai Devi temple to Zunjar Machi, there is Hanuman Buruj, Bhel Buruj, Safeli Buruj, Malecha Buruj, Futka Buruj, and Lakkadkhana.
Zunjar Machi –
After coming to the Hanuman Buruja from the temple of Goddess Mengai, one can descend from the bank of the Buruja and go to Zunjar Machi through the door of Dindi. The road to Zunjhar Machi is not easy. It can also be dangerous to go to Zunjar Machi in the rainy season. Therefore, tourists need to be vigilant and go to Zunjhar Machi. There is a lot of fog in the rainy season on Zunjar Machi. Also, in summer, a distant region can be seen from Machi.
Torneshwar Mahadev Temple –
Remains of broken structures can be seen in the Mengai Devi temple premises. This is the place where the temple of Torneshwar Mahadev is located on the way to Budhala Machi. This area also has a very large amount of fog during the rainy season. The man in front can’t even be seen. After visiting this place in summer, you can see the area from Torna to Rajgad, Kenjalgad, Rohida, Sinhagad, Purandar, Vajragad.
Budhala Machi –
To the west of the fort is Budhala machi. There is a Chitta door at the end of Budhala Machi. Coming to the fort from Budhala Machi, you can see Konkan Darwaza, Takmak Buruj, Sivaganga, Patalganga tanks. One way from Budhala Machi to Bhagat Darwaza, the other way to Ghodjin Toka. Rajgad can be reached through Bhagat Darwaza. It can be dangerous to walk this way in the rainy season, it is very difficult to walk here. And there is a steep slope.
Balekilla is the highest point on the Torna fort. After seeing the beauty of Sahyadri in the Budhala Machi area, on the way back to the temple of Goddess Mengai, the remains of Balekilla can be seen. From the fort, a large extension of the fort can be seen. In fact, it was from this extension that Shivaji Maharaj named the fort ‘Prachandagad’.
Where is Torna Fort Located –
Torna Fort is located at the Pune district of Maharashtra state, India.
Velhe village at the foot of Torna which is about 67 km above Pune. From where the ascent of the fort begins, there are currently two options to get to the fort. One is that you can start trekking from Velhe village. Or in the last few years, to avoid inconvenience to tourists, a road has been constructed for vehicles up to 2 km from Velhe village. In this 2 km, the most difficult road is crossed. If you have your own vehicle, you can definitely choose this route.
While trekking on Torna fort, you can definitely enjoy nature. The entrance to the fort is narrow at the beginning. On either side of this footpath is a huge thicket of Torna shrubs. After crossing some distance, there was a deep gorge on one side and a mountain on the other side. There is an iron bar on one side for the safety of the tourists.
Nearest Cities – Pune 65 Km, Mumbai 200 Km, Satara 100 Km.
How to Reach Torna Fort –
By Bus– The ascent of the fort starts from Velhe village at the foot of the fort, so it is necessary to go to Velhe village to reach the fort. Swargate -Velhe bus is available from Swargate to reach the fort by bus. The village of Velhe is just 65 km above Pune. Velha can also be reached by this route.
By Railway– If you are planning to go to Torna by train, you need to come to Pune station by train from there.
Best time to visit Torna Fort –
You can go to Torna fort anytime but in winter i.e. from October to January the weather here is very nice. However, in the rainy season, due to the algae catching here, the share becomes slippery, so it is a little dangerous to visit the fort at that time.
Food & Accommodation-
The village of Velhe at the foot of the fort has excellent dining and breakfast facilities. But while climbing the fort, It is important to have food & water with you. Because there is less water or food facility on the fort.
Accommodation is available at the fort. For the convenience of tourists, the government has built some rooms on the fort where 20 to 25 people can stay comfortably. In addition, there is a place to stay in the temple of Goddess Mengai, so tourists can easily stay overnight at the fort.
Some Useful Tips Before You Visit Torna Fort-
- First and foremost wear good quality trekking shoes or sports shoes.
- Carry water bottles and some healthy non-perishable snacks.
- Carry a quality raincoat and umbrella during the monsoon.
- A pair of sunglasses, a raincoat, and a cap is a must.
- Carry at least 2 litres of water per person.
- 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