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Lohagad Fort - Trek to the Iron Fort

Nilesh Patil
These are some memories of our Lohagad Fort trek and our experiences in the valleys of Lohagad and Visapur ...
It is important to share that there were people who used to think and work―more than 300 years ago―towards the comfort and independence we are blessed with today. I decided I had to go back in time, and visit places that would throw light on the glory and rich, architectural skills of the ancient period.
One such place was Fort Lohagad, named after the spiritual leader―Lomesh. This fort belongs to the Satwaahan Period. The fort was built to observe the activities of Andhra, Nane, and Korbaarse Maval. Many powerful rulers like Mirza Raja Jaysingh and Kutubuddin tried to capture this fort, but in 1670, Chatrapatti Shivaji finally captured it from Nizam.
Here is a quick overview of the fort, where it is located, and how you can plan your trek.

Lohagad - The Iron Fort

Region/Location: Malavli, Pune
Height: 1,052 m
Difficulty: Medium
Approximate Time to Reach Top: 3-4 hours
Best Season to Visit: Anytime, although monsoon will be the best.
Water Availability: Plenty of drinking water is available as there are two lakes of drinking water on the top of the fort.
Transport: There are many ways to reach Lohagad from Pune; there is the Pune-Lonavala local up to Malavli station. You can also opt for the bus via the Pune-Mumbai Expressway.
Me and three other friends finalized on this destination a week before our trek. Once we decided the venue, we started looking for more people who could join us. Unfortunately, nobody joined us.
Malavli Lohagad Fort is situated near Lonavala 10 km from Malavli station, in Maharashtra, India. Our route was already planned; from Pune, we were supposed to take the 6:30 a.m. local train. We reached the railway station well within time and got the train. We reached Malavli Station at 9.30 a.m., had breakfast there, and headed towards the fort.
We had to hike through a jungle in company incessant rainfall. It was truly a heavenly experience. After covering around 8 km, we reached the center of the jungle from where we chose a trail that would take us to Lohagad. For people who are going to visit this place for the first time, be careful as the trails might lead you to Visapur instead of Lohagad.
Exploring Maharashtra is a fascinating experience in itself. This was proven true when we saw Ganesh Darwaaja. We also got to know that the construction of the fort was initiated and done by Dhondopant under Nana Phadnis (as it was written over there on a big stone!). One thing I noticed the most is, though the fort has a history of so many years, most of its construction is still as it was 200 - 300 years back. On the fort, there is an old Dargah and towards the right, there is small a temple of Lord Shiva. We also saw a lake with the shape of a polygon; its 16 sides were constructed by Nana Phadanis.
Then came the main highlight of our trip―the Vinchu Kata. This fortified spur is the main attraction at the fort. Imagine a 1500 m long and 30 m wide part of a mountain, that works like a natural armor for the fort! The name Vinchu Kata literally translates to 'Scorpion's Tail' in Marathi―the local language. If you see this portion from the fort, it actually resembles a scorpion's tail. It was used to keep a watch on enemies and activities happening in the nearby region.
We completed this trek in approximately 6 hours ... from base to top and back. None of us will forget this heavenly experience.
The best time to visit this fort is in monsoon. I would suggest that amateurs can start the trek early in the morning and finish it by evening.