About Ghangad Fort
A 300 years old structure situated near Tamhini Ghat and Mulshi, it is said that Ghangad Fort used to be a prison under the kingdom of Peshwas. And apparently, it was also the watchtower for the city of Pune. Unfortunately, there is not much historical evidence supporting this fact.
However, what the fort is sure to offer is the views for the lush green region from the very top. Ghangad fort is a popular trekking destination amongst residents of Pune, Mumbai, and Nagpur. The trek is a medium to easy level trek which on average takes about an hour to reach the midpoint of the fort.
From here, it does not take more than 30 to 40 minutes to reach the top. This fort is also a great space for camping as there is a lot of open space. Moreover, the fort also houses several other attractions such as the caves, the age-old fortifications, a temple of Goddess Garjai and a water cistern of stone cuts.
How to Reach Ghangad Fort
Ghangad Fort can be reached by railways as well as by roadways.
By Train: The cheapest way of reaching here is on a train journey. Visitors can board a train to Lonavala from Mumbai or Pune which is the closest railway station at a distance of 35 kilometers from the fort. Thereafter, using public transportation, you can further reach Bhamburde.
From Bhamburde, a hike of 20 to 25 minutes takes you to Ekole village which is the base camp for the trek. Buses are available from the Lonavala bus stand. There are 2 Lonavala to Bhamburde village buses. The timings are - 9.00 AM and 12.30 PM
For your way back, the last bus from Bhamburde Village to Lonavala leaves at 2.30 PM. Post this, finding transportation is very difficult.
By Road: If one wishes to take the roadways, the Lonavala-Aamby valley route offers scenic views and is pretty well maintained. Similarly, Tamhini Ghat Route is an alternate route option. The way to Ghangad Fort takes one through the scenic hills of Sahyadris, thus a road trip is recommended for driving or riding enthusiasts.
By Air: Mumbai airport is the closest airport to the fort.
Best Time to Visit Ghangad Fort
Summer: The summer months of March to June start are very hot and humid in the Sahyadris and must be avoided.
Monsoon: The monsoon months of June, July, August until mid September bring out the most scenic views of the Sahyadris. The western ghats bloom with lush greenery. However, due to the rains that also bring out foggy clouds, visibility is not the same every day.
Having said that, the rains make the trail of the fort all the more adventurous and thus marks the best time to visit Ghangad Fort; especially for trekkers.
Winter: October to February months of winters has pleasant weather for adventure activities like trekking or hiking. And here amidst the Western ghats, the fort also offers clearer views of the sky and the surrounding region. Thus, nature lovers interested in landscapes may want to visit during the winter season.
What Not to Miss at Ghangad Fort
Places to visit in and around Ghangad Fort
Tung Fort - A fort surrounded by water on three sides, Tung Fort is also known as Kathingad meaning difficult fort. That explains the trekking level for people willing to visit this fort. The fort was built in the 16th century under the Adil Shahi dynasty. Trekking enthusiasts must first reach Tungi - the base village through boats and thereafter start this trek of about 45 minutes to Tungwadi.
Korigad Fort - Another fort for trekkers, this one is rather for beginners who are looking for an easy level trek. Peth Shahapur is the base village to this trek from where you can start this fun trek to the fort.
Lohagad Fort - Lohagad fort and Visapur fort are two forts located in close proximity from each other and of great historical importance. During the rule of Shivaji Maharaj, the Lohagad fort was used to keep a watch on the regions of Konkan and Bhor ghat. Today, the fort is a fond choice amongst trekkers and also as one day picnic destination.
Bedse Caves - If you tired of forts and are looking for other places to visit in and around Ghangad fort, you can go to Bedse caves. These caves were carved in the first century in the direction of the sunrise. The caves hold age old carvings that are fun to decode. It is said that a British officer discovered these caves along with the fort and repainted the carvings. Thus, the original carvings were unfortunately lost.
Pawna Dam - This dam is the major source of water to PCMC. It is a popular picnic spot that also houses a boat club called Lohagad Boat Club. The dam is surrounded by westren ghats and is seen in several movies, short films. Visitors can also stay at the resort here and have a relaxed overnight trip around nature.
Things to do in and around Ghangad Fort
Trekking to nearby forts - Ghangad fort is surrounded by a number of other hills that have forts atop them. Some of these forts like Lohagad, Visapur, Korigad, and Tung Fort also make for other great trekking destinations for trekking and hiking enthusiasts.
Pray to Goddess Garjai - Enroute your trek to the top of Ghangad hill, don’t miss out on visiting this temple of Goddess Garjai. The temple is tiny and simple and has some seating space where trekkers can sit down for some breather.
Explore Caves - Ghangad fort has caves en route its trail. These caves are age-old and have carvings of maharajas from the time of Shivaji rule. Interested folks can also Bedse caves which are located in close proximity from the fort. These caves too house carvings from the first century. Apparently, a British officer discovered these caves along with the fort and repainted the carvings. And that is how the original carvings were unfortunately lost.
Camping at Ghangad Fort - The open space at this fort offers ample camping opportunities for setting up the tent as well as for cooking in the open. The fort is atop the hill, over 2500 feet and thus have great views and pleasant, breezy atmosphere. All these make camping here a great idea. However, camping must be avoided during the monsoons as severe rains bring along speedy winds and unsuitable conditions.
Other Essential Information About Ghangad Fort
Mobile Connectivity: The fort has decent mobile network connectivity throughout the trail. The fort which is at the top of the hill also has a good network on most days. However, the network can be unstable or uncertain during the monsoon season.
ATM's: Starting from Ekole which is the base village for Ghangad fort, there are no ATMs. Thus it is advisable for all trekkers to carry enough cash in hand from before hand and not rely on ATMs in the surrounding region.
Food Joints: Ekole, the base village has a few stalls that sell basic food items like biscuit packets and water. It is advisable to carry some food on the trek. Protein bars and energy efficient food items such as peanuts are best for trekking times.
Minimum Duration for Ghangad Fort: The trek to Ghangad fort is considered to be easy to medium level. It takes about an hour for trekkers to reach half way through the fort. Post this, it takes not more than 30 to 40 minutes to complete the rest of the trek to the hilltop where the fort is located.