Harishchandragad Trek - Flowers Special Trek
Harishchandragad is one of the best high forts near Mumbai, Maharashtra. Strong fortifications of this fort have multiple entry routes such as the Junnar gate route, Sadhale ghat, Nalichi wat, and Indore Vaat.
The carvings on the temples of Nageshwar in Khireshwar village, in the Harishchandreshwar temple, and in the cave of Kedareshwar indicate that the fort belongs to the medieval period since it is related to Shaiva, Shakta, or Naath. Later the fort was under the control of Moghuls. The Marathas captured it in 1747. Main attractions on Fort: Sapta Tirta Pushkarini, Kedareshwar Cave, Konkan Kada - Konkan cliff, Taramati peak, Temple of Harishchandreshwar.
Harishchandragad Trek Event Details
- Harishchandragad trek grade difficulty level medium
- Harishchandragad trek endurance level medium
- Harishchandragad trek height 4650 feet approx above sea level
- Region: Igatpuri, Ahmednagar, Junnar
- Total time required for climbing: 3 hours uphill climb one way.
- Harishchandragad trek distance from Pachnai village five kilometers uphill
- Drive from Mumbai: 220 km one way
- Cost for Harishchandragad Trek: Rs 1399/- per person
Harishchandragad Flowers Special Trek Event Itinerary
Day 0 - Saturday Night
Catch CSMT – Kasara local
Kasara slow local
- 08:44 pm - CSMT
- 08:51 pm - Byculla
- 08:58 pm - Dadar
- 09:07 pm - Kurla
- 09:11 pm - Ghatkopar
- 09:26 pm - Thane
- 09:42 pm - Dombivli
- 09:52 pm - Kalyan
- 11:04 pm - Kasara
11:15 pm - Meet Trek Leader at Kasara Railway Station.
11:30 pm - Move towards the base village in by private local vehicle.
04:30 am - Reach at base village - Paachnai.
Freshen up and Breakfast.
06:30 am - Start ascending.
09:00 am - Reach on top and explore. Visit Harishchandreshwar temple, Kedareshwar temple, Pushkarani, Caves.
10:30 am - Start trek towards Kokankada.
11:00 am - Reach Kokankada and Enjoy your time at Kokankada.
12:30 pm - Lunch.
01:30 pm - Start descending.
04:00 pm - Reach base village and start return journey towards Kasara.
08:00 pm - Arrival at Kasara railway station and disperse.
- People may board same train from their respective stations of convenience.
- Missing the train is missing Harishchandragad Trek, no refund will be provided.
What is included in the tour
- 1 veg Breakfast and 1 veg Lunch.
- Travel from Mumbai to Mumbai (Bus option)
- Kasara to Kasara travel by local vehicle (Train option)
- Trek Leader expertise charges
- Forest Fees Charges.
What is NOT included in the tour
- Travel till Kasara and back
- Mineral water/lime water/ purchased for personal consumption
- All kinds of Extra Meals / soft drinks ordered.
- Any kind of personal expenses.
- Any kind of cost which is not mentioned in the cost includes above.
- All expenses incurred due to unforeseen and unavoidable circumstances like roadblocks, bad weather.
- Any medical / Emergency evacuations if required.
- 2/3 liters of water
- Proper face mask or shield
- Trekking Shoes provide more grip and comfort on the trek
- Good Torch must with an extra battery
- Some Dry fruits / Dry Snacks / Energy Bars
- Glucon D / ORS / Tang / Gatorade sachets
- One Day Backpack 20 to 30 liters
- Sun Cap and Sunscreen
- Personal First aid and Personal Medicine
- Identity Proof
- Please wear Full sleeves and Full Track Pant this will protect from Summer Sun / Thorns / Insects / Prickles
Covid Safety Guidelines
- Before planning for any adventure activity, please improve your minimum physical fitness. Most of us have been at home for a lockdown period.
- Please convey your real medical conditions to Treks and Trails India while enrolling for the event.
- Kindly wear three-layered masks, N95. Carry an extra disposable mask with you. Please ensure all participants, leaders, staff, and general persons wear masks before interacting with them.
- Carry with your hand wash, sanitizer bottle, and clean your hands before touching food and objects.
- Cover-up wear full sleeves shirts and full pants, hiking shoes, caps, and face bandana over your mask. Covering up will help reduce exposure to the Covid19 virus.
- Bring your food and water with necessary cutlery like utility mug, fork, and spoon. Your mug can be used for cooking, eating, and drinking water. Carry your reusable water bottles; please don’t share with others.
- Cooperate for temperature checks, questions reading any symptoms, and oxygen level checks; these are done to help you limit the spread of the virus. All these checks will be conducted multiple times during the activities.
- Kindly do not register for the event or travel if you have come in contact with someone who has Covid19 in the last 14 days.
- If you have any symptoms like fever, dry cough, weakness, body aches, etc., at the time of screening. You won't be able to participate in the event. You will have to be evacuated on the medical condition and should report to the nearest healthcare center.
- Maintain a distance of six feet or more while sleeping at night. Incase distance is not possible, try sleeping in a criss-cross manner to avoid face proximity.
- Please bring your garbage back to the city and dispose of it in your bin.
- Consuming any alcohol, cigarettes, pan masala, tobacco, drugs should be avoided; they induce a lot of spitting, urinating, and passive smoke, which can be harmful for the general population.
- Avoid touching new surfaces and touching your mask and face continuously.
- If your adventure destination is overcrowded, be prepared to change your location or wait for the crowd to reduce.
- If any participant, trek leader test positive after returning from the event within 14 days of the Activity. They should maintain transparency and inform Treks and Trails India. It will help all others isolate themselves and get tested. Participants and Treks and Trails will cooperate to help manage the situation.
- Carry your own personal gear.
- Keep the conversation with unknown people to a minimum and maintain a distance of more than 6 feet while talking.
- Avoid speaking with the general population and maintain distance to keep yourself safe in these difficult times.
- Participant need to install the Arogya Setu app
- 75% refund if notified via phone conversation 8 or more days prior to the event date.
- 50 % refund if notified via phone conversation 4 to 7 days prior to the event date.
- No refund if the cancellation requested is less than 3 days prior to the event date
- No show No Refund.
- Event Tickets cannot be transferred to another date against cancellation.
- Event Tickets cannot be transferred to another person against cancellation.
- If Trek gets canceled we will refund "Trek Amount" only.
- If the event is canceled due to any natural calamity, political unrest or other such reasons beyond our control the same cancellation policy will apply.
Treks and Trails Event Rules
- Kindly carry one Identity proof, at least for the trek with your address.
- We all are going for an adventurous and exciting trekking expedition; please Do Not misinterpret it as a PICNIC or LEISURE TOUR.
- The leader's decision will be final, and all the members should abide by it.
- We do not destroy or dirty the archaeological, historical monuments, natural habitat on the trek.
- Swimming is not allowed in the lake or water tank on the forts. Locals use that water for drinking.
- Putting your feet in water tanks or on the canon is not allowed on our treks.
- Any addiction is strictly prohibited, e.g. drinking, smoking, chewing tobacco anyone caught doing it will have to exit the trek without a refund and travel back on own expense.
- People caught smoking or drinking alcohol will be asked to exit the event on an immediate basis.
- Please do not carry or wear any valuables, ornaments, jewellery, etc. If carried, then we Do Not take any liability for the same.
- Rock Climbing, Rappelling, Trekking, or any adventure activity is potentially risky. For all these events, you are at your own risk. Organizers are not responsible for any accident or compensation in whatsoever manner.
- We should strictly follow the code of conduct to avoid troubling our fellow trekkers or other people from our group or outside.
- Listening to music on earphones or Bluetooth speakers is not allowed while trekking.
- Bluetooth speaker not allowed inside the homestay or camping tents.
- Drinking/smoking,/eating is not allowed inside the tents.
- If you damage the tent, break the tent poles, you will have to pay us for the whole new tent on MRP.
- If you are late for the bus pickup and are not reachable on the phone during your bus pickup, the trek leader will leave without you, and we will provide no refund.
- Please check things to carry and wear trekking shoes on our treks.
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Harishchandragad trek tips
1. Can we drive to Pachnai Village - Harishchandragad Trek?
Yes, you can drive to Panchnai village. Please note there is no mobile network in the village. Harishchandragad trek difficulty level from the Pachnai village is medium. It takes two hours to reach the Harishchandragad temple. The trek route is well marked, and barriers are placed at dangerously exposed sections to help hikers avoid any accidents. The road conditions from Ghoti turn till Pachnai village are in bad condition suited for SUV car.
2. Distance from Mumbai to Pachnai village?
Six hours drive from Mumbai - 180 km approx.
3. Distance from Pune to Pachnai Village?
Harishchandragad trek from Pune via the Pachnai route is six hours drive from Pune, 240 km approx.
4. The number of days required for this event?
We will start the bus journey at night, followed by a Harishchandragad trek on arrival, followed by a return journey by bus from Pachnai. Harishchandragad in monsoon has become a popular trek recently, with road access improvements to the Pachnai village. It takes two hours to reach the caves from the trailhead. The Kokankada is completely covered in Fog sometimes, and the route is blocked due to low visibility.
5. Where can we park our cars?
Base Village at your own risk. There is ample parking available.
6. Is there any parking charge at Harishchandragad Trek, Pachnai Village?
Yes, locals normally ask for a parking fee.
7. Do you provide sleeping bags?
No Sleeping bag. For hygiene reasons, we don't provide sleeping bags.Harishchandragad trek and camping, please carry two bedsheets or your sleeping bag with a camping mat.
8. Is the toilet available on Harishchandragad?
Not available. During the trek, toilets are not available.
9. Do Single travelers females sign up for these events?
We have 60 - 40 % or more Male - Female ratios on our events.
Many Single Travelling Females join our events.
10. Are kids allowed on treks?
Kids below 15 with Parents' supervision only.
11. What type of food will be provided?
Food preference only Veg local home-cooked is available. Abundant crystal clear drinking water is available along the route.
12. Phone connectivity?
Limited phone connectivity is available for most cellular services.
13. Where will we stay at Harishchandragad?
We will not stay at Harishchandragad for this event. We are going for a day trek; we will start early morning and return by lunch at the Pachnai village.
14. Is cash payment or spot payment accepted?
Cash payment is not accepted. Registration against 100% upfront payment only via Gpay / UPI / NEFT / IMPS / Payment Gateway on the spot payment not accepted. We need to book in advance bus/jeep and make other arrangements upfront payment is a must.
15. Will I get bottled water?
Normal well water shall be provided. Pure natural water is available on the trail route.
16. Can I charge my phone?
No electricity. Please carry a power bank if required.
17. How is the weather now?
Summer Temperature Night 13- Day 39°C approx.
18. Can we smoke or drink alcohol?
People caught smoking or drinking alcohol will be asked to exit the event on an immediate basis.
19. Can we listen to music on Bluetooth speakers?
Listening to music on earphones or Bluetooth speakers is not allowed while trekking, Bluetooth speakers not allowed inside homestay. Kalsubai Harishchandragad wildlife sanctuary forest department doesn't allow speakers inside the forest.
20. How do I make payment?
You can pay online on our website on how to register tabs.
In case your question is not listed above you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Places to visit on Harishchandragad Trek
1. Harishchandragad Kokan Kada
This interesting cliff faces west and provides views of the surrounding region. The cliff has an overhang, but many times it's been climbed by curious explorers like yourself! Sometimes a circular rainbow can be seen from this point, a rare phenomenon that happens when there is mist in the valley, and you're looking straight at its source, i.e., behind someone. One cool thing to look out for here are vertical cloud bursts: When approaching cliffs or mountain ranges with low-lying clouds above them on windy days, if these clouds get sucked into pockets below, they may shoot vertically upwards more than 50 feet, so keep your eyes peeled for those as well! Harishchandragad Trek in winter is popular among hikers; you get excellent views from the Kokankada.
2. Saptatirtha Pushkarni
On the east side of Harishchandreshwar temple is a beautiful small lake, originally a potable source of drinking water. However, due to recent trekkers who have been throwing their garbage in it and because plastic cannot be destroyed by sunlight, this once-potable water no longer has any drinkability. Locals usually swim here during the monsoon season and winters Making it unusable for drinking. A few years ago, at the Saptatirtha Pushkarni, there were many lakeside idols dedicated to various Gods such as Vishnu. But now, these deities have been moved to nearby caves for protection from the elements and tourists.
3. Kedareshwar Cave
At your right, as you approach Harishchandreshwar temple, there is the huge cave of Kedareshwar, in which a big Shiva Linga stands. It's surrounded by ice-cold waist-deep water. The height from base to top measures five feet, and it can be hard for pilgrims to reach due to the icy cold water. But that doesn't stop them! There are sculptures constructed out in the cave. It is sometimes difficult to reach Kedareshwar cave in the rainy season, as a river flows over the way.
This is the origin of River Mangalganga. There were four pillars erected encompassing the Shiva Linga to maintain the cave. Now only one Pillar is standing. Though four pillars were surrounding the Linga, presently, there is just one Pillar unimpaired. Locals believe the pillars to be representatives of yuga or time, namely, Satya, Treta, Dvapara and the Kali Yuga.
4. Caves on Harishchandragad
The natural caves that make up the fort are scattered throughout and give refuge to exhausted adventurers. Some of these can be located near dhabas, some far away in forests unexplored by outsiders but known well to locals. The most magnificent cave is situated on a hillside not too close, or far from Saptatirtha Pushkarni at 30 feet deep and with many entrances, so it's easy for anyone who enters time again to find their way back inside after exploring outside.
Earlier trekkers would stay in these caves during the rainy season and winters. With many Dhabas coming up who offer Harishchandragad camping services, very few people now stay in the caves while trekking.
5. Pachnai Village
Pachnai village is located 210 kilometres from Mumbai. The main source of income for villagers is running restaurants at the base village, dhabas along the route, food and camping on the Harishchandragad mountain for trekkers and pilgrims. It is located at an altitude of 2592 feet above sea level. During the monsoon season, the village is surrounded by beautiful waterfalls. Post monsoon rice fields can be seen everywhere. It has a lot of wildlife. Pre-monsoon is famous for fireflies spotting. Though the total road distance is around 210 km, it will easily take 6 to 8 hours to reach the village. The roads leading to the village are in bad shape and constantly under repairs due to damage done by heavy rainfall each year. Spending a day exploring the nearby waterfalls and staying with at local homestays is recommended.
Harishchandragad Trek 2022 | Harishchandragad Fort from Mumbai /Pune
A trek to Harishchandragad Fort, a favourite destination from Mumbai and Pune. A part of Kalsubai Harishchandragad wildlife sanctuary. Harishchandragad is a hill fort in the Ahmednagar district of India. Its history is linked with that of Malshej Ghat, Kothale village and it has played a major role in guarding and controlling the surrounding region. Harishchandragad Fort Trek left an indelible mark on my heart at the very first moment my eyes met and feasted on the views from the fort.
Harishchandragad trek from Pune distance via the Khireshwar village is 125 kilometers. It takes four hours to reach Harishchandragad Fort from the Khireshwar village route. Harishchandragad night trek from Pune from the Khireshwar village is popular during the winter and summer seasons.
How do I get to Harishchandragad Sahyadri Fort Trek?
How to Reach Harishchandragad by Train. The nearest railway station to Harishchandragad fort is Igatpuri Train Station at a distance of 41 km away from Harishchandragad Fort. However, to arrive here, you need to take a train from Kalyan Mumbai. Please wear good trekking shoes for Harischandragad Trek.
Which season is best for Harishchandragad?
In Malshej ghat, Harishchandragad Fort is a prominent sightseeing attraction and the best months (or season) to visit there coincides with that of the destination itself - Aug, Sep are considered the best time to visit Harishchandragad fort. Ancient water tanks look most beautiful post-monsoon period. There are many Harishchandragad trek routes that are open during different seasons.
Khireshwar Temple is a wonderful historic structure with a variety of creative pieces on display. Carvings can be found on the temple's ceiling. The 1.5-meter long sculpture of Lord Vishnu in the sleeping posture, popularly known as "Sheshshayi Vishnu" in Marathi, is the primary feature of the carvings here. It is extremely rare, and as a result, it is quite valuable. There are several legends about this artwork. Near the temple, there are caverns.
Because it is tied to Mahadeva as a totem of tribes Mahadev Koli, the carvings on the temples of Nageshwar in Khireshwar village, the Harishchandreshwar temple, and the cave of Kedareshwar suggest that the fort dates from the medieval period.
How can I reach Harishchandragad from Mumbai? Harishchandragad route information?
How to reach Harishchandragad from Mumbai
- Catch a local going towards Kalyan (on Central Line). ...
- The ST depot is just beside the station on the west side. ...
- Ask the ST conductor for a ticket of Khubi Phata. ...
- Get down at Khubi Phata and start walking on the 6 km long dam that just starts beside the road.
Harishchandragad, a hill fort in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, is one of the most challenging treks in the Western Ghats. Harishchandragad is one of the trekker's paradise with simultaneous rappelling, camping, rock climbing and valley crossing with steep slopes and is considered to be the difficult treks in all of Sahyadri Fort.
Harishchandragad fort trek, a part of Kalsubai Harishchandragad wildlife sanctuary, is 210 km NE of Mumbai and 170 Km South of Pune.4,691 feet above sea-level, with ruined fortifications and ancient caves tracing back to the Microlithic age, Harishchandragad fort is a perfect trekking destination in the Sahyadris.
Haishchandragad Fort offers an amazing trek amidst Sahyadri Mountains. Various trek routes to reach atop fort displays the splendid beauty of nature. In the Harischandragad trek by Pachnai route, discover the captivating beauty of an ancient fort & the clear night skies. Be a shutterbug and join the moonlight trek. Harishchandragad is no stranger to the trek lovers of Mumbai. In the last decade, new routes have been discovered. Get set for an adrenaline rush as you trek to the beautiful hill fort of Harishchandragad. Located in the Ahmednagar area, this fort is a popular trekking destination.
Harishchandragad Trek - The crown of Maharashtra
Situated in Ahmednagar In the lap of Malshej Ghat, this Western Ghats trek offers you some whimsical views that are mesmerizing and, at the same time challenging to conquer. Rising to the height of 4670 feet, this abode to the ancient fort of Harishchandragad dates back to the 6th century under the Kalchuri Dynasty. Believed that the caves that you trek upon were carved in the 11th century.
This magical Trek has multiple ways of reaching the top, and its believed each Harishchandragad trek route offers a glimpse of the diverse culture of the glorious past. The Harishchandra Temple, the Kedareshwar cave, and the Saptatheertha Pushkarni are great examples of the beautiful architecture and diversity the era held. Harishchandragad Kokankada is a natural wonder of Maharashtra.
Let's delve deeper into this challenging yet beautiful Trek and conquer it with all heart.
What the Trek has to offer :
The Konkan Kada: The Konkan Kada – a cliff that overlooks the Konkan region.Mesmerizing you with its concave structure, you get to experience many natural phenomena such as broken spectres, vertical cloud bursts, etc. The clouds near the cliff appear as if they have been sucked in by the pitfalls and thrown out vertically, creating an illusion of having a vertical cloud burst. The dewdrop creates a spectacular view when the sunrise gives birth to a circular rainbow, and you feel as you have levitated to the magical land full of natural beauty. Trust us, and it's a soulful experience for the eyes to capture.
The Sun God doesn't deprive you of another beautiful experience of Sunset that leaves the valley in its awe by merging with the horizon to rise again another day.
The Harishchandragad Maharashtra and the historical past:
The trek trail is abode to many beautiful temples. The Pushkarni and the Kedareshwar caves date back to the 6th century, whereas the Harishchandraeshwar temple is a spectacular example of the artisans' artistic skills in those times. The fine art carvings of stones will give you goosebumps with their intricacies and clarity.
The Kedareshwar cave protects The Shiv Linga under its roof that is surrounded by water throughout the year.
The Saptateertha Pushkarni is a lake east of Harishchandraeshwar temple that was once home to Lord Vishnus Idols. They were constructed in the temple at the bank of the lake but were later removed and established in the caves. The governing body in the area protects and maintains these historical caves.
The Naneghat from the Taramati Peak:
The fourth highest peak of Maharashtra, Taramati / Taramanchi, is located at the Harishchandragad plateau, from where you get a panoramic view of the Naneghat region and Murband.
The Various trails of Harishchandgad Trek:
Route 1: Khireshwar
Route 2: Pachnai
Route 3: Walhivale/Belpada Village
The versatile Harishchandragad Trek offers you ample routes to reach the pinnacle. If you are a beginner, take the quickest and easiest trail starting from Pachnai. If you are a seasoned trekker, then the picturesque Khireshwar route is for you.
The challenge of all is Walhivale/Belpada Village route. The Belpada itself has three separate routes through Makad Naal, Nalichi Vaat, and Sadhle Ghat. There are also combinations available through Bhailghat and Sadhle Ghat. It is advised to choose these routes only if you are a seasoned trekker trained in handling equipment like a carabiner and a rope.
Let's explore the routes a bit more :
Harishchandragad via Khireshwar village - Popular for Harishchandragad from Pune
The Rajmarg Trail: Considered as a difficult route, it's recommended that you do not try it if you don't have numbers added to your trekking experience. Some trekkers also describe it as dangerous as the route has slippery and rocky patches.
The Tolar Khind: The Tolar Khind starts from Khireshwar and has three sections. On this route, you experience nature blooming to its fullest with some challenging patches. It starts from Khireshwar and moves towards the forest section consuming around 30 minutes. Then it moves to Tolar Khind for about one hour thirty minutes. And then to the pinnacle, you invest another 3 hours until you experience the thrill of being on one of the highest points of Maharashtra.
Part 1: Khireshwar to Forest Junction:
The Distance: 1.5 km
Time Duration: 30 minutes
You have to take a bus to reach Khireshwar Village. Once you get down, the starting point of the Trek is about 5 km from there. To reach the starting point, you have to cross the Khubi Phata alongside the Pimpalgaon Dam. The point where the Pimpalgaon ends the trek starts. It's a small trail where you cross the paddy fields of the Khireshwar Village to reach the Forest Section. The beautiful trail adds to your excitement when you witness the humongous mountains all along the way. Invest 35 minutes, and you reach the forest area.
Part 2: Forest Junction to the Tolar Khind
Total Distance: 1.8 km
Time Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes
The jungle itself is a beautiful experience. The surroundings would be enough for you to droll over and stay in the moment. With the rustling of the dry leaves, the gushing water of the streams, and the chirping birds, you experience nature at its best. You have to be more careful as you move ahead on the Trek as it becomes steeper and the loose rocks on the way make it even more challenging.
Pro-Tip: Wear trekking shoes that have a strong grip, and don't forget to carry trekking poles, the gears that are a must for treks like Harishchandragad.
Invest one hour and thirty minutes more, and you reach a tea stall which is the starting point of TolarKhind.It will take 1 hour 30 minutes to reach this point. Rest here for some time, appetize yourself with some delicious snacks before you restart this amazing Trek again from this point. Another request from us is that while nature provides you with some memorable views and fresh air to breathe, gift it back by no littering.
Part 3: The Pinnacle of Harishchandragad trek from the Tolar Khind.
Total Distance: 5 km
Time Duration: 3 hours
Here, the Trek becomes the most challenging one as you have to cross a big rocky patch almost tilted at 70 degrees. Though it has poles and chains to support you on this journey, we recommend you cross this patch as early in the morning as possible as in the afternoon, these metallic poles and chains get hot to hold on to. After another hour, you reach a plateau from where you get a spectacular view of the Pimpalgaon Dam and Khireshwar village down there.
At this junction, you have two routes, one that goes to the Harishchandragad temple, crosses the seven hills, and leads to the dense forest.
As mentioned in the introduction, here's when you can explore the Saptateertha Pushkarni, Harishchandreshwar Temple, and the Kedareshwar Cave before you head to Konkan Kada. If you are trekking in the group, we suggest you take the trail through the dense forest, and in an hour, you will be below Balekilla. If you are a solo trekker, then preferably take the flat route to the temple by investing 2-3 hours and reaching the destination. As you reach the top of the fort, you come across a series of local stalls and pitched tents.
Have lunch here and take a breather. The next destination is the magnificent Konkan Kada. Preferably reach here before Sunset to have ample time to sit, breathe and meditate in these amazing surroundings and watch the sun go down the horizon to rise on the other side. The right end of the cliff provides the best sunset view, whereas the left end of the cliff will leave you awestruck with the gorgeous view of waterfalls. As you immerse yourself in these spectacular views, it marks the perfect ending to the day.
It is advised that you pitch your tent on the fort and Trek till the Taramati peak the next morning, as the misty view of the whole Konkan Valley from here will leave its mark on you for a lifetime.
The next day also marks the start of the descent. While returning, the level of challenge increase a bit more; make sure you are well hydrated and equipped to navigate your path down.
The Path through Pachnai: A comparatively easier route to Harishchandragad Fort.
Total Distance: 3 km
Time Duration: 2 hours.
The route through the Pachnai Village is an easy one compared to others. The trail is well marked and hence can be easily covered as a solo trekker as well. It starts from the Pachnai Village and has well-laid metallic ladders with railings to support you through the rough patches. An hour into the Trek, you reach a huge rock wall that can be navigated by walking beside it with total ease.
Once you cross this patch in another 15 minutes, you reach a plateau that leads to Harishchandra temple in another 20-25 minutes.
As suggested in the Khireshwar Route, please explore the fort and other historical places mentioned above.
The Harishchandragad via Nalichi Vaat route:
One of the most challenging routes, Harishchandragad Nalichi Vaat, translates into "a passage through a gorge". Laid to the extreme right of the mountain, this 80 degree tilted rocky patch is meant for the fittest and experienced trekkers. The stream patch on which the trail begins has human-sized rocks that lead to the foot of the gorge. We advise that to choose this patch, you have to have a great fitness level and experience navigating through such testing and exhausting patches in the past.
We advise that you divide this Trek into two days :
Day 1: From Belpada Village to the Kokankada Harishchandragad
Total Distance: 6 km
Total Time: 9 hours.
It is advised that you start this Trek as early in the morning as possible, as it's a total 9 hours trek and the evenings are difficult to navigate the path. Once you arrive at the base camp at village Belpada, spend the night there and start the Trek early morning the next day.
Have a conversation with the locals, and they can provide you with necessities to be addressed in the morning and some delicious local breakfast. A lovely stream flows through the base village, and you can grab upon the early morning breakfast by its side.
The main trail starts at the backyard of the base village, where the mountains lay. Let a local navigate your path through a narrow lane that leads to the base of the mountains. A grassy land soothing the eyes of the onlooker eventually leads to a sparsely laid forest cover. In another 10 minutes and you come across the mainstream bed where the actual Trek begins.
From here, take the rocky trail through the stream bed that gets you closer to the mountain base. The patch is rocky; make sure each grip is strongly placed and gives you enough support to walk ahead with no injuries.
Another 30 minutes into it, you reach a stream filled with cascaded rocks; you may choose to rest here for some time. Post this is an uphill rocky patch for another 90 minutes. Look out for a Gorge that falls extreme right of the mountain and then begins your journey uphill. Here you will face some slippery rocky patch extending up to 25ft high. The well-versed climbers can lead the group by marking the trail and setting up the signs on the way. In about 2 hours, you will be able to cover this patch before you reach the final grassy patch that leads to the final pinnacle.
Here the magnificent view of the Konak Kada calls out to you. Another 20 feet climb, and you find yourself on top of the magnificent Harishchandragadfort. A knee-length, high thick vegetation awaits you here that leads you to the edge of the Konkada Kada Cliff.
Pitch a tent here, and the locals can arrange for necessities required by you. If you want to get more adventures, you may choose to spend the night in one of the caves there.
Day 2: Back to Base Village at Khireshwar
Total Distance: 8 km
Total Time: 4 hours.
Start your day early and witness the magnificent sunrise before you head to Taramati Peak. If you missed visiting any of the recommended places while climbing up, make sure to visit them on your way back.
The path downhill starts from Tolar Khind, way back to Khireshwar Village. From here, you can hire a jeep or lookout for a bus on your way back home. Else the trail remains the same, and you can cover that up in 4 hours.
The Trekking season for Harishchandragad:
The Harishchandragad Trek is best to be conquered from August to February. This is when nature blooms to its fullest, and the lush green is to watch out for on this beautiful journey.
During the summers, this Trek becomes challenging; hence it's not recommended to go for it in those months. The Peak Monsoon Season becomes more challenging for Harishchandragad Trek, so it's advisable to avoid it during those months. Harishchandragad trek in monsoon is exceptionally windy; visibility is only a few meters, a thick fog covers the mountain, the road leading to the trailhead is always in bad condition.
The Difficult Patches of Harishchandragad :
Belpada/Walhivale: This route has many difficult patches, and you should be well equipped to navigate the path. It would be best if you trekked with some seasoned trekkers or an organization that organizes such treks and is well-versed in the routes and safety measures required.
Harishchandragad Trek via Pachnai - Comparatively an easy and shortest route to cover the whole Trek.
Khireshwar: This route has some tricky patches:
1.) The muddy forest trail. Slippery and rocky, the rains add on to the misery.
2.) The Rock Patch of Tolar Khind is tilted to 70 degrees; great quality trekking shoes are required for that.
3.) The ascent on this route is quite steep; it requires utmost care to cross this section.
How to Reach:
Multiple trails are leading to Harishchandragad, as mentioned earlier; here is short guidance to reach all the starting points:
The best part of this Trek is you can access all the three base villages through any public transport that is quite economical and safe. However, you may choose to take your private vehicle as well if you feel so. All three of them are well marked on Google Maps; hence it's not too difficult to locate either.
Reaching by private vehicle to Harishchandragad:
1.) Khireshwar: Easily accessible from Pune and Mumbai, Khireshwar can be navigated with just one click on google maps.
2.) Pachnai: Comparatively farther from Mumbai and Pune, this route is the easiest; hence most trekkers choose it for ease and comfort compared to other routes.
3.) Belpada: Known as Walhivale, this is the nearest base from Mumbai and Pune.
Do not worry about the parking facilities. Harishchandragad being a famous trek, the facilities around the starting points are good and well maintained.
Reaching by Public Transport:
Harishchandragad from Mumbai
- Reach Kalyan station through a local train
- Take a bus that goes to Alephata, passing through Malshej Ghat.
- Enquire if the same bus can take you to Khireshwar or Belpada.
- Accordingly, buy tickets to either Khubi Phata for Khiresahwar or Belpada/Walhivale to start from Belpada.
- Mumbai to Khireshwar distance is 138 km, around 4 hours drive.
From Mumbai to Pachnai: If you wish to take Pachnai as a starting point, take a local train to Kasara. From Kasara station, you can hire a jeep/car to Rajur. The price of the ride may vary from INR 100 to 150. Once you get down at Rajur, get on to a bus to Pachnai Village. You may also try your luck at hitchhiking as many vehicles head towards the same village.
Pune to Harishchandragad
From Pune, you get a bus to Alephata. From there, enquire about buses either going to Khubhi Phata or Khireshwar. To start from Belpada, get down at Sawarne Village. It will take around four and half hours to reach both the starting points.
From Pune to Pachnai: Board a bus to either Mumbai or Nasik. Get down at Ghoti Village and then board another bus to Pachnai. It's almost a 5 hours journey to Pune from Pachnai.
How to head back home :
Once you get back to Base Village after completing the Trek, get onto a bus that goes back to Mumbai or Pune. You may also look for buses that can drop you at any station where Local Trains take a halt.
If you feel too tired to head back home on the same day, you may book a room in any local hotel there and spend the night over.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q1: Is there permission required to complete this Trek?
A1: NO, there's no permission required. You can plan it with treks and trails as solo or through a group. The fort is located inside Kalsubai Harishchandragad wildlife sanctuary; sometimes, the local forest office imposes entry fees and timings.
Q2: Can one camp on Harishchandragad Fort?
A1: Yes, absolutely, camping is allowed there; be mindful that it can be crowded as many trekkers are camping there. Harishchandragad night stay should be inside tents as there are many snakes, scorpions on the plateau. Harishchandragad camping contact number is 8828004949. Harishchandragad stay options include Dhabas, Mudhouse, Tents, Caves; these options are available for trekkers.
Q3: Are there enough eating outlets and facilities for drinking water on the way to the Trek?
A3: The Answer is Yes. There are ample options of restaurants and small eating joints at the base. Moreover, throughout the Trek, you will have small outlets selling snacks and Tea/Coffee, and even mineral water. If you are comfortable, you may also fill up your bottles from the stream water that flows along your way. So be assured that food and water won't be an issue at all.
Q4: Can everyone do Harishchandragad Trek?
A4: Yes, that's the best part of this Trek. If you are a beginner, take the route through Pachnai Village. If you are a moderate level trekker and have done a few treks, take the Khireshwar route. If you are a Pro Trekker, take the Belpada Village route. Hence it's open to every kind of trekker and provides equal scenic views whichever route you choose.
Q5: Is there any recommended time to start the Harishchandragad Trek?
A5: It completely depends upon how you plan your Trek. If you are someone who wishes to camp overnight and completes the Trek in 2 days, then reach the base village early in the morning and make sure you reach the top before Sunset to soak into the beauty of the surrounding. Pitch a tent for the night and lay under the stars to experience their beauty. Start the descend the next day post breakfast, halting and exploring the route with ease.
If you wish to complete the Trek in a day, then reach the base village before Sunset a day before and start trekking so that you can reach the top by afternoon next day and can start the descent the same day so that you reach back base village by late evening and home by late night.
Here are a few Emergency Contact Numbers:
Hospitals: The nearest hospital is Prathamika Arogya Kendra Madh.
Police Station: Located 20 km away from the starting point, the Junnar Police Station is considered the nearest one.
ERSS: For any other emergency, the toll-free Pan India Emergency Response Support System – 112
The ATMs and the Mobile Network:
ATMs: From Kalyan, Murbad is the place to find the ATMs, precautionary carry around INR 1500-2000 in Cash. From Pune, the Bank of Maharashtra is the nearest ATM on the way.
Mobile Network is good all along the highway. The only issue you may face is at the base village. Once you reach the top of Harishchandragad and the Taramati Peak, you will receive a good mobile signal.
Recommendation for Places after completing the Harishchandragad Trek:
The Pimpalgaon Joga Dam: Built on the Pushpavato River, it provides water to the Junnar, Alephata, Narayangaon, and Otur.
It's a great place to pitch a tent for an overnight experience.
The Naneghat Reverse Waterfall: The strong winds blow away the water in the opposite direction. It appears as if the waterfall is happening in the reverse direction, denying the gravitational force.
The Amrutheshwara Temple: Built by King Jhanj, this Shiva Temple is 1200 years old. Carved out of red and black stones, it has an auspicious significance among the villagers. Due to its sheer beautiful surroundings, the area around the temple is also known as the Kashmir of Maharashtra.
Other Forts around the Harishchandragad Fort: Jivdhan, Bhairavgad, Sindola, and Hadsar Fort. Each has its historical significance and a story to it. If you have ample time, you may choose to stay back in some hotel and explore these before heading back home.