Torna Fort Trek - Highest Hill Fort of Pune
Rising to an altitude of 4603 feet, this highest hill fort of the Pune district has marked its niche in the western ghats for the beauty it entails with its structure and aesthetics.
Its massive structure gave it the name of Prachandagad, where Prachanda in Marathi means huge, and gad means the Fort. The Fort was conquered by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj at the tender age of 16 in the year 1646, post that it was ruled by many Maratha rulers and eventually became the hub of the Maratha Empire from where many battles were fought and won.
The Torna trek unfolds beautifully once you come across the beautiful temples, flower beds, water cisterns, and Balekilla. The Fort also is home to two machis, the Zunjar Machi and Budhla Machi. It also has a ridge that connects to the Rajgad Fort.
Treks and trails being a hub to all treks around the country, make sure that we enrich you with all the information you require before embarking on your trekking journey.
What scenic views Torna has to offer you?
The uniquely laid colorful flower beds. The monsoon is a great bet for climbing the Torna Fort. The entire trail consists of Bristly Smithia, Karvi, Sonki, and Raan Terda Flowers. The more you climb up, the flowers' beds get thicker and broader to entice you with their beauty.
The enormous Budhla Machi. The uniqueness of Budhla Machi christened it with this name. In the Marathi Language, " Budhla" means a vessel, and this Machi gives an appearance of an oil container that has been placed upside down. Being so huge, as mentioned above, it's also known as Prachandmachi.
The mesmerizing view from the Fort:
The Fort offers you a spectacular view of all the forts around Sinhagad, Linagana, Pratapgad, Rajgad, Purandar fort, Rohida Fort, Kavlya Fort Raireshwar, Mohangad, Madu – Makrandgad, Mangalgad.
Torna Fort Details
- Region: Pune
- Base village: Velhe
- Difficulty level: Medium
- Height: Approx. 4600ft
- Cost: Rs. 1700/- per person
Torna Fort Trek Itinerary
22:45 Meeting at Pritam Dhaba Dadar East.
23:00 Departure from Pritam Dhaba.
23:30 Pick up at Chembur Diamond garden.
00:15 Pickup at Vashi below main bridge.
Pickup at kalamboli near Mc Donald`s.
05:30 Reach at base village and freshen up.
06:30 Start ascending.
09:30 Reach at top and explore the fort.
12:00 Start descending.
15:00 Reach at base village.
16:30 Start return journey towards Mumbai.
10:00 Approx. arrival at Mumbai.
The Torna Fort Trail:
The trail can be divided into three sections:
Each Section has its uniqueness and will throw surprises your way now and then. Let's delve deeper into each Section.
Here goes the division:
1.) The Velhe village to the Plateau: Time Duration: 20 minutes.
2.) The Plateau to the Torna Fort: Time Duration: 2 hours and 15 minutes.
3.) The Torna Fort Historical Places: Time Duration: 3 hours to 4 hours.
Section 1:The Velhe Village to the Plateau
The Trek Distance: 1 km
The Trek Duration: 20 minutes
The Trek to the Torna Fort begins from the Velhe Police station. The villagers believe that the Torna Fort is their guard that takes care of their security. The moment you start your Trek, you can see the magnificent Fort rising above the route and luring you to reach its pinnacle.
The beginning trail comprises a tar road until you come across a bridge. Post then starts the actual hike. A very straightforward hike doesn't mislead you anywhere. The whole beautiful trail up to the Plateau is marked well with signs, and you can easily follow the direction without any guide. The whole trail is a mix of loose rocks and mud and thus can be slippery during the monsoon season. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes with great grip to have an injury-free trekking experience. You may also choose to carry trekking poles with you; such gears are helpful for trekking on such terrains.
This trail is full of Bristly Smithia flowers in the local language known as Mickey Mouse flowers. In about 15 minutes, you reach a plateau that connects you to the ridge.
The Section 2: The Plateau to the Torna Fort
The Trek Distance: 2.4 km
The Trek Duration: 2 hours 15 minutes
Here comes the surprise. The trail leaves you surprised as the passage to the ridge passes by as a breeze and leaves you to astound. The thick bushes and a stream along the way make the trail even more exciting. Make sure you cross the stream and not trek along the stream.
The moment you cross the stream, you land up at a dense forest of Karvi plants; they are thick and dense and cover almost the whole route for an hour until you reach the ridge. From here, you can witness the north face of the Torna Fort; however, the main Darwaja remains hidden.
The trail is of medium difficulty level and lets you witness the final steep Section challenging to climb. If you turn around and look back all the way you have come up, you will feel confident and pumped up to complete the whole Trek. The Gunjavane Dam from here looks enticing and gives you a message that half your journey is done, and you will be at the pinnacle in a few minutes.
Take a pause and soak into the beauty around you before you proceed to the ridge. A comparatively easier trail awaits you, and in about 30 minutes, you will be at your destination.
Post this comes the challenging part of climbing the final stretch that is inclined up to 60-70 degrees. Here it's advisable to negotiate the patch with utmost care as it's all rocky and risky all the way long to the crown of the Fort.
Though the view from here is just mesmerizing enough to stop you for a while, continue for about 30 minutes more, and you reach the rock-cut steps that have the support of the railing, and you reach the Binni Darwaja as you climb up the stairs. Be smart enough not to depend upon the railings as they have worn out completely; it's better to be careful than regret later.
The trail post these rock-cut steps has a deviation; you will fall short of words to describe the enchanting view from here, a beautiful memory to capture for a lifetime. About 10 minutes away from the steps, you see the hidden Binni Darwaja. The door was the route to the hidden spots where the royals took all planning and plotting of wars.
The moment you enter the Binni Darwaja, you walk into another trail filled with various flowers, and you eventually reach the Kothi Darwaza through the cemented steps on the way.
Breathe, pause and applaud yourself as you are now on the top of the Torna Fort. Spend a good 3-4 hours here to explore every nook and corner of the Fort and soak into the historical glory of the Marathas.
The Section 3: The Historical Places
The Fort is full of things that will capture your attention and leave you with some memorable experiences. The same trail leads you to a water tank (Known as Khokad Taake in Marathi) and a vast place where you can take shelter if you wish to.
In this Section, the trail towards your left leads you to the entrance of Hanuman Buruj, Zunjar Machi, and Dhaalkathi (also known as Dwajasthambam). The trail is well laid out to connect all three places.
It begins from Hanuman Buruj, and as you descend from there, you reach Zunjar Machi; you spend approximately 30 minutes on this trail. The way ahead is to Daalkathi, and once you reach there, you take another left to reach the Mengai Temple, Mahadev temple, and Konkan Darwaja that leads you to BudhlaMachi.
This place takes around one and half hours to explore. The temples are the safest area to stay overnight or even pitch tents. Plan your Trek accordingly if you wish to stay over.
Some Ruins that are still worth a visit:
- From Budhla Machi, as you move towards the Konkan Darwaja, you can see the Hatti Maal Buruj. It's a steep ascent; hence navigate it carefully. Though to support you, there are railings and some rock-cut steps. Pro tip: Carry a rope of about 30-40 feet; this shall help you all along the comparatively challenging sections. As you continue on the same trail and reach the pinnacle through Hattimal Buruj, it splits into two.
- From here, if you take a left, you will reach Radtondi Buruj and eventually, it leads you to Torna-Rajgad ridge through a Chor Darwaja.
This is one of the steepest sections of this Trek, and a metal ladder is there to help you through the path. You should proceed further only if you are heading to Rajgad Fort. The trail is beautiful, so you should do them together if you can.
- The trail to your right takes you to the Budhla Machi, and the Cheetah Darwaja marks an end to it. However, the view from here will win your heart.
- Spend some quality time here to enjoy the gifts of mother nature. This is the point from where you can see the pinnacle of Raigad, Rajgad, and Lingana Forts.
Once you are done with all your adventure, there comes a time to head back home. So the descent from here follows the same path while climbing up. From the Budhla Machi, you can climb down to Mengai Devi Temple. Take a pause here and then continue your journey through Kothi Darwaja and back to the Village Velhe.
What is included in the tour
- Dadar to Dadar travel by private non-AC vehicle
- 1 breakfast and 1 veg lunch
- Treks and Trails expertise charges
What is NOT included in the tour
- All kinds of Extra Meals / soft drinks ordered
- Insurance, tips, Porters, bottled mineral water, aerated drinks etc.
- Any kind of personal expenses (Camera charges, etc.)
- Any kind of cost which is not mentioned in the cost includes above
- All expenses incurred due to unforeseen and unavoidable circumstances like road blocks, bad weather
- Any medical / Emergency evacuations if required
- 2/3 Liters of water
- Trekking Shoes provide more grip and comfort on the trek
- One Day Backpack 20 to 30 liters
- Good Torch must with an extra battery
- Sun Cap and Sunscreen
- Some Dry fruits / Dry Snacks / Energy Bars
- Glucon D / ORS / Tang / Gatorade sachets
- Rains are expected, so pack your bags accordingly to save them from getting wet
- Double pack your valuables / phones in plastic bags
- Rainwear / Poncho / Waterproof jacket etc. if you don’t want to get wet
- 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
- 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.
When should you go for Torna Trek?
The best season for the Torna Trek is the stretch of the months, September to February. Once the monsoon retreats, you can experience the Sahyadris at their best with clear views and pleasant weather.
The stretch from September till October lets you witness the well-laid beautiful flower beds along to the pinnacle of the Fort. The lush green around is the view to fall for.
The stretch from November to February is when you get a clear view of the Fort. This is the best time to spot some of the famous forts in the same region.
During the monsoon months, the trail is a bit slippery, and it may be risky to explore the Fort during those months. Even the fog all around poses difficulty in having a clear view of the path.
The months of summer are difficult ones due to high temperature and humidity. In those months you can go on a night trek with the help of a local guide.
How do you reach the Torna Fort Base Village:
The base village of Velhe is easily accessible through both private and public transport. This village is around 65 km away from the city of Pune.
Let's get some more information on how to reach there through various modes:
· The roads leading to the Village Velhe are wide enough for a car to be driven all way long. From Pune, take the NH48 route through Nasrapur. Once you cross the first toll, you reach the Nasrapur junction; a right turn gets you on state highway 65 and directs to base village Velhe.
· The other route is through the villages of Khadakwasla to Sinhagad to Ranjane to Pabe Ghat to Velhe. This is a paradise for the photographers as it entails beautiful small villages, waterfalls, streams, and much more to be captured.
The base villages have ample space to park the vehicles, and the villagers cooperate in helping you navigate the path from the parking spots.
Reaching the base village through Public Transport:
If Mumbai is your starting point, then first reach Pune. There are ample buses and trains from Mumbai to Pune to support you in your journey. There is the famous Swargate Bus Station in Pune from where you can catch a bus to Velhe Village.
Otherwise, you can also catch a bus from Pune that goes to Kolhapur or Satara or Bangalore, get down at Nasrapur and take a taxi to Village Velhe.
How to return: Follow the same route and if you have traveled through public transport, then make sure you return on or before 4 pm as the frequency of buses becomes lesser as the day passes by. If you miss the bus, you would still have an option of shared taxi/autos, which can drop you at Nasrapur.
In a group of 4-5 people, we advise you to take a shared cab to and fro to avoid commutation hassles.
The nearest station: Pune Junction (About 65 km away)
The Nearest International and Domestic Airport: Pune International Airport: ( About 73 km away)
The difficult sections on the Torna Trek: The Torna Fort has some sections that are difficult to navigate. We keep you posted with all the relevant information to support you in your journey.
The final Section is the most difficult one as it's slippery during the monsoon season, and the rocks can be difficult to navigate when it's raining and fog engulfing the whole route. Your shoes should be the right ones; you should carry all trekking gear and maintain a distance of 10 meters between each other in a group. This way, you support yourself and others both mentally and physically.
While descending to Zunjar Machi, extreme caution has to be taken from Hanuman Buruj; the patch is tricky and difficult.
If you are coming from the Rajgad side, taking the Radtondi Buruj route, then a descent through the metal ladders is the one to watch out for. With time, the ladders have rusted and withered to the extent that they may pose issues while climbing up and down the Section.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q1: Is there any permission required to complete the Torna Fort Trek?
A1: You don't require any permission to go for this Trek. You can choose to go solo or in a group.
Q2: Does Torna Fort has camping spots?
A2. Yes, camping can be done on Torna Fort, and the camping spot is near the Mengai Temple. Even the temple is quite wide to accommodate up to 50 people, so in case you don't have a tent, you can spend your night in the temple too.
Q3.) How about the availability of food and drinking water on the Trek?
A3.) The base village of Velhe has many hotels and restaurants that can serve you local cuisines. Even the locals can prepare food for you if you request them to. But what we recommend is you carry your food and water to avoid any hassle and dependence on others. Even though you may find some clear streams on the way to fill in your water bottles during the monsoon season, we still recommend that you have of your own.
Q4.) Who is allowed to trek on Torna Fort?
A4.) The steep sections of the Fort would require a great amount of stamina and high endurance; hence it's recommended that you do this Trek only if your fitness level is high or you are a seasoned trekker.
Q5.) What is the time duration recommended for Torna Fort Trek?
A5.) Torna fort trek can be completed in either one day or two days. The Fort requires at least 3 hours for exploration.
If you plan it as one day trek, then start late at night from your city either Mumbai or Pune and reach the base village. Start the Trek before Sunrise ideally by 4 or 5 AM, and you would reach the top of the Fort by 10 AM. Explore it for 2-3 hours and then start descending after lunch.
If the plan is to complete it in 2 days, leave Mumbai on a Saturday Morning. Reach the Base Village of Velhe by 4 PM. Start the Trek by 5 PM, and in about 2-3 hours, depending upon your speed, you would be at the top of the Fort. Pitch your tents and camp near the Hanuman Buruj overnight. Rise and shine under the Sun early morning and then explore the Fort. Have some healthy breakfast and start descending to at least reach before 4 PM, especially if you have traveled through public transport. The frequency of buses is very less in the evening.
The emergency numbers for Torna Fort Trek:
The Hospital: The Primary Health Center is the nearest Hospital to the Village Velhe.
The Police Station: The Village Velhe has a police station that looks after the well-being of the Villagers.
The group of rescuers: A Pan Maharashtra rescue group by Giripremi has its batches for mountain rescue. They are known as Maharashtra Mountaineers Rescue Coordination (MMRCC). For Sahyadris their contact number is 7620230231.
Emergency Response Support System: Call at 112
ATMs nearby and Network: The reliable ATMs you can find in Pune only though Nasrapur also has one. It would be best to carry INR 1500-2000 for the Trek.
The Network is an issue there while on the Trek, though, you do get a good network at the base village. You should make all your important calls before beginning the Trek.
Places to see after the Torna Fort Trek:
The Fort offers many visiting sites. It demands a minimum of 3 hours to explore and a maximum of a day to explore it fully. Listed below are a few places around the Fort to pay a visit to.
The Rajgad Fort: This Fort is connected to Torna fort through a ridge; hence you can continue Trek to Rajgad fort from Torna Fort. The route through Budhla Machi offers you some great visuals of the Sahyadris all along the trail.
The Sinhagad Fort: This is another nearest fort to Torna. You can start the Trek from Torna and end it at Sinhagad. It's advisable to do the whole trial in 2 days to avoid exhaustion.
The Raigad Fort: Being the capital of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's Maratha Reign, the Fort entails rich history.
Madhe Ghat: Known for Lakshi Waterfall, it's situated at about 18kms from Velhe Village and can be covered after the Trek.