Harishchandragad is a hill fort situated on the border of three districts of Pune, Ahmednagar and Thane in Maharashtra. This fort is located in Harishchandragad-Kalsubai Wildlife Sanctuary. This is the most challenging trek in the Western Ghats. Harishchandragad fort can be visited all year round and is known for its size and spectacular ‘Kokankada’ – the cliff overlooking the Konkan belt has been a popular choice for adventure lovers and trekkers for many years.
Harishchandragad is a very ancient fort, dating back to the 6th century. There are caves all over the fort, which is believed to have been carved in the 11th century. The various temples and carvings in the caves indicate that the fort dates back to medieval times as it is associated with Shaivism, Shakti or Nath. Later this fort came under the control of the Mughals. And till 1747 the Marathas took possession of it.
The fort is quite ancient. Remnants of Microlithic man have been discovered here. The various Puranas (ancient scriptures) like Matsyapurana, Agnipurana and Skandapurana include many references for Harishchandragad. Its origin is said to have been in the 6th century, during the rule of the Kalchuri dynasty. The citadel was built during this era. The various caves probably have been carved out in the 11th century. In these caves, idols of Lord Vishnu were carved. Though the cliffs are named Taramati and Rohidas, they are not related to Ayodhya.
Great sage Changdev (one who created the epic “Tatvasaar”), used to meditate here in the 14th century. The caves are from the same period. The various constructions on the fort and those existing in the surrounding region point to the existence of diverse cultures here. 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 Moguls. The Marathas captured it in 1747.
Harishchandragad is 3 km away from Pachnai. Pachnai is surrounded by mountains and in monsoon, you can get a visual of five falls from the base. This is the easiest route to reach Harishchandragad. Might be the simplest route but it’s very scenic. Since it does not take out your breath, you are more appreciative of your surroundings. While we descend in full light and clear sky, time appears to be at a standstill. Those who are photographers can get extremely beautiful landscapes on this route.
The Khireshwar village route is the one that most people prefer as it offers a lot of scenic beauty while trekking.
Walking a few minutes from Tolar Khind, there is a rock patch on which railings are fixed. After ascending the railings, we come to the plateau region in which less dense forests are seen. From here, we have to cross approx. 7 hills & after a walk of 2–3 hours, we reach the temple of Harishchandreshwar, the temple of Lord Shiva.
Most local treks are not adventurous enough for experienced trekkers. But this route to Harishchandragad is physically daunting and visually rewarding!
This translates to ‘passage through a gorge’ also water curved valley between two mountains is a channel that lies to the extreme right of the Kokankada. It is one of the most difficult paths to the top. Popular among climbers and experienced trekkers, Nalichi Vaat involves a near 80 degrees, involving steep rock patches. The trail begins on a stream bed filled with large man-sized rocks and eventually leads to the foot of the gorge. We will ascend this route while enjoying natural beauty and beast.
The view of Harishchandragad Kokankada from base village Walhivare is one of the best views in Sahyadri. From here one can easily spot Naphtha, Ghodishep, Rohidas peak, Naneghat Panorama.
Considered one of the most difficult climbs, Nalichi Vaat will test your morale, stamina and endurance to the core. With rocky patches and technical climbing, you’ll reach the top.
Our team of trek buddies and technically sound experts will make your climb a memorable and safe one.
Needs precise management of time and water.
Another way is specially meant for hikers, which is via Sadhale Ghat. From Walhivare village, the route goes through Sadhale Ghat. Here one has to climb a straight rock patch on which grips are provided.
The oldest route to reach Harishchandragad is the ‘Rajmarg’. It is also known as ‘Junnar Darwaja’ as it connects to Khireshwar village in Junnar Taluka of Pune district. This way we can reach the fort in about 4 hours. Many trekkers climb the Harishchandragad via Tolar Khind or Pachnai route. They have completely overlooked this path.
The path of Rajmarg, through the bushes at the beginning, was difficult to climb due to the narrow route in the middle and last stage. Right now, there are huge boulders; we have to climb out of them.
In the last stage, some artificial caves and sculptures are carved on the stone walls. Also, Malshej Ghat and forts in the Junnar area are attracting our attention from this way of Harishchandragad. The ascent and descent of the ‘Rajmarg’ are challenging and adventurous. Experienced trekkers should try at least once.