The Sahyadri Ranges in the state of Maharashtra are very popular for their numerous temples, medieval forts and ancient caves all of which are mostly historically dated back to the reign of the great Maratha Emperor, Raja Shivaji. Apart from the thrills of exploring ancient royal sites, there are a number of trails and treks one can trudge through which offer spectacular views, and especially have a flock of visitors and travellers during the monsoon and winter months. Walking amidst the history, one can only marvel at the incredible skill of the people who partook of the building of these temples and forts at such precarious heights. Such is the Korigad trek which is near Lonavla, approximately 20 Kms. The Korigad Fort was incorporated into Shivaji Maharaj’s kingdom in the year 1657, along with the forts of Tikona, Tung, Visapur and Lohagad. The Korigad Fort is also known by the names - Koraigad, Koarigad or Kumwarigad.
Know More Here:
- Korigad Trek: An Overview
- Korigad Fort- The Tales of History
- Best Time to Visit Korigad Fort- Treat in the Monsoons
- How to Reach Korigad Fort
- Korigad Trek- A Detailed Itinerary
- Destinations to Visit near Korigad Fort
- What To Carry in Your Backpack
- Physical Fitness for Korigad Trek
Korigad Trek: An Overview
Where it is Located: Lonavala, Maharashtra
Number of Trekking Days: 1 day
Max Altitude: 3050 ft (approx.)
Trekking Distance: 5 km
Trekking Grade: Easy
Trail Type: Jungle trail
Best Time: Monsoon
Livingit Rank: Beginner - Enthusiast
Korigad Fort- The Tales of History
While it’s date of construction definitely predates 1500, this fort underwent a series of battles fought between the British army and the Marathas, and finally succumbed to defeat to the British on 14th March 1818 when the stored ammunition was ignited by the means of a loose cannon ball.
The Koraidevi Temple which stands atop the fort also seems to have suffered the wrath of the conquest. Local tales have it that prior to the British conquest the deity used to be adorned with beautiful ornaments, which were later moved to the Mumbadevi Temple in Mumbai.
Best Time to Visit Korigad Fort- Treat in the Monsoons
While this trek can be easily undertaken year round, the monsoons only add to the beauty of this trek. Surrounded by highly visited spots in the monsoons such as the Bushy dam, Tiger Leap etc, Korigad Fort too sees a rise in the number of trekkers during the monsoon months. While the route from Ambavane Village is always a tricky one, the addition of rains only adds to its risk factor. Also, as with any other trek, precautions need to be taken while trekking during the rains.
Korigad however, is enveloped in a green cape during the rains, bearing a very clean, washed, and fresh appearance. The entire fort sports a coverage of green foliage and the view from atop is just….more green!
Summer: 30 ° C to 35 ° C (day); 23 ° C to 25 ° C (night)
Monsoon: 26 ° C to 28 ° C (day); 22 ° C to 23 ° C (night)
Winter: 28 ° C to 30 ° C(day); 10 ° C to 13 ° C (night)
How to Reach Korigad Fort
The Korigad Trek makes for a great getaway from Mumbai or Pune, because of its close distance and low intensity of the trip.
There are plenty of trains on a daily basis, both from Mumbai and from Pune to Lonavla. Trains from Mumbai will take you approximately 2 hours to 2 and a half hours, while trains from Pune will get you there in an hour to an hour and a half. There isn’t a direct way to reach any of the base camps via train.
How to reach Korigad from Lonavala station - From the Lonavala station, you can make use of public transport to head towards the base camps, hire a private vehicle, or in case you are booking a tour facility, it would be encompassed in your travel arrangements.
Alternatively, there is road travel. The Korigad trek route from Mumbai and the route from Pune could be easily traversed by the numerous buses that travel almost every 20 – 30 mins. If you are driving from Pune, then take the Old Pune Mumbai Highway and head towards Lonavala. On reaching Lonavala, take the left from Purohit Chikki, head towards the Aamby Valley road and drive till the Peth Shahpur village. Pune to Korigad distance is 90 Kms whereas, from Lonavala, Korigad is only 20 km.
Also, Mumbai to Korigad distance is 110 Kms. Road travel would take you similar time to reach Lonavla, give or take a few minutes more for traffic.
Lonavala to Korigad transport: You will have to consider similar options to travel from the Lonavala bus depot to the base camps. There are public buses available from Lonavala station and also a few private vehicle hiring options. There are also local jeeps available to assist you to your camp bases.
Korigad Trek- A Detailed Itinerary
The Korigad Trek gets categorized under the grade of Easy and will take you about an hour to an hour and a half to scale it. You need to be reaching either one of the two base camps, namely – Peth Shahpur and Ambavane Village.
Korigad Fort via Peth Shahpur
Peth Shahpur being in close proximity to Aamby Valley enjoys the growth of progress in terms of places of food and accommodation. The Peth Shahpur route is the easier one of the two. Starting out from the Bhairavnath Temple it includes a climb of nearly 510 steps which will take 45-50 mins to reach the top, entering from via the Ganesh gate.
Soumen Daschoudhury of the Drifting Wanderer shares his magical experience- “The Korigad trek is a very simple one, the easiest trek I have experienced till now. The initial 15-20 minutes is through a forest and you get to see the peak of the fort on your right while you walk. Criss-crossing bamboo trees, falling on each other as if in love, little streams formed by the rainwater, the sloshing mud and the runway clouds high up above capture your attention. In the middle of the forest, suddenly, out of nowhere appear steps which lead to the fort. Halfway across the steps, you come to an open space with a cave on the right side, a Hanumanji temple and beautiful landscape to your left.”
Korigad Fort via Ambavane Village
The Ambavane Village route is slippery owing to the climbing of short steps carved out of the large rocks, which leads you to the fort via the Ambavane Gate.
Reaching the Pinnacle
The Korigad Fort sits at 929 metres or 3000 feet, above sea level. The fortified structure and the sights of the underlying dense forests of the surroundings are why the fort is widely acclaimed.
The massive gate stands intact, as do the walls of the fort and you can easily walk the entire perimeter which is a distance of about 2 km. The fort structure includes a temple to the goddess Koraidevi. The top of the fort also boasts of two lovely lakes, however, neither is the water potable nor are the waters meant for swimming or any of the like activities.
Adding a vibrant touch to his trek to Korigad Fort, Prashant Kothwade, blogger of pkothavade blog shares- "Verdant landscapes, blossoming wildflowers of myriad colours, amazing turquoise sky with white clouds, panoramic views from the top and ample time and opportunities for photography made this trek quite a special one.”
Adding to its historical significance, ruins of some of the older structures are smattered and there are also 6 cannons to check out at the fort. Along the foothills, lies the modern day beautifully planned township of Aamby Valley.
Camping At Korigad Fort
The top of the Korigad fort is basically flat, making it an ideal ground to camp out. There aren’t any specific permissions to do this, so you’ll still be on the right side of the law.
What you might want to keep an eye out for are the monkeys that are frequent visitors during the day, so avoid entertaining and feeding them at all costs or you might end up with a menace at hand. These will retreat during the night though.
Also, be wary of the winds atop the structure. Spending the night with cold winds blowing you from all directions isn’t a pleasant camping experience. Try and take shelter from some broken down or ruined structures against the winds.
An alternative is also taking shelter in the temple which can accommodate up to 10 people. If you are camping overnight, then it’s advisable to carry your own food. As there aren’t any places to get food at Korigad. There are a few shops near the bus stop which house minor items essentials like water, chips, biscuits, cold drinks and the like. Most trekkers carry their own picnic meals and we’d advise you do the same as well, and not live in the hopes of ‘grabbing something on the way’.
Destinations to Visit near Korigad Fort
Many people who visit Korigad also look up places to visit nearby, especially if you aren’t planning the trip solely around the trek. So, there are quite a few choices to pick from:
1. Pavana Lake
This is a man-made lake (dam) near Lonavala and is a perfect place to stop by for refreshments. Enjoy camping, star gazing and mouthwatering barbeque at the Pavana Lake. Also, there are various recreational activities for adventure buffs, such as paragliding.
2. Lohagad Fort
Standing tall near the Pavana Lake is the Maratha’s pride- the Lohagad fort. It is another ideal trekking spot for the trekkers. It is an easy-moderate trek which can be completed in a day. The USP of the trek is the panoramic view of the serene landscape and the rich historical touch that the fort carries with it.
3. Bhaja Caves
This is a must visit destination as it is one of the oldest caves in India. Belonging to the Hinayana Buddhism, these caves were carved in the 2 century BC and reflect the well-crafted wooden architecture. The caves are a 25 minutes drive from Lonavala. Along with Bhaja caves, you can make a visit to the famous Karla Caves.
4. Bhushi Dam
Situated in Lonavala, the Bhushi Dam is a must visit during the monsoon. During the monsoon, the water flows through the rocky terrain, making it a perfect picnic spot for all. Make sure you reach early and reserve a spot, as, during the monsoon season, this place is overcrowded!
What To Carry in Your Backpack
Since the trek is just a day trip, you will not be required to carry much. However, we have listed below a few things you should consider packing:
- Decent Pair of Trekking Shoes for a hassle-free trek
- Haversack – big enough to hold your belongings
- Windcheater – to shield you from the winds and the rain
- Extra pair of clothes, including socks in a waterproof covering – should the ones you are wearing get wet
- Extra polythene carriers – to carry back garbage or any wet clothing
- Water bottle – minimum 2 litres capacity
- Personal Medical Kit – with the basic essential medicines and first aid requirements
- Identity Card
- Binoculars, Camera, Cell phone – Optional
- Snacks like biscuits, energy bars
- Energizing drinks like Electoral
- Necessary Toiletries – tissues, toilet paper etc
Physical Fitness for Korigad Trek
Since the Korigad trek difficulty level, is Easy and it's just a one day trip (easily coverable in a matter of a few hours), the trek hasn’t received many negative reviews. It is compatible for weekend getaways, beginners at treks, children, or people looking for a quick break from the city life. Also, the level of intensity being low means there isn’t a whole lot of effort going into preparing your fitness levels for the trek. It is pretty much as simple as picking up your bag and heading towards the hill.
Also, being close to a touristy place such as Lonavla, many people club the trek as part of their other visits in the area. People heading towards Lonavla will have it easy for them to just incorporate it into their regular itinerary since it isn’t that tough of an accomplishment.
If you are looking to encompass an easy trek with some historical features then Korigad Trek is the choice for you. If you are looking to take your children on a trek then Korigad Trek is definitely for you! And if you are looking to start off your trekking season with a laidback trek then Korigad Trek is undeniably the way to go for you!!!! There couldn’t be any reason that can hold you back from not venturing out and experiencing the Korigad Trek for yourself.
Effortless, natural, calm, tranquil, relaxed, elementary, straightforward, pleasant are all words that could be synonymous with the Korigad Trek.
So without any further ado….head on over to that Fort….and enjoy yourself a peaceful trek!!