Hiking - Destination

Lohagad Trek: Let's Trek to the Mystical Iron Fort

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Why does trekking in the monsoon seems so enticing? Why do we all get into a romantic mode as the rain pitter-patters? Maybe it’s the smell of the first rain kissing the parched earth or the luscious greenery, turning darker and purer. If you are also a trekking enthusiast in search of a weekend trek for quick refreshment and zeal then, the Lohagad trek is one of your best bets.

Know More Here:

An integral part of the Western Ghats, Lohagad Fort rises to an elevation of 1,033 m (3,389 ft) above sea level and is situated to the southwest of the larger Visapur fort. The place overlooks the Pavana reservoir and is quite a popular local attraction in and around Lovanala. In fact, Trek enthusiasts come from as far as Mumbai and Pune to scale this great fort, nestling on a wide range of the Sahyadri.

Lohagad Trek: An Overview

  • Where it is Located: Maharashtra
  • Number of Trekking Days: 1 Day
  • Max Altitude: 1,033 m (3,389 ft)
  • Trekking Distance: 5 to 9 km (Depending on where you start!)
  • Trekking Grade: Easy-Moderate
  • Livingit Rank: Beginner - Enthusiast

Lohagad Trek: An Exciting Getaway

Lohagad fort overview
An Amazing Side Profile of the Lohagad Fort (source)

With abundant trek spots on hand, why would you choose the Lohagad Fort to trek?

Good question! And the answer is why not!

A peaceful fort with breath-taking panorama, Lohagad is just a couple of hours away from Pune and Mumbai. It is a one-day trek and so, the city slickers can quickly get a weekend getaway from the stressful city life and enjoy a fresh breath of air and Vista from the fort.

The place has got quite a bunch of attractive tourist spots to check out as well. Another factor that plays in the favour of the Lohagad Fort Trek is that it can be marked as a beginner’s trek. The gradient is easy to moderately difficult. However, for advanced trekkers who feel that the difficulty level of the Lohagad Fort Trek isn't exciting enough can do a Lohagad-Visapur trek. This is a dual trek and is mostly done at night. Exciting enough?

Lohagad Fort: History and Heritage

Lohagad Fort
Lohagad Fort is One of the Famous Hill Forts in Maharashtra (source)

Maharashtra state, in India, is a land of hills and forts- hills that echo of the gallant battles and forts that resonate of the royal galas and mirth. Withstanding the harsh climate and the test of time, Lohagad Fort is one such Maratha fort that stands tall and proud in the Lonavala region.

Throughout the Indian history, Lohagad Fort has been home to many dynasties. From the Satavahanas to the Nizams, Lohagad Fort saw chains of reign passed over or seized by force. The fortress spent a good amount of time under the Maratha rule, before being taken over by the Mughals for a brief period.

The solid structures in and around the fort, such as a big tank and a step-well was later built by Nana Phadnavis of the Peshwa time. The fort has four large and sturdy iron gates that were built in the yore time but still looks strong and intact.

Okay, enough about the past now. Let’s discuss more on the Lohagad Fort trek.

Best Time for Lohagad Trek

Best season for Lohagad
Lohagad Fort Peeking In and Out of the Clouds (source)

Lohagad Fort looks mesmerizing in the monsoons. The foggy weather and the brisk winds add to the aura of the fort. The stone walls washed in the rains with layers of moss here and there strangely amplifies the grandeur of the structure. But be careful as you walk up the steps of the fort, they are slippery in the rains.

And if you happen to miss your chance to do a monsoon trek to the Lohagad Fort, then worry not as it looks equally pretty in the winters too. Although the summit of the fort could be really chilly, you should be fine in a wind cheater or a thick sweatshirt.

Lonavala winters aren't really the freezing kinds.

Average Temperatures:

  • Summer: 31°C
  • Monsoon: 26°C
  • Winter: 22°C

If we are to suggest a definite time for the Lohagad Fort trek, then we recommend anytime between August and September, that’s when the rains have a gentle temper and the weather conditions allow you to enjoy the trek to the fullest.

But since it’s an easy trek and at close proximity to the cities, you can do it whenever you want!

How to Reach

How to reach Lohagad fort
Lohagad is Well-connected (source)

Lohagad Fort is situated 52 km north-west of Pune. You either drive to Lohagad or board a train to the place. The nearest town to the Lohagad Fort is Malavli. It is located about 55 km away from Pune and 139 km from Mumbai.

You can take a train to the Malavli station or drive to the town. From Malavli, a 5-km hike will take you to a small settlement, Lohagadwadi village which serves as the base camp of the Lohagad Trek.

Transport

By Road: The Malavli town is situated on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway and is well connected to several other towns of Khopoli, Karjat, Talegaon dhabade, etc. People from Pune usually drive up to the town as it takes only an hour to reach.

By Train: As it is a major stop for trains commuting between Mumbai and Pune, Malavli has an efficient railway station. People from Mumbai can catch a commuter from Karjat or take the Indrayani Express while the Punekars can take the Lonavla local train. You have a local train travelling between Lonavla and Pune in every two hours.

By Air: Though not a commercial airport, Lonavla has the Indian Air Force station Troppo situated on the way to Aamby Valley City. Pune International Airport at 64 km and Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at 104 km are the nearest commercial airports.

Lohagad Trek: A Complete Itinerary

Lohagad Trek itinerary
The serpentine Ascent Looks Spectacular From the Top (source

Since the Lohagad trek is a one-day adventure, you might want to start off early in the morning. So, set out for Malavli town at the break of dawn. If you are driving to the region then probably stationing your car in the town is a better idea as the route beyond is a little tricky.

Upon reaching the Malavli town, eat a hearty breakfast of Pohe and chai before setting out on the journey. If not that, you can also take a break at the base village. The fort is about 9 km away from the Malavli town

As you move ahead of the village, you shall reach a point from where two roads bifurcate- one leads to the Bhaje Caves and the other to the Lohagad Fort. You can either take the direct route to the Lohagad Fort or check out the Bhaje Caves and reach the fort via Bhaje Caves-Lohagad route.

The Lohagad Fort trail is punctuated by dainty waterfalls and wild flora. The walk to the fort will present you with two small bridges, upon crossing them the path becomes rustic in red mud. A brief walk through thick bushes will take you to Goumukh Khind.

Lohagad Waterfall
A Humble Waterfall on the way to Lohagad Fort (source)

From there, take a left turn and within a few kilometres, you shall discern the Lohagadwadi village. From the base village, the trek to the Lohagad fort becomes a bit easier as stone steps have been laid up to the top. The climb to the top of the fort takes about 45 minutes.

Be careful while climbing up and down the steps as they tend to become slippery in the rains. And be more mindful of the pesky monkeys nesting in the fort. Avoid carrying foods or snacks in hands.

Caves and Spots to Check on Lohagad Fort

Pastoral beauty of the Lohagad Fort is a magnificent treat to the eyes. The calmness of the place strikes a chord of pathos that makes you understand why great men fought over the Iron Fort of Lohagad.

On the way up to the fort, you can see a variety of relics from the history of Marathas and before. The fort is enclosed by four large gates or Darwajas namely the Ganesh Darwaja, the Narayan Darwaja, the Hanuman Darwaja and the Maha Darwaja. Despite the ancientness, the Darwajas still retain their durability.

Maha Darwaja of lohagad fort
Maha Darwaja of Lohagad Fort (source)

Half way up the fort, you can see the Pawna lake placidly sitting behind the Lohagad Fort.

Pawna lake
The Serene Pawna Lake (source)

Marching upward, you come across other historical fragments like the Laxmi Kothi caves, Darga, Shiv Temple, and Vichukata, one of the most prominent attraction.

Laxmi kothi caves
The Laxmi Kothi Caves Served as a Garrison to Store the Loot from Surat (source)
Dargah at the Loahgad fort
A Dargah Built during the Nizam Rule (source)
Shiva temple on the Lohagad fort
Shiva Temple on the Lohagad Fort (source)
Vichukata
Standing on the Tip of Vichukata is Like Standing on the Edge of the World (source)

The fort has a personal water tank seated adjacent to the Shiva temple. The polygonal tank, built by Nana Phadnavis, has stone steps descending to the water. Legend has it that the water tank never dries up!

Polygonal water tank of Lohagad Fort
A Polygonal Water Tank on the Lohagad Fort (source)

Once you are done with checking out the entire Lohagad Fort, you can also visit Bhaja and Karla caves situated on the back of the fort.

During the monsoon, the clouds float so close to the fort's crown that it's like you're walking among them!

Fascinating, don’t you think?

Trekking Essentials

Trekking essentials
Trekking Basics (source)

The Lohagad Trek doesn’t require hardcore trekking amenities. You just need the right trekking shoes, a trekking pole to help you ascend the steps, a wind cheater, and a bottle of water.

In any case here’s a checklist of the basic essentials to load on:

Basics

  • A small and sturdy backpack with a capacity of 20 Litres to carry all your essentials.
  • Avoid normal sports shoes. Wear good quality, comfortable trekking shoes that provide good grip.
  • Water is available at the start of the trek. Since it is a short trek, avoid burdening yourself with too many water bottles. Two water bottles with 1-litre capacity will suffice.
  • Though it’s an easy trek, do not out rule the possibility of getting lost or separated from the group. Always carry a compass and a map of the area. Avoid relying on GPS gadgets.
  • Lohagad trekking trail passes through dense thickets. So, it is important that you carry a good, reliable flashlight with extra batteries, even if you’re trekking in broad daylight.

Clothing

The Lohagad Trek is a short trek with moderate climatic conditions. Hence, the three-layer clothing rule doesn’t apply here. However, carry extra sets of shirts and pants for emergencies.

  • A full sleeve shirt of sweat wicking material is ideal for the trek.
  • Wear full-length trekking pants to escape scratches from the shrubs or an injury.
  • A waterproof jacket, umbrella or a poncho in case of rain.

Medical Kit

  • Combiflam as a general painkiller
  • Avil for allergies
  • Digene for acidity
  • Crocin for fever
  • A small bottle of Dettol, roll of cotton and gauze
  • Moov or Relispray for muscular pulls, aches, and sprains
  • Band-aids
  • Crepe bandage and ointment in the case of any injuries

Others

  • Snacks to keep your energy up. Carry dry fruits and energy bars.
  • Sunblock
  • A bottle of electrolyte water
  • Camera (to click fantastic pictures)

Places to Explore Nearby

If the climbing the Lohagad Fort pumps up your spirit to embark on more adventures then drive to the other side of the hills to explore the ancient Bhaja and Karla Caves. You shall also meet the famous Visapur Fort on this side. Only expert trekkers with good fitness level should attempt to climb the Visapur Fort as it is graded as a difficulty level trekking.

Take a pit-stop at Lonavala town for lunch and local shopping. Driving further towards Khandala on your way back, you can halt at the Rajmachi View to get a glimpse of the Rajmachi Fort.

And that’s your quick weekend getaway!

Lohagad fort
A  Resolute Fort Among Wild Yellow Flowers (source)

Summing Up

Lohagad trek is a beginner’s level trek which can be done with your family. Individuals between 12-50 years old can easily trek to the fort. You do not need a high level of fitness or endurance to trek the Lohagad Fort. Just a high level of enthusiasm and an undying spirit will help you to conqueror it.

So, what are waiting for?

Pack up and do the Lohagad Trek this weekend!

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