Of all the breathtaking treks in Maharashtra that you can find, the Purandar fort trek is one of the best. Within the district of Pune, it is only 32 kilometres away from the centre of the city. The stronghold whenever Pune was attacked, the historical importance of Purandar fort dates back to the Maratha Empire, even before the historical treaty between the Marathas and Mughals was signed. The speciality of Purandar fort is the beautiful display of flora that you can find growing around making for a picturesque scene. This is due to the structure and way that the fort was built in the first place that allows rainwater to be distributed unequally on both sides allowing for different species to thrive.
Table of Content
- The Purandar Fort at a Glance
- An Insight into the Purandar Fort
- The Historic Saga of Purandar Fort
- Best Time to Visit Purandar Fort
- Reaching Purandar Fort
- The Purandar Fort Trek
- Highlights of the Purandar Fort
- Essentials to Carry for the Trek
- Tips for the Trekkers
- Summing Up
The perfect balance between nature, history, and adventure that the Purandar Fort manages to showcase makes a favourite among trekkers and the trek’s easy trail allows for beginners to slowly ease into the trekking life.
The Purandar Fort at a Glance
- Where it is Located: Maharashtra
- Number of Trekking Days: 1 Day
- Max Altitude: 4,472 ft (1,387 m)
- Trekking Grade: Easy
- Best Season: October to February (Winter)
- Livingit Rank: Beginner - Enthusiast
An Insight into the Purandar Fort
Popularly known to be Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaja's son, Sambhaji Raje's birthplace, the Purandar fort, located at the village of Purandhar also called Naranpur, is a part of Saswad district of Pune and is 1390 meters in height. This fort is home to some of the most diverse species of flora and fauna due to the dispersed rainfall distribution from the structure of the fort.
At present, the army runs the functioning of the fort and has control over its regulations. This means that the timing of the fort is limited as they close at 5 pm every day of the week. If you travel by road, the trek from the parking space will take you around 45 minutes to complete. It is recommended that you start out early in order to have enough time to reach the top of the fort, explore around, and trek back down with enough time to spare. You may be stopped from going onwards to the fort if you do not come well in advance from the fort closing timings. Another restriction is that you’re not allowed to carry mobile phones or cameras into the fort as it is under the army’s jurisdiction; you will have to deposit your electronics at the gate and can get your things back when you leave.
The Historic Saga of Purandar Fort
The fort was said to have been constructed in 1350 by Persian invaders who claimed the hilltop as their own. To keep the fort steady it is believed that a man and woman were buried underneath the base as an offering to their patron gods. It is retold that even the King of Berar whom claimed the fort instructed that his wife and a firstborn son from the village be buried alive as worship to keep the foundation strong.
Since its construction, the Purandar fort has witnessed numerous battles across the centuries. One such famous event was that of the rivalry between Shivaji and Aurangzeb. A famous temple of more than a thousand years stands tall at the base of the fort in the Purandar village. It is called the Narayaneshwar temple and was built by Yadavas as a dedication to Lord Krishna. Adding to the diversity is a church built upon the base along with the fort that was set up by the British when they captured the fort. The fort provides history applicable to not just one but so many diverse cultures and religions. It is truly a treat for anyone that visits the fort.
Best Time to Visit Purandar Fort
Although the rains offer you an amazing view from the fort, the trail turns mushy and slippery during this season. The winter season, on the other hand, gives you similar scenery without having to traverse through the sludgy mud.
- Winter: 25 ° C to 30 ° C (day); 12 ° C to 17 ° C (night)
- Monsoon: 25 ° C to 30 ° C (day); 20 ° C to 25 ° C (night)
- Summer: 35 ° C to 40 ° C (day); 21 ° C to 26 ° C (night)
Reaching Purandar Fort
The village of Narayanpur is the base camp for the trek to Purandar fort from. This village is 32 kilometres away from Pune and around 204 kilometres from Mumbai. To reach Purandar fort from Pune you can either take a bus or a private car. If you are planning on driving to Purandar fort, the Saswad-Hadapsar Road is the fastest way to get there.
The Route Options
There are two common routes that you may take depending on where you are coming from. The first is the route via Katraj. This way takes you through Kapurhol to Narayanpur and finally to Purandar fort. You can drive halfway to Naranpur village and then go the rest of the way on foot. This trek is usually faster because there are lesser crowds and bigger roads.
The second route is via Hadapsar. This way will take you through Dive Ghat to Saswad and then to the Narayanpur road from where you may walk to Purandar fort. This route adds more than convenience to the mix as this way is far more scenic. The drive goes around the ghats where you can overlook the hills and beautiful wildlife. The only problem associated with this particular path is that it is a slightly longer distance to cover with more traffic than the other way but in the end may be worth it.
The Purandar Fort Trek
This is an example of what your itinerary would look like if you were going to the Purandar fort from Pune via the Hadapsar route.
Depart from Hadapsar to Saswad either by car or bus. It is recommended that you leave early so you reach the fort with enough time to spare. From Saswad you can take another bus that will take you all the way to Narayanpur. Arrive at the Narayanpur village where you may get down and start your trek, enjoying the climb as you go. Once you reach the fort, take your time to look around and sightsee. Eat your packed lunch at the sight, or take some snacks from the tea stall below the fort. You can even catch a good meal by the Narayanpur village. Leave the fort before the closing time and then make your way back to the Saswad bus stand. From here you can easily reach various points in Pune city like Swargate, Shivajinagar and more depending on where you have to go.
Highlights of the Purandar Fort
Statue of Murarbaji Deshpande
The Fitzclarence Memorial (Holy Trinity) Church
View of Vajragad
Essentials to Carry for the Trek
- A backpack that is big enough to carry all the necessary items that you will need to pack for the trip
- Good sturdy hiking shoes with proper grip
- A mandatory trekking medical kit, along with youe personal medications
- Proper clothing according to the season and what the weather is like for that day. Extra clothes could be packed in case of extreme rains
- At Least 2 litres of water should be brought for this trek.
- Energy drinks like Gatorade or Glucon-d are great for energy renewal
- Raincoat for the monsoon season or jackets if trekking in winter
- Camera for the journey until the fort, and even binoculars for looking off at the scenery in the distance
Tips for Trekkers
Here are some helpful tips for you to know about before going on the trek to this fort:
- Make sure you take note of these as there are strict regulations enforced by the army base of Pune on tourists visiting the historical fort.
- The first important fact to remember is that you will not find food being sold at the fort or surrounding area. Only one shop is in place at the fort base which is essentially a tea stall. If you plan to stay at the fort for the entire day then you should pack your own food and snacks unless you think you can survive on Pitla Bhakri and Kanda Bhajji.
- It would be extremely useful to know that there are no bathrooms at the fort. Not even the base of the fort has these facilities. If you need to relieve yourself then you will have to use the natural surroundings.
- Since the closing time of the fort is only 5 pm, the army guards on duty will usher you to leave the fort by 04.30 pm. Knowing this, you must take care to come early and plan your trip with respect to these constraints.
- As we mentioned earlier, the best season to visit the Purandar fort is after the monsoon season which is winter time around October to February. This is to best aid your hiking up to the fort where the path will be extremely slippery due to the rain. Even if you do plan a trek in the rainy season, make sure you have great grip so as to not slip or trip as you walk.
- Lastly, there are strict rules about littering around and in the fort. Try to be courteous and keep the trash you make with you until you find a proper trash bin to dispose of it in. This helps preserve the beauty of the surroundings and keeps the fort in tip top condition.
The Purandar fort is Pune’s pride and one of India’s oldest forts. A trek to such an auspicious place is a must for all history lovers and trekking enthusiasts. We hope you learnt all you needed for when you decide to embark on this trek next. Do remember the regulations and always keep your surroundings, campsite or otherwise, clean and hazard free. Do tell us all about your trekking experience in the comments section below!