Hiking - Destination

Rajmachi Trek: A Stunning Trek Exploring the Sahyadri Mountains

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The Rajmachi fort is one of the most popular and eye-catching treks situated in the Sahyadri range. It is a relatively easy to complete trek with no difficult paths and is the perfect first trek for a beginner. The Rajmachi trek takes you to a height of 2710 feet where the fort rests above the famous trading route used during the Maratha Empire called the Borghat Pass. Rajmachi owes its prominence and fame to being built by Shivaji Maharaja around the 17th century.

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Other than the wonderful views during the day, the Rajmachi trek offers a completely different and mesmeric scenery at night, complete with fireflies that light up your path.

The Rajmachi Trek: A Quick Overview

rajmachi trek overview
A Trek to Rajmachi (Source)
  • Where it is Located: Maharashtra
  • Number of Trekking Days: 2 days
  • Total Trekking Distance: 15 to 16 km
  • Max Altitude: 2710 ft. (8891 m)
  • Trekking Grade: Easy to Moderate
  • Best Season: July to December
  • Trail Type: Level mud path
  • Livingit Rank: Beginner - Enthusiast

About Rajmachi: The Village and the Fort

rajmachi fort from pune
The Hospitable Village of Rajmachi (Source)

The village of Rajmachi or Udhewadi located in the middle of the Sahyadri range in the Konkan area of Maharashtra. The village is small and positioned at the base of the Rajmachi fort. From Lonavala it is just a 16-kilometre hike, this distance can be covered by car but watch out for bad roads as these can damage your car’s exterior. If you do reach the village by car, then the hike to the fort is only half an hour long.

For a full experience, hiking would be better and more satisfying. Simple but tasty meals are what you will find in this village making it a great rest stop. The residents of the Rajmachi village can cook authentic Marathi food, snacks like vada pav and misal pav, and commercial instant meals like Maggi too. You will also find fresh water and juice. Most of the natives situated in the area are accustomed to hikers and are helpful and friendly.

Rajmachi fort is divided into twin forts, or Balekillas, namely Manaranjan and Shrivardhan. Besides the forts, there are many other sites to see like the two temples Bhairavnath and Mahadev, and the Rajmachi Lake.

The Best Season to Plan the Rajmachi Trek

Monsoon and winter are considered the most suitable seasons to go on this trek, this is probably because the wildlife will be in full blossom, and waterfalls will emerge around this time. The summer months tend to be a little warmer, but you can still undertake the trek in this season as the actual fort is cooler than the base.

Average Temperatures

  • Monsoon: 28 ° C to 32 ° C (day); 21 ° C to 26 ° C (night)
  • Winter: 30 ° C to 35 ° C (day); 17 ° C to 22 ° C (night)
  • Summer: 31 ° C to 36 ° C (day); 35 ° C to 40 ° C (night)

How to Reach the Starting Points of the Trek

The first route for the Rajmachi trek is via Lonavala. The distance from Pune to Lonavala is roughly 65 km and that from Mumbai is around 82 km if you travel via road. It takes around 1 to 2 hours from either city. The Lonavala Railway Station is the closest railway junction to this starting point while Pune Airport is the closest airport.

Karjat is the alternative starting point for this trek and is around 62 km away from Mumbai (106 km away from Pune) via road. You need approximately 1 and a half to 2 hours to cover the distance from either side. The Karjat Junction Railway Station, located in Karjat, sees a fair traffic of trains that go to and from Pune and Mumbai. The Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai, is the closest airport to Karjat.

Routes to Get to the Rajmachi Fort

There are two ways to reach the Rajmachi fort that you can choose from; the first route goes via Lonavala and the second route starts from Karjat.

Rajmachi via Lonavala Route

how to reach rajmachi fort from mumbai
Via the Naturally Bountiful Lonavala (Source)

If you are coming from Pune then you first need to travel down to Lonavala city. On the way, you will find a diversion that comes before the Khandala Ghat. This diversion takes you to a small village called Kunhe Gaon. After this point, you may continue the journey by car or walk on foot and trek until the next point which is the Rajmachi or Udhewadi village. The trekking distance from this point is 16 kilometres. You can cover this distance by car but be warned that the roads are very difficult to drive on and may damage your car if it is not protected for the bad terrain. Ask around for directions as most locals know of the fort and the way. Specify where you want to go properly because there is a viewpoint nearby with a similar name.

If you feel like you may be getting lost, then remember the landmark Della Adventure Park. The Rajmachi fort is only 11.6 kilometres away and the path leading towards the fort starts at a diverted road. Take the left road of this diversion and you will reach the fort despite terrible road conditions. Parking at this diversion is recommended and you can carry on by trekking instead of traversing the risky dirt road.

Rajmachi via Karjat Route

rajmachi trek
Through the Quaintness of Karjat (Source)

You can also do the Rajmachi trek from Karjat located in the Raigad District. There are two ways you can go about it. The first approach is from the Kondivade village situated on the right side of the river Ulhas. The other prominent villages in the area are the Kondhane and Mundhyachi Thakurwadi. The second approach is to start from the Salpe village. The first approach from the Kondivade village can take you to Rajmachi on the western side of the fort at Jambhul Met. The second approach from the Salpe village will take you to the fort on the north-west side at Hijadkhana.

Although they are good alternatives to the Lonavala route, both involve a steep climb of around 500 meters. You cannot take your vehicle on these routes so they are for those of you that enjoy strenuous treks and have some form of experience on steeper climbs.

Difficulty Level of Both Routes

The Rajmachi trek difficulty level depends on which route you choose to take. If you go for the Lonavala route then you will find the trek easy in terms of the distance and trek itself. If you take your vehicle up until the Udhewadi village then your trek is even simpler. Trekking this route on foot, however, is 16 kilometres long and may be very exhausting if you do not carry the right necessities like food and water.

If you choose to take the Karjat route then the difficulty would be more moderate due to the steep climbs of 500 meters you will have to take to reach the fort. Some experience or fitness may be required to climb on this route.

Rajmachi Trek Event Itinerary

If you opt for this trek then this is an example of what your itinerary for the trip will look like. This itinerary takes the Lonavala route to the Rajmachi fort.

Lonavala to Rajmachi via Udhewadi | Night Camp at Rajmachi Fort

rajmachi trek from karjat
Where the Journey is Better Than the Destination (Source)

First, you will need to reach Lonavala by train or bus from either Pune or Mumbai. From there you can travel by auto or car to the Udhewadi and Valvand village. You can park your vehicles here and start your trek for 16 kilometres up till the Rajmachi village. Once you reach the village, you can have your lunch or get authentic Marathi food at the village and look around at the Sahyadri range and other sites like the Shrivardhan and Manaranjan fort and the nearby temples before having tea at the village again.

rajmachi night trek
A Night Under The Night Sky (Source)

You can now check into one of the rooms available at the village hosted by locals or, if you brought camping tents, then set it up at the fort or caves. If you want to get the authentic rural life experience, make sure to eat a delicious home cooked meal at the village. But if you’re in for the genuine camping feel, cook your own meal over a campfire. You can ask the locals to help you collect wood for the fire.

Rajmachi to Karjat via Kondivade | Visiting the Kondana Caves

rajmachi trek difficulty level
Way Back Home (Source)

For the journey back you will be taking the Karjat route and be able to discover the Kondana caves. If you don’t want to miss the mesmerising sunrise from the fort, it is recommended that you wake up early and have a good breakfast. After taking one last look around the fort area, get ready to trek back to the Kondivade village. After exploring the area, you will be able to have lunch at the Kondivade village. From here you can get a train at the Karjat station or drive down to Pune or back to Mumbai.

Places of Interest

rajmachi trek and camping
Shrivardhan Fort (Source)
rajmachi trek fireflies
Manoranjan Fort (Source)
rajmachi trek
Kondana Caves (Source)
rajmachi trek
Bhairavnath Temple and Mahadev Temple (Source)

Overnight Trek to Rajmachi and Kondana Caves

The trek through the Karjat route takes you to the Kondana caves. You can also go to the Rajmachi fort after you spend a while looking around the caves they are actually on the same mountain. These Buddhist caves are worth going out of your way on the trek and exploring in depth. There are 16 caves in total and the insides feature large sculptures. These were the resting point of Buddhist monks who sheltered themselves during the monsoons in the 1st century BC. There are vihara, chaitya, and stupa sculpted into the stone on the walls of the caves that represent the beauty of ancient Buddhist architecture.

rajmachi trek and camping
A Trip into the Past (Source)
rajmachi trek fireflies
Journey through Fantasyland (Source)

If you wish to stay the entire day and explore all 16 caves then you can stay at rooms available at the Kondana village or even the nearby Kondivade village. Then, you can carry on your way to the fort. This Rajmachi night trek would be a great way for you to get the privilege of viewing the caves and the fort. If you decide to do the night trek, keep a look out for the fireflies are bound to be around in the evening time in this mountainous area. Make a campfire, eat some local snacks and gaze at the clear night’s sky. The perfect weekend.

Rajmachi Trek Camping Information

 rajmachi trek
Typically Maharashtrian (Source)

The Rajmachi fort is a very good spot for you to set up tents for camping. You can get the chance to finally relax after a long day of trekking or climbing and then start to head back home with ease. The Rajmachi fort area encloses two caves that can provide an accommodation for around forty individuals. Those of you that find caves uncomfortable can camp out at the base of the fort or at the Kalbhairavnath Temple, also at the base. If you have not carried enough food for yourself then the locals in the area provide good dishes with Bhakri. Finding firewood in the surrounding area is not difficult if you want to cook your own food like noodles or soup.

Accommodation Facilities at Rajmachi

 rajmachi trek
Friendly Accommodation at Rajmachi (Source)

If you are not a big fan of camping out in caves or sleeping in a tent, then the local inhabitants of the area do offer rooms for stay. These facilities are standard and very basic; you will not find any hotels or fancier rooms in this part. If you plan to stay only for a night then you should be very comfortable. This will give you the chance to try Pitla Bhakri along with other local treats.

Things You Need for the Rajmachi Trek

The Rajmachi Trek is a fairly easy but you still need to carry a few trekking essentials, especially for the night trek or if you’re planning to camp in the area. Here’s a packing checklist that you can refer to make sure you don’t forget anything in the last minute.

Basics

Food

  • Packed food like lunch or dinner if you do not want to buy meals
  • Water bottles with two litres
  • Energy drinks or snacks
  • Utensils if you plan to cook your own food

Others

  • Toiletries
  • Hat, sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Raincoat or jackets depending on season
  • Camping tent and sleeping bag if you plan to camp

Livingit Tip

Remember to pack light and dress according to the season at the time; it may rain heavily at any moment!

Summing Up

rajmachi trek difficulty level
Rajmachi: A Monsoon Trek to Heaven (Source)

The Rajmachi trek is one that everyone from beginners to experts can take on with ease. This monsoon trip is a must, simply for the natural beauty it offers all along the trail and the peace of mind you find at the fort. Let us know how your trek went and if you came across any new sites that were memorable. Tell us your Rajmachi trek and camping experience in the comments below and make sure to share the pictures you clicked!

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