Located about 89 km from Mumbai and 68 km from Pune is one of the best built forts of the Maratha Empire. At a height of 3,450 feet above sea level lies this pre-British era marvel of Indian history called Lohagad Fort. The fort is located close to the hill station of Lonavala in the state of Maharashtra.
There are several options of getting to Lohagad Fort the first and also the most economical way is to board a train from Mumbai or Pune and get down at Lonavala station. The train ride takes about 3 hours from Mumbai and one hour from Pune respectively. From Lonavala station, one can take a local shuttle train to Malavli station. Lohagad Fort is located about 8-9 km from Malavli station. Walking to the fort takes 2-3 hours depending on pace.
The second and most convenient option is to hire a private vehicle to Lohagadwadi which is the base village near which the fort is located. Such vehicles are easily available at reasonable rates from both Mumbai and Pune.
State Transport or ST buses from Mumbai or Pune to Lonavala bus stand is the third option. From the bus stand rickshaws are available to Lohagad Fort. Frequent buses are available from Mumbai Central leaving after an interval of 30 minutes. The buses from Pune ply every 15 minutes.
Located in the mighty Sahyadri’s Lohagad Fort divide’s the Pavana-Indrayani basin and stands as mighty guards to the trade route connecting the Deccan Plateau to Kokan. Due to its strategic location Lohagad Fort had created an extra edge over its invading enemies.
Close to Lohagarh, on its eastern side, there is another fort, called Visapur. Climbing the fort from the north towards Lohagadwadi village, the famous Buddhist caves of Bhaja are located to the left. The four large gates of Lohagarh Fort are very intricately arranged and are still intact.
There is also a small temple and grave of a Muslim Pir also known as a Sufi master located in the fort. On the west side of the fort there is a long and narrow wall-like fortified spur called Vinchukata in Marathi (scorpion sting) because of its natural shape.
Lohagarh has a long history and was occupied by many dynasties: Satavahanas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Yadavas, Bahamanis, Nizamshahis, Mughals and Marathas.
Lohagad Fort was regarded as a great military marvel during pre-historic British time. The fort is a great place for a quick getaway from the busy city life. The walk up to the fort is a particular favourite of trekkers, especially in the monsoon. The simple and easy trek is suitable for people of all age-groups. The trekking route during monsoons becomes a bit mucky and trekkers may find some difficulty in walking to the fort.
The walk to Lohagad Fort is enjoyable with the epic scenic beauty, lush green grass, cool mountain air, the pleasant climate and site of the villages that can be seen along the way to the fort. A variety of birds and insects can also be spotted in the hills.
From the top of Lohagad Fort, a view of the villages, beautiful bungalows, hotels and the entire hill station of Lonavala is visible. One can really relax and get some peace here.
There are plenty of options for food in nearby Lohagadwadi village. In the small dhabbas one has food options such as vada pav, onion bajiya, corn (butta) along with the cutting chai (tea). With regards to accommodation, there are plenty of options available in Lonavala.
However, Lonavala is extremely crowded during weekends, since it attracts a lot of crowd from the cities of Mumbai and Pune, especially during the monsoons so planning a trip with this in mind is advised.
The ideal time to visit Lohagad Fort is during the months of September to March when the weather is cool and pleasant as the humidity is also low. During the monsoons the area around Lohagad receives heavy rainfall and this makes the view from the fort very spectacular with the green meadows, the cascading waterfalls and the natural beauty.
Lohagad Fort is an ideal place to visit for anyone looking for a quick break from their routine wishing to experience the joys of a simple trek up a historical marvel.