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Monday, April 14, 2014

After having breakfast at Ram Ashraya we walked for around 15 minutes to reach Manohar’s car. It was parked a couple of blocks away as the restaurant doesn’t have valet parking.

As it was Saturday there was less traffic on the road and in a matter of 30 minutes we were off Mumbai premises. 
Mumbai Pune Expressway

I had planned to do GPS tracking of my trip. I had downloaded offline Google maps for the same.  But somehow they didn’t get saved on my phone :(

But that didn’t dampen my spirits and we continued on our journey.
Soon we were out of Mumbai, out of Navi Mumbai and on the Mumbai Pune Expressway. 
Curvy roads on the way to Peth Shahapur
It was a bright sunny day outside. Mercury was rising by the minute. Good cars come with Air Conditioners. It helped us keep cool. I can recollect when I was in the 10th grade, by best friend Pranav, had a Premier Padmini and it had a fan on the dashboard for cooling.

As the glasses were rolled up most of the photos will have the windshield or the glass reflection in the photos.  There were hills all around, and there have to be after all the Expressway was made by demolishing some hills. The view around was scenic, it consisted of hills and valleys. As we were in the summers the hay had turned golden was it was glittering in a distance.
Trees along the way
At around 11 AM again we were greeted with traffic near Market Chowk in Lonavla. Why traffic. Because a political party was preparing for election canvasing. It took around 30 minutes of our time. A traffic cop informed us that we need to take a right here to go to Amby Valley.

The road had turned narrow now but was covered with trees all around. We located a mall in Lonavala too. The mall had McDonald’s and KFC in its food court. I guess it had just been constructed as shops were just filling in.
Don't miss this signboard, the Korigad Fort int he background
The narrow roads passed through local houses, tree farms, farms, hills and valleys and soon we were at the divide. One road goes to Amby Valley and the other goes to Peth Shahapur.

The road to Peth Shahapur was curvy. Curvy roads leading to the top. Some of the curves were sharp. It is advisable to drive slowly and to honk at the sharp curves. There was not much crowd though. But the roads had thick forestation all around.  Soon the thick forestation was replaced with hills and valleys and farms.
Manohar and Me :)
At around 12 noon we reached the base village being Peth Shahapur. Vehicles can’t go till the top of the fort. We had to park the car in an open space near the village. Manohar had got the steering wheel lock for extra protection. It is necessary to keep  these small pointers in mind, after all we were to leave the car here for like 2 to 3 hours time.

As we had just carried water with us, we shopped for biscuits and cold drinks at a local store there. We also inquired for directions; they told us that the way up is very easy. The shop and the kitchen were located next door. Lunch was being prepared, I just loved the smell of it. I didn’t; mind staying back for lunch, had they asked me.  A pai wat behind the wall leads to the top.  I saw the pai wat. Easy? I laughed in my mind.
Stairs all the way up
We started our journey. In a matter of 10 minutes we noticed sign boards on the side of the pai wat which had now turned into a muddy road. The sign boards were giving directions to the fort.

The fort is a.k.a Koraigad, Koarigad or Kumwarigad. It is located 20 Km away from Lonavla. Shivaji Maharaj reigned over this fort. But it was taken over by the British. 
Ganesh Darwaza
Soon we reached the stairs. These were not the ones built then, but were built later so that people could climb up the fort with ease.
There are tall flood light poles around. I guess they provide light in the night.

As there was a staircase the journey up was easy.  In a matter of 30 minutes we were halfway up. A Ganesh Temple and a cave are located here. . There is nothing much to see in the cave. But it offers a good view of the hills around. You will be greeted by Monkeys here.
View from the top, Amby Valley
In 30 minutes time we were near the Ganesh Darwaza. The main entrance to the fort. The journey put had trees around, which offered good shade for resting.

Beware, if you going in the summers, there is no shade atop the fort. It is barren.  The fortification is intact. We decided to walk on it to view the fort in entirety.
Barren soil with ruins
There are a few cut outs in the rock, which I guess used to be caves in those times.

The fort has a few cannons scattered all over the place and a few temples too, one of them being the Korlaidevi Temple. The temples are newly constructed. There  are temples dedicated to Vishnu and Shiva too.
Korlaidevi Temple
The walls offered a wonderful view of Amby Valley and the surrounding hills and valleys.

This is one of the few forts remaining in Maharashtra that has a 360 degree fortification all around.

Most of the land is barren; it has a few ruins on the fort. There is another entrance to the fort too, but the way up is very steep and is made of loose rocks.
The Second Entrance to the fort along with the fortification
We saw two ponds, even at this time there is water in them, note there are no trees around and they are exposed to sun.  But still it had water, a bit difficult to digest.

I took us around 1 ½ hour to cover the entire fort. The time was now 2:30 PM on my watch. We rested for a few minutes at the Main Entrance and then we headed off to the base. In 30 minutes we were at the bottom of the hill. And in 10 minutes time at the base village.
One of the ponds on the fort
We headed off to the only hotel in the village for our lunch, Veg Thali for lunch. I always love to eat food prepared by the villagers.  Our thali consisted of peas vegetable, moong vegetable, dal and curd, for starters we had salad made of onions and tomatoes and miniature papad's. There was also this dry garlic chutney which was awesome. It cost us Rs.80 each. Which is expensive as per village standards. 
Veg Thali

We had our full and then headed off to Mumbai.
It is advisable to travel by personal mode of transport. Not many options are available to Peth Shahapur village from Lonavala.  ST buses ply just twice a day and then we have the rickshaws, who will charge a bomb.

Our expenses inclusive of morning breakfast, fuel charges, toll charges, lunch and other miscellaneous charges summed up to Rs.1160. So it is Rs.580 per head. This is good and economical.
We travelled the same way back, there was no traffic and at 6:10 PM I was back at Chembur.
Learning. It is good to travel by a personal vehicle, because it saves on time and energy too. After a hard days trek we can sit in a car and be back home. Also if we have full occupancy in the car then the trip becomes economical. BTW the car was powered by Petrol and CNG. 


Anonymous said...

Looks like a nice trek you had. Was it too sunny at the time?

Unknown said...

@ wanderingjatin , it was a hot sunny day, but the winds wiped the sweat away

WanderLust Adventures said...

hi Merwyn, nice blog. By any chance do you have the telephone number & name of the restaurant at base of Korigad, in the village of Peth Shahpur? OR of the contact who provided you the thali at the base of the fort?

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