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Tung Fort or Kathingad near Pawna Lake in Lonavala

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Tung Fort is located in Lonavala which is easily accessible from both Mumbai and Pune by rail and road. It is located very near to the Pawna Lake. The forts of Tikona, Lohgad and Visapur can be seen from atop the fort. The fort is also called Kathingad. Which means difficult. Read on to understand how difficult it is to climb this fort. 
Infomation on Tung Fort

We had planned to visit Tung Fort along with Karla Caves, Bedse Caves and Tikona Fort. But due to shortage of time we had to skip it. 

We then decided to club it along with the twin forts of Shrivardhan and Manaranjan at Rajmachi along with camping at the banks of Pawna Lake. But had to abandon the camping part of it and so set out to visit the twin forts of Rajmachi and Tung Fort.
Tung Fort from the foothills
As decided we (Dominic and Me) met Manohar at Ghatkopar Railway station on the east side at 8 AM. We then headed over to Lonavala to conquer the three forts.

It was a day trip and we decided to do the twin forts of Rajmachi first followed by Tung Fort.
The temple at the foothills of Tung Fort
Now there are two ways of reaching Rajmachi, one is from Karjat via the Kondana Caves which is a proper trek and the other is from Lonavala via the road leading to Della Adventures which goes to the base village at Rajmachi. 

As we were travelling by car we decided to take the road to Rajmachi via Della Adventure. 
Hanuman Temple on the way to the fort
We had taken the New Mumbai Pune Expressway then exited it at Lonavala and then took the road to Della Adventure. Sign boards are put, so follow them. The quality of the road is not very good and it worsens once you cross Della Adventure. The road then turns into a muddy patch full of small stones so driving on them is quite a task for small cars. A roller coaster ride. Now we had to decide, do we go up this way or do Tung. As the road was bad, it would consume a lot of time. 
Fortification and steep stairs to reach Tung Fort
Parking our car there and walking it up to the base was also not a option as the stretch was approximately 15 KM away so it would take around 3 hours to reach the base village at Rajmachi. Then climb up the twin forts, lunch and back to the car park.That would consume a lot of time.
Trucks Tempos and SUV would make it to the top, but not small cars. We then abandoned the plan of visiting Rajmachi forts and headed off to Tung Fort. The time was now 11 AM on my watch.

Tung fort was approximately 30 KM away from here. 

We then headed over to Lonavala. Did shopping for fudge and chikki there and then headed over to Tung Fort. We traveled by the Lonavala Road then the Javan Tungi Road to reach the base of Tung.
View of Pawna Lake from atop the fort
The Javan Tungi Road was better than the road to Rajmachi. Though a tar road but was uneven, again we had to drive slowly so it consumed quite some time on the narrow and winding roads and finally we saw a small miniature board leading to Tung Fort. we followed that board and finally were at the base of the fort. There was a temple here, but couldn't locate any base village. Though we could hear children shouting in a distance, so we assumed that there is a village nearby. Tungi Village.
Bastion on Tung Fort
There are no shops on the Javan Tungi Road. So stock up food and water at Lonavala itself or at Tiger Point.

We had cakes near the temple. This was our first food intake on the trip. So we had plenty of them, lunch would only be served at Lonavala, that to after 3 hours.
Top most point on the fort
At 1 AM, with the hot sun shining on our heads we headed off to climb the fort.  There was a board put up there stating Kathingad. A few locals were there, I decided to ask them the grade and they told me it was difficult. Never the less we still headed off to climb the fort.
Rock cut water tank on the fort premises
As we were near the base, it was a straight vertical climb up the fort. Though it has small steps in the beginning which were later replaced by small and large rocks all the way up. We crossed a small Hanuman Temple. A ziz zag road led to the top. In a matter of 30 minutes we were around 50% up the hill. This place offered a beautiful view of Tungi village and the surrounding hill ranges along with Pawna Lake. 

We kept walking on the trail at the edge of the cliff and finally were at the entrance of the fort. It had a Darwaza and fortification. 
Dominic, Manohar and Me
Tung fort is basically conical in shape when you see it from Tikona Fort located on the other side of Pawna Lake. When we were travelling back from Tikona we were wondering as to how we would be able to conquer it, the shape was very unusual.

Tung fort comprises of three plateaus, the first one has a bastion on it, the second one has the main door to enter the fort, the Ganpati temple and water cistern, the third one houses the Balle Kille and water tanks.

That's me
We decided to skip the bastion on  the lower most plateau as we could see it from here. 

On the second plateau is located a Ganpati temple and a water cistern which is cut from the rock. The water in it is not portable. 
Another view from the top of Tung Fort
We then headed off to the third plateau from where lead the way to the top most point of the fort. Finally we were on the top. The time was now 2 PM on my watch. 

The top has a small temple dedicated to Devi Tungi apart from a couple of orange colored flags swaying in the wind. 
Another view from Tung Fort
We took a couple of selfies and landscape photos here. Though it was hot, we were not able to feel the heat as there was strong wind blowing. We didn't break a sweat either. Only problem is, there is no shade here. Suddenly Dom located a small cave, big enough to accommodate 7 people. It is right below the top most point. 

Tikona, Lohgad and Visapur Fort were clearly visible from here. Pawna Lake nicely twisted around Tung Fort. There were other hill ranges also in a distance. Finally we located the Tung Village which is not at the base of the fort. 
Manohar and Me descending Tung Fort
History states that this fort was built by Adil Shah and later conquered by Shivaji. Though this fort is small, my understanding states that this should be a watchtower for the two massive forts of Lohgad and Visapur. 

Not much of fortification is left on the hill. except for the main entrance, but the huge rocks from a distance camouflage as  fortification. 

We then decided to descend the fort, in an hour's time we were back at the base. Though this fort is called Kathingad, there is nothing difficult about it. It took us around 2:45 hours to see the fort. 
Watch out for this signboard on the Javan Tungi Road
We then headed off the Javan Tungi road to Lonavala. 

We decided to break at Allah Rakha Hookah and Restaurant near Tiger Point for lunch. As they were the only ones serving lunch at 4:30 PM. 

Had lunch in the form of Veg Kolhapuri , Butter Chicken and Roti's and finally headed back to Mumbai.

Finally at 7:30 PM we were back at Ghatkopar Railway Station. 

Though the trip was exhaustive and tiring, thanks to the hot sun, we still managed to have a great time as always. 

Thanks Manohar and Dom :)


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