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Arjungad aka Bagwada fort in Bagwada near Vapi in Gujarat (India)

Monday, January 30, 2017

After visiting Kille Pardi, we decided to walk on the over crowded roads of the Pardi town to reach the Mumbai Ahmedabad Highway.

Fortification of Bagwada fort aka Arjungad

We had refreshments there and boarded a shared rickshaw to Chauraha (Crossroad of four roads) at a cost of Rs.20 for two. From there we boarded another shared rickshaw to alight at the Bagwada Toll Plaza. It cost us Rs. 20 for two. 

Bagwada Rail station

We asked the locals for directions and they asked us to cross the railway line to reach the Bagwada fort base village. The Bagwada Rail station is located very close to the rail crossing. So if you alight at the station, when travelling by the passenger train to Valsad. You can walk it out to the fort. 

It took us around 25 minutes (walking) to reach the Bagwada Fort base village from the Rail crossing. We asked the locals of directions and finally reached the stairs that would take us, straight to the fort. 

Stairs to Bagwada fort aka Arjungad from Bagwada base village

After climbing up the stone staircase for about around 20 minutes we reach the Main and only entrance to the fort. The shade of the trees will stop the sun's heat from reaching you. There is a bell at the entrance. We rang the bell and then walked in the fort premises. 

We were greeted by identical rooms  on either side once we entered the fort premises. Not sure of the significance of these rooms. 

Entrance to Bagwada fort aka Arjungad

The fort is rectangular in shape and has four bastions on the four corners. The bastion offers a fantastic view of the land. We can see the railway line, Mumbai Ahmedabad highway and the  long and winding Kolak River from the side that is not fortified. The fort is fortified on three sides. 

Not much is known about the history of this place. But if you know about it, then do share with me, so that I can upload it on my blog.
The fort is very small in size, it will hardly take 15 minutes to see it. There is a Mahalaxmi Temple atop the fort premises. There is also a water body near the fort premises. Not sure if the water is portable. As there was no one atop the fort premises. 

Thats us

There is no food and water available on the fort premises. So food and water needs to be carried. Food and water is available in the base village.  

We then headed back to Bagwada village and from there to Bagwada Toll Plaza. From there we boarded a shared rickshaw to drop us to Chauraha (crossroad at Vapi). It cost us Rs. 40 for two. 
From the crossroad, we boarded another rickshaw to reach to Vapi Rail station. It cost us Rs.20 for two. 

Mahalaxmi temple atop Bagwada fort aka Arjungad

Fathima stood in the line to book a ticket to Valsad from Vapi. She booked the unreserved tickets at a cost of Rs.90 for two. By then Mohsin messaged me that our return tickets to Mumbai from Valsad via the Jodhpur Express have been confirmed. That bought a smile across my face. Now we didn't have to travel by the general compartment to Mumbai. 
View from Bagwada fort aka Arjungad

We boarded the Karnavati Express, from Vapi to reach Valsad in around 25 minutes. Now we had a major task ahead of us. We had to hunt for a place to stay in Valsad. As it was the Diwali, we were sure that we might not get a place to stay. After checking out a couple of hotels,  finally we got a place to stay in Hotel Sunshine near the Chauraha (crossroad at Valsad). The rooms were descent, though the cost was a bit high. Rs.900 for a double bed, non ac room. 

We had dinner in the form of Gujarati Thali at Hotel Mansarovar. It was filling, Cost us Rs.80 each. but I was more happy and content with the Thali I had at Junagadh.
Bastion at Bagwada fort aka Arjungad

The next morning, we woke up and headed to Raja and Rani, to have some mouth watering vada pav and cutlet. It was the best food I had on this Valsad trip so far. The Vada in the Pav was big and size and very tasty.

We then boarded the Jodhpur Express at 9:52 AM at Valsad to reach Borivali in Mumbai around 11:45 AM. The train traveled non stop to Borivali from Valsad. Again shortest travel time. There was hardly anyone travelling in the train. 

Gujarati Thali at Hotel Mansarover

On our return we could locate, Parnera Fort and Arjungad Fort perched atop the hill when we passed by from the respective closest stations. 

I was happy that I managed to explore Parnera Fort, Kille Pardi and Arjungad in Gujarat. I was saddened that I couldn't explore Ballalgad in village Kajali, Dhinsu Fort in Phanse and Indragad in Pali Karambeli. These formed the itinerary of next bike trip. 

Morning breakfast

We enjoyed the trip a lot, thanks to the winters, it wasn't that hot and made travelling easy up and down the hill. it didn't tire us out.

Keep reading and Keep exploring...

Kille Pardi in Pardi near Valsad in Gujarat (India)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

After exploring the Parnera Fort in Atul, we headed down the stairs to reach the base. From there we boarded a shared rickshaw to the Mumbai Ahmedabad Highway. The rickshaw driver agreed to take us to Kille Pardi in Pardi a couple of KM's away at a cost of Rs.80 for two. 
Fortification at Kille Pardi in Pardi

The moment we exited the highway, we entered the small and crowded town of Pardi. Looks like everyone from this town had taken the road, which made travelling on the road a difficult task. The rickshaw driver managed to dodge the traffic on the narrow and winding roads and finally alighted us at the entrance of Kille Pardi. 
Kille Pardi in Pardi
Outside the fort premises is a small bust of Shivaji Maharaj, with a write up in Gujarati. There is also a Post Office outside the fort premises. Another landmark to reach the fort. 
Post Office outside Kille Pardi in Pardi
Statue of Shivaji at Kille Pardi in Pardi
The fort is in ruins and is not occupied at all. Most of the structures on the fort premises are in ruins. 
A couple of houses had the no. 1745 and 1910 atop them, so not sure if the structures were built in that year or if it is just a number given to the structure. Dogs have made themselves a home in a couple of structures. So the moment we walked in they started barking at us. Oops, looks like we trespassed in their homes without their permission. 
Fortification at Kille Pardi in Pardi
Structures at Kille Pardi in Pardi
There is a lot of wild vegetation growing in the fort premises. There is also a bastion with a cylindrical pillar made of stone in its premises. Not sure about the significance of the stone pillar. Have been to forts in plenty, but haven't seen anything like this one.
There are a couple of house like structures in the fort premises. Again they are like ghost houses.
Ruins at Kille Pardi in Pardi
There is also a Dargah here.It is in use and prayers are offered. I am not sure of its name, but if you can read Gujarati then do post it in the comments. 
Structure at Kille Pardi in Pardi
The couple of walls are still standing in the fort premises. Some of them are still standing thanks to the support of the Banyan Tree.
We also saw a snake roaming freely in the fort premises. Fathima was stunned when she saw the snake. We didn't harm the snake nor did it harm us in any way.
Fathima and Me, at one of the bastions at Kille Pardi in Pardi
There is another way to enter the fort premises from the other side. There are a couple of bastions too, again due to thick vegetation we couldn't visit certain parts of the fort. The ASI should take this fort under its belt and work towards the renovation of the fort to be accessible to the public. 
Structures at Kille Pardi in Pardi
I was happy to see that there was no graffiti on the fort walls. Thank God, idiotic people have no visited this fort premises. 
Structures at Kille Pardi in Pardi
No food or water is available in the fort premises, the fort can be explored in 30 minutes. As the Pardi town is close by we can easily get refreshments there. 
Structures at Kille Pardi in Pardi
Pardi Rail station is close by, again only passenger trains stop at this station. One can reach the Rail Station and then board a rickshaw or walk it out to the fort premises. 
Structures at Kille Pardi in Pardi
Dargah at Kille Pardi in Pardi
We then had refreshments and headed over to the last fort on our itinerary. The Bagwada fort aka Arjungad located in Bagwada.

Parnera Fort atop Parnera Hill in Atul near Valsad in Gujarat (India)

Monday, January 23, 2017

Parnera Fort is located atop of Parnera Hill in Atul, near Valsad in Gujarat in India.
Parnera Fort (Zoom in to see)

Fathima who had accompanied me in exploring the Sopara Stupa Site, joined me on my trip. Click on Sopara to read about my trip. We planned on exploring Parnera Fort at Atul, Kille Pardi in Pardi and Arjungad Fort aka Bagwada Fort in Bagwada located between Vapi and Valsad in Gujarat.
Rajkot Express
We planned the trip just 4 days in advance, there was no chance that we would get reservation in the train at such short notice but I still wanted to try my luck. So I asked Mohsin to check for Tatkal tickets for the to and fro journey. Remember Mohsin, I had accompanied him to Jaora. Click on Jaora to read about my trip.

We decided to take the train with the shortest travel time to reach Valsad from Mumbai. After researching, we finally narrowed down on the Rajkot Express. As it takes 02 hours and 10 minutes to reach Valsad from Vasai.
Rajkot Express departs from Coimbatore on Thursday night and reaches Rajkot on Saturday evening, we boarded the general compartment of the train at Vasai Railway station on the Western line as we didn't have any reservations. The unreserved train tickets cost us Rs.130 for two. The train reached Vasai at 6:10 AM. The train departed from Vasai at 6:20 AM, The train was on time, I was sure that it would reach us at Valsad at 8:30 AM. 
Stairs to Parnera Hill from Parnera Village

The train was packed, but we managed to get place to stand near the entrance. As the train gained momentum, it grew chiller. My fingers had turned numb due to the extreme cold. The sound of the diesel engine, was music to my ears. 

We alighted at Valsad station at 08:31 AM and then headed out to have some breakfast in the form of Poha and Wada. Gulped it down with a cup of hot tea. 
View from Parnera Hill
There are two ways of reaching Parnera Fort in Atul. Either we travel via a shared rickshaw from the Chauraha (crossroad or intersection of four roads). The second way is to travel by train. Atul is a small rail station before Valsad, when travelling from Vasai. As it is not the main station, only passenger trains halt here. The frequency of the passenger trains is poor so we decided to travel to Atul by the shared rickshaw. If you alight at Atul, then you can either walk it out or board a shared rickshaw to reach the Parnera Hill base. 
Fathima and Me at Parnera Fort
The rickshaw traveled via the Mumbai Ahmedabad Highway.We had already instructed the rickshaw driver to alight us somewhere near the Parnera Fort premises. We alighted us outside Parnera village. The base village to Parnera fort. The shared rickshaw charges cost us Rs.30 for two.
Cannons at Parnera Hill

We then asked the locals for directions in Parnera village and finally reached the stairs that would reach us to the top. There are two cannons here. But they are buried face down and painted yellow. Not sure why. I guess it is to make the start of a long climb.
The climb is taxing and it will test your stamina and also your leg muscles. There is shade so that the sun doesn't beat you down. After taking two halts we were finally atop the Parnera Hill.
But where is the fort, I asked myself on seeing the temple ahead of me. 
Ruins at Parnera Hill
The steps led us to the Rameshwar Mahadev Temple atop the Hill. Now the temple structure looks new. Not sure if the old historic temple has been replaced by this new one. 
Fortification at Parnera Fort

The Parnera Hill offers a wonderful view of the surrounding. We could even see the train going to Valsad. But as we were so high up, the train was so small in size. I am not sure if the photo I have taken with my phone can be zoomed in to get a  clearer view of the fort. 
Ruins at Parnera Hill
We finally managed to see some fortification, around some part of the Parnera Hill. This is the Parnera Fort. There are a couple of ruins atop the fort premises too.

Refreshments are available here. Restrooms are available  too, so no need to carry excessive baggage on back and in the bladders. LOL.
Water Tanks at Parnera Fort

There are three cannons also piled up in a corner of the fort. 

There are a couple of water tanks on the fort premises. Not sure if the water in them is portable or not. Water flowers were growing in it. 
Temple atop Parnera Fort

Again a couple of idiots have written their names on the walls of the fort. Spoiling the beauty of this historic structure. 
Fortification of Parnera Fort

There are two ways of reaching the fort premises, one is from Valsad and the other is from Atul Rail station. Both ways will take the same amount of time to reach the top.
Entrance to Parnera Fort
Fortification of Parnera Fort
Parnera Fort was built by Shivaji Maharaj. There are a couple of other temples atop the premises. But the signboards were in Gujarathi. Don't know to read it. There is also a 'PIR' of Chand Pir Baba.
Fortification of Parnera Fort
Information on Parnera Fort
We got down, the Atul route as we had to board a shared rickshaw to Kille Pardi in Pardi.

Naldurg fort in Osmanabad district of Maharashtra

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Naldurg fort in Osmanabad from a distance
We left from Govt guest house to visit the fort around 7AM. We were at the fort premises around 730 AM. Parked the car near the police station and walked to the main entrance of the fort.

Entrance to Naldurg fort in Osmanabad

Fortification of Naldurg fort in Osmanabad
At certain places the fort has multiple levels of fortification like Solapur fort and Vijaydurg fort. The fort was are in good condition. Restoration work is being carried on the fort premises by the govt. 
There are around 25 houses here. They have been here for the last 400 years. 

History of Naldurg fort in Osmanabad

One of the Darwaza at Naldurg fort in Osmanabad
There are plenty of monuments on the fort. The names of which are missing.

It took us more than 2 hours to see it. Then came the rains and we got lost on the fort. We didn't have rain wear for protection either.

The bastions on the fort are huge and offer amazing view of the area around.similar to the bastions at Raigad fort.

Cannons at Naldurg fort in Osmanabad
Structures within Naldurg fort in Osmanabad
One can walk on the broad walls of the fort to see it from the inside and outside. 

For the monuments one has to walk to them and they are far away from each other

Structures within Naldurg fort in Osmanabad

Structures within Naldurg fort in Osmanabad
Grafitti on the monuments only shows that ignorant people have visited the fort.

Structures within Naldurg fort in Osmanabad

Two levels of  fortification at Naldurg fort in Osmanabad
There are many monuments in ruins here.

There is a Masjid there , it is in service and hence locked to general public. A couple of other monuments are also under lock and key.

Fortification of Naldurg fort in Osmanabad
Structures within Naldurg fort in Osmanabad
They are many water bodies here, not natural but created.
There is a natural lake also, which is currently re worked upon by the govt to plans to make this place a tourist destination. Like Lohgad fort.

Structures within Naldurg fort in Osmanabad

Waterbody with dam within Naldurg fort in Osmanabad
There is also a dam built on the lake. The dam is multi purpose and has rooms within them. We didn't go in them as it smelled bad as they were inhabited by bats.

Structures within Naldurg fort in Osmanabad
Structures within Naldurg fort in Osmanabad

The fortification reminded me of my trip to Sindhudurg, Vijaydurg and Murud Janjira.

Structures within Naldurg fort in Osmanabad
More cannons at Naldurg fort in Osmanabad

Structures within Naldurg fort in Osmanabad
Due to the cloudy weather the photos were dull. We didn't break a sweat either due to the fantastic weather.

Structures within Naldurg fort in Osmanabad
Structures within Naldurg fort in Osmanabad

Now on our way back to Mumbai. We started the journey at 1030 from Naldurg. Crossed Solapur at 11:25 AM, as we are travelling on the highway.

Structures within Naldurg fort in Osmanabad

Structures within Naldurg fort in Osmanabad
The toll ate up most of our money. I hate paying tolls, but for such a good road it was worth paying. We managed to cover 11 places inclusive of everything in 4k.

Dam Structure within Naldurg fort in Osmanabad

Fortification of Naldurg fort in Osmanabad

Fortification of Naldurg fort in Osmanabad

Paranda Fort and Dharashiv caves are also located in Osmanabad district of Maharashtra.

NOTE: Please click on the words in large font in the blog to read about them.  

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