Sinhagad (the ‘Lion’s Fort’), sitting majestically in the Bhuleshwar region of the Sahyadri Mountains, is on every Punekar’s must-visit list. Historically speaking, Tanaji Malusare, a general of Chhatrapati Shivaji, fought one of the battles here. “Gad aala, pan Sinha gela” (The Fort is captured, but the Lion is lost) were the remorse words spoken by the King Shivaji when he heard that Tanaji had laid down his life to wrest the fort from the Mughals.
Today, Sinhagad Fort is a popular historical destination and a trekker’s paradise. Let’s explore the Fort and the area around it.
The Geographical location
The Fort is situated around 35 km from Pune in the Bhuleshwar region in the Sahyadri mountains. It is well connected with expressways and arterial roads which can be reached through the bus, car, railway and air.
How to reach Sinhagad Fort?
The route leading to Sinhagad Fort (Donje Village) is via Sanjay Gandhi Road and Sadhu Vaswani Road. However, if you’re travelling from Pune Airport, you will need to take the Vishrantwadi Lohegaon Road.
The Sinhagad Trek is a 17.4 km point-to-point trail. It is frequently used for walking, hiking, mountain biking and backpacking. The trek begins from the Katraj Tunnel Top (old) leading to the top of the Fort.
Your endurance levels will be tested if you’re a beginner! On the way, do not miss out on the views of Rajgad, Torna, and Khadakwasla Dam.
Those who don’t want to break a sweat, can get to the place via car. But where’s the adrenaline rush in that?
Don’t miss the authentic Maharashtrian local food!
After the physical hard work, some lip-smacking food awaits you on the Fort. Locals open their shacks early in the morning offering homemade delicacies. After completing the hike and exploring the Fort, you can stop by for small meals. The unmissable among the fare are Khekda Bhaji (Khekda doesn’t mean there is crab in the ingredients; it’s only in the shape of the pakodas/ fritters), Pithla Bhakri/ Zunka Bhakri (savoury chickpea paste and sorghum bread), Vangyache bharit (spicy eggplant mash), thecha (spicy paste made with fresh green chillies and garlic), and the cool and refreshing Taak (buttermilk).
What are the other activities to do there?
After a fulfilling food break, it’s time to offer a feast to the eyes. There are various spots of historical importance for you to explore around the fort.
1 The Kondeshwar Temple
Find intricate carvings as you pay a visit to the monoliths of Rajaram (Shivaji’s younger son).
2 Samadhi of Tanaji Malusare
Tanaji’s memorial is built here which is also his resting place. He had laid down his life after a gruesome battle with Udebhan Rathod.
3 The Topkhana
‘Toph’ means cannon in Marathi. This was supposedly a storehouse for artillery and cannonballs. The view from the topkhana offers you a gorgeous view of the valley!
4 Khadakwasla Dam
One of the famous picnic spots in Pune, it takes just about 38 minutes to reach the Dam from the Fort.
5 Spring waters of Dev Taake
Dev Taake can be a highlight of your visit to Sinhagad Fort. It’s a natural reserve of spring water that tastes cool and sweet. Do not forget to take a halt here to quench your thirst.
The Punekar Tip: Weekends can get super crowded here, so plan a visit in the early hours of the morning on weekdays.