Harishchandragadh - Trekker's Wonderland

Harishchandragadh is a beautiful hill fort in the Ahmednagar district of India. It is also called as Trekkers Paradise/ Fairy tale trek which makes it a popular trekking destination in the Sahyadris of Maharashtra. 

It is an ancient fort from the Medieval period where the Great sage Changdev (Writer of the epic Tatvasaar), used to meditate in the 14th century. 

Situated at a distance of approximately 90km from Kaylan and 165Kms from Pune, Harishchandragadh trek is one of the most challenging treks in the Western Ghats.

The fort mountain along with, TOLAR KHIND, MALSHEJ GHAT offers a lot for trekkers. The main attraction here is the KONKAN KADA which offers a spectacular view of Konkan.

This quaint sleepy region’s scenic beauty and alluring charm will leave you awestruck
One can reach harishchandragadh fort via 3 routes (previously there were 7 routes but few are closed down now)

3 routes are

1) Pachnai

Pachnai is name of a village, reachable through local or private transport. Harishchandragadh is 3kms from Pachnai.
harishchandragadh via Pachnai is a beautiful trek surrounded by mountain and in monsoon you can get visual of five falls from base. On this way there is a small beautiful  pond. Trek is easy via Pachnai

2) Nalichi Vaat

One such route via Nalichi Vaat (which translates to ‘passage through a gorge’) is a channel that lies to the extreme right of the mountain. It is the most difficult path to the top. Popular among climbers and experienced trekkers, Nalichi Vaat involves a near 80 degree climb, involving steep rock patches. The trail begins on a stream bed filled with large man-sized rocks and eventually leads to the foot of the gorge.

3) Khireshwar

Would like to provide a detailed description of this route
I along with my 3 friends took this trek with Adventure Club Pune via Khireshwar Route.

Group travels are always good, glad to meet joyous souls who made the trek more exciting.

Hill Fort Height: 4710 ft.
Grade: Medium
Difficult level : Medium.
Endurance level : High.
Category : Trekking .
Duration : 01 Night / 01 Day

We started from Sivaji nagar Pune, at 11:00PM and reached the base village by Early Morning 3 AM.

After freshening up and morning tea we started with our trek at 3:30AM, it was deep dark and walk was mainly headed by our faith on the guides, torch light struggled in rain trying to help us and fight darkness, foot-steps landed on assumptions.

We walked straight to Tolar Khind, . Walking a few minutes from Tolar Khind, we come across a rock-patch on which railings are fixed. 

Rocky patches were the tricky part, if a step is missed, we will fall in the deep valley, continuous rains and climbing the slippery rocky patches where nothing seems to be visible,  this was something we never thought this trek will bring us, railings were of no use (I learnt a little thing about human mind here : we all climbed those risky slippery rocky patches in rain where nothing was visible, while returning back when we encountered the same rocky patches, everyone was scared to descend down, all of us had 1 question ‘how the hell did we climbed this at night?, it's our mind that control us).

After ascending the railings, we come to the plateau region on which less dense forests are seen. From here, we have to cross 7 hills and after a walk of 2–3 hours, we reach the temple of Harishchandreshwar, the temple of Lord Shiva.                                                                                                        
Temple of Harishchandreshwar

Harishchandreshwar  temple is beautifully carved out of a single huge rock. It has marvelous sculptures carved out of stones that prevailed in ancient India. It is about 16 m high from its base. Around this temple there a few caves and ancient water tanks. There are entrances from all four sides. On the main entrance there are sculptures of faces of the temple guards.

Towards the right of Harishchandreshwar temple, there is the huge cave of Kedareshwar, way to reach to the cave is little risky in monsoons as a huge stream flows across the way.

Somehow we gathered all our courage to reach there. In the cave is a big Shiva Linga, which is completely surrounded by water. Its height from the base is five feet, and the water is waist-deep. 

It is quite difficult to reach the Shiva Linga because the water is ice-cold. There are sculptures carved out in the cave. There is a huge rock above the Shiva Linga. There were four pillars built around the Shiva Linga to support the cave, 3 out of 4 pillars are broken, it is said that world will come to an end if the 4th pillar breaks

The Caves

After Shiv Linga darshan we had delicious poha and chai in the caves, 

These caves are spread out all over the fort, we choose a cave near a waterfall. After breakfast we headed towards Konkan kada.

Konkan Kada

It took 1.5 hours for us to reach Konkan kada from caves

This cliff faces west and looks down upon the Konkan. A paranomic view of malshej ghats and mounts can be seen from here, during monsoons one can experience reverse waterfall at extreme left of the cliff.

It took 14 hours of trek for us to complete Harishchandragadh (obviously including few breaks in between), we started at 3:30 AM and returned back to the base village by 4:00PM

A ride to Malshej ghats was cherry on top for the day.


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