Sunday, 24 February 2013

Trek to Visapur Fort (via Patan Village)

Difficulty Rating: Easy to Medium
Height: 3556 ft
Best Time to visit: Throughout the year
Perennial Water Source at the top
Per head cost- 150 INR (Dadar to Dadar)

Visapur Fort lies in Maval (मावळ) region of Maharshtra, part of Sahyadri Mountain Range (सह्याद्री). Built at the height of 3556 ft. above sea level, it is at a greater height than its twin Fort Lohagad (लोहगड), which also share the same plateau. Nearest Railway station is Malavli (मळवली), which is 2.5 Km from Pune city (पुणे). 

With the advent of Semester 6, it was time for a short trek and Visapur Fort was on top of the to-do list. It was my first trek with my junior at SAKEC, Anurag Muley, an Electronics addict and a Mountain Lover. We were a group of 7 ETRX student's of SAKEC (ISTE SAKEC, to be specific). 

We boarded Mumbai-Pune Intercity Express from Dadar at 6.58AM. The general compartment was crowded as usual, so we had no choice but to stand throughout the journey. The girls Jill, Gauri & Suchitra, however managed to find "a" seat till Kalyan. We reached Lonavala at 8.50 AM and waited for the Pune Local train. Train arrived at 9.5  AM and dropped us at next station, Malavli, at 9.45 AM and we started towards the Pune side exit towards Right.

There are 3 routes to reach the top, first via Lohagad-Visapur col a.k.a Gaimukh Khind (गायमुख), second via Patan village and the third route originates near Bhaje Caves (भाजे). I had earlier done a survey of all the three routes and the one via Patan village was excellent of them all. We took the immediate tar road that goes all the way up to the Lohagad base; but for Patan (पाटण) Village get down from the Malavli flyover (Above Pune-Mumbai Express Highway) and take the bywalk to the left. We followed this road right up to the village and started climbing the small hill, keeping Patan Village to our left. There are many small trails throughout this knoll and finding the correct route can be quite perplexing. These are made by the villagers who visit this place for collecting wood during summer. We managed to find the path out of this mess and reached the plateau to catch the first view of Visapur Fort.

Visapur fort in the Background
In the photo (Left to Right): Gauri Patil, Suchitra Basak, Anurag Muley, Yash Savla, Jill Vira & Deep Murarka

This carving is near the entrance of fort

This carving is at the top of the fort
The above trail (which you can see behind my friends) goes through the small forest patch and a small dried-up waterfall. After 15-20 minutes of trotting, this trail bifurcates. Take right to reach Visapur Fort. Take left to reach Bhaat-Rashi Range, Lohagad Fort or another entrance of Visapur Fort. Having spent quite some time at the dried-up waterfall, we came across the (broken) stairway which took us right to the entrance of the fort. The existence of two doors (महा दरवाजा) can be spotted in devastated state at the start and the end of this long stairway.

Water from the tanks to the immediate right was quite quenching and after filling our water bottles we sat down under a tree for lunch.

After filling our tummies, we set out to explore the fort. We came across two standing structures and many water cisterns, both filled as well as dry. To the corner lies a 5-6 ft. long cannon. Some blogs say it was 10 ft. long but no, it was merely 5-6 ft. We walked along the fort walls, enjoying the scenery of Lohagad Fort, and the beauty of Visapur's fortification. After 10-15 min. of walking we found a huge (जात) and many water tanks nearby.

The Fort has very less amount of buildings standing but you would find water tanks every minute distance away. Technically, the number of lakes, ponds, cisterns on this Fort reflects the amount of population that used to strive here. Also the expanse of the Fort is too huge to be covered in a single day. Literally, we started our descend at 5.00 PM while still some part of Fort was left to be explored.

The backside of Visapur holds a marvellous view of Tikona, Tung and Pawna Dam. The Forest which lies here is very alluring but time didn't permit us to visit it. But while returning, we did managed to find the second cannon near the entrance of the fort. The thick bushes had hidden it, not allowing to spot it from a distance.

It was almost 6.30 PM when we reached Malavli station, and we were right on time to catch the 6.30 PM local train to Lonavala station. At lonavala, the crowded Pune-Mumbai Intercity was waiting on the platform. Without any second thought we boarded it and managed to find a place to stand. 

This time it was a different trekking experience with ISTE SAKEC Council. It was quite an adventure and we all loved it.

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