From last few weeks, I was wondering that how many forts are there in Maharashtra as I had heard so many names. A bit of Google search to count the number left me surprised. In our entire country (India), there are close to 525 forts out of which 266 forts are in Maharashtra itself. Does this indicate something? Yes, there is so much to explore in the state. 🙂
Torna Fort Trek
From last 3 years, I have been regularly exploring places near Pune and still, I am nowhere close to even one-fourth of them being explored. And that’s the reason I love the city and the state so much. So much to explore!!!
Out of numerous one/two-day trips that I have done in the state, Torna fort trek was one amongst my favorite. And taking a bath at Madhe Ghat Waterfall added more joy to the two-day trip.
On route to Torna Fort Base Village
How to reach Torna Fort base and Madhe Ghat Waterfall
The cheapest way to reach Torna Fort is via railways and roadways. Torna fort is around 210 kms from Mumbai and 50 kms from Pune. Mumbai and Pune are well connected to other parts of the country by railways and roadways.
From Mumbai, one can catch a train or a bus to Pune. From Swargate bus stand(Pune), catch a state transport bus taking route ‘Swargate – Velhe – Ghisar’ and get down at Velhe which is near to the base of Torna fort. It takes around 2 hours to reach the same. For train bookings visit IRCTC and for bus bookings, you can check out MSRTC.
From Torna Fort, Madhe Ghat is around 15 kms. But sadly there is no public transport available. I would suggest you rent a bike from Pune (around 300 INR/per day) to explore these two places.
How to reach Torna Fort and Madhe Ghat from Mumbai -Pune
Torna Fort Trek
Also known as Prachandagad, Torna Fort is highest hill Fort in Pune district standing at an elevation of 1,403 meters. It is a popular destination for trekkers, especially in monsoon and post monsoon season.
A villager near Velhe
I along with my roommate started for Torna from Pune around 2:00 PM. There are mainly 2 routes to reach Torna, one through the villages (Khadakwasla –Sinhagad – Ranjane—Pabe Ghat – Velhe) and other via Pune Bangalore National Highway. We took the village route, as I knew it would be exciting and full of surprises.
The two routes to reach Torna from Pune
Our decision to take the village route was justified by what we witnessed on the route. Lush green valleys, breathtaking landscapes, numerous waterfalls and beautiful lakes throughout the route made the journey so much delightful.
My friend Sugandh Mishra
It took us nearly 2 ½ hours to reach Torna base due to the various stops we took, in order to click pictures of the breathtaking landscapes all along the way.
Breathtaking views on route to Torna Fort base
After having few snacks at the base, we started with our trek. By that time, trekkers had already started descending and they were surprised to see us ascending. Our plan was to stay overnight at the fort, unknowing of the stay options. But as a precautionary measure, we carried a sleeping bag, a tent and some eatables with us.
So much foggy conditions
The way to the top is moderate to difficult. As we were doing this trek in the monsoon, special precautions were needed due to loose rocks and slippery terrain. Also one needs to be careful in order to avoid some overlapping foot trails, which could lead you into some forests nearby.
Valley view Torna fort trek
The initial portion of the trek was easy consisting of flat to gentle climb, till we reached the ridge section. From here the climb ahead was a bit tougher due to the two rock patches which are quite slippery.
Beautiful landscapes as seen from Torna Fort trek
Also, the conditions were quite misty. But the overall beauty you witness all along the trail is worth making an effort. The high-speed wind acts an added advantage that keeps you refreshed.
Torna Fort trek trail
Just after the end of first rock patch, there is a 40 feet waterfall. Do drench yourself under it!! After trekking through the second rock patch, we finally reached the entrance of the fort “Bini Darwaja”. It took us around 1.5 hours from the base to reach the entrance.
Out of words to describe this view
On the fort, one can see various places like Menghai Goddess temple, Budhala Machi, Konkan Darwaja, Zunjar Machi, and Bini Darwaja. But exploring the Torna Fort in monsoon season is difficult due to excessive misty conditions that remain the same for the entire day.
Railings to support climb
Note: The Mobile network is extremely poor at the top. A phone may randomly pick up a signal which would just last for few minutes.
Beautiful landscapes in the backdrop
Stay options at Torna Fort
The trekkers descending told us that we can stay in the Menghai Devi Temple. We had a tent with us but the high-speed winds wouldn’t have allowed us to put the same. The temple can accommodate around 20- 30 people. In our case, we were the only two trekkers out there along with few locals. Remember to carry a lot of insulating material as it gets treacherously cold at night.
Our sleeping arrangement in the Temple
Food options at Torna Fort
At the base of the climb, you can have something to eat at the local shops. Also, remember to carry few eatables along with you.
At the top, in the Menghai Goddess temple, you may find few locals. They generally stay here over the weekends, in order to serve the trekkers and earn money for their livelihood. For us, an old lady made delicious dinner and morning breakfast. We were so delighted by the taste of the food and her services, that we gave her few extra bucks.
Old lady cooking dinner for us
We started our descent next morning around 7 am and reached the base in an hour where our bike was parked. Madhe Ghat waterfall is about half an hour drive from Torna base.
Madhe Ghat Waterfall
The route from Velhe village to the Madhe Ghat is quite scenic. At the start, you come across beautiful Gunjvane Dam to your right. Then the route passes through dense jungles and numerous waterfalls with lush green mountains in the backdrop.
The last one km stretch before the Madhe Ghat waterfalls is in very bad condition, so it’s better to walk to reach the waterfall. After this walk, you come across a flat land which is the top of the fall and you can walk right onto the edge from where the fall begins and drops almost 400 feet into the Shivthar River in Konkan.
In route to Madhe Ghat Waterfall
You can also climb down to the bottom of the fall through a ravine into the valley. It’s a tough ravine to traverse and would recommend keeping kids away from this. The feeling to take a bath in the waterfall cannot be described in words.
Madhe Ghat Waterfall
This two-day weekend gateway was one of the best journeys of my life. From mountains to forts, valleys to jungles, lakes to waterfalls, I saw almost everything 🙂 Staying at top of a mountain for a night was a lifetime experience.
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