For a moment it was cloudy, windy and foggy with almost zero visibility, the other moment sky cleared up, the fog vanished and it left behind some astonishing views of the lush green Sahyadris. This is exactly what I experienced on my recently concluded trip to the Ghangad Fort Trek. What made the experience even more delightful was that I had the entire fort to myself. All the memories of Tung Fort Trek flashbacked where I experienced the same in the previous monsoon.
Breathtaking scenes as seen from Ghangad Fort top
The monsoons are in full swing and it is that time of the year when it feels like the sky is touching down on the earth. The fog has completely engulfed most of the towns near Pune & Mumbai. Lonavala is flooded with tourists and so are the popular fort treks like Lohagad Fort, Rajmachi Fort, Tikona Fort and Visapur Fort trek.
Waterfall in Lonavala as seen en-route to Ghangad Fort trek
So are you the one who is looking for a less crowded fort trek where you can immerse yourself completely in the exquisite beauty of nature without getting distracted from the huge crowds. Ghangad Fort, a lesser known fort located some 35 kms from the touristy town of Lonavala can be the perfect option to beat the crowds and enjoy some breathtaking views of the Sahyadris.
Views from Ghangad Fort
Ghangad Fort is around 400 years old and it is believed that it was used by the Peshwas to keep the prisoners. From the top of the fort i.e. Balekilla, one can enjoy astonishing views of the Mulshi dam, Korigad Fort, Tailbaila and Siddhagad fort. The fort is easily accessible from Pune and Mumbai, hence can be a great option for your weekend getaway.
Tail Baila as seen from Ghangad Fort
How to reach Ghangad Fort trek from Pune/Mumbai
The cheapest and the convenient way to reach the Ghangad Fort trek is via railways. The nearest rail-head to Ghangad Fort is Lonavala Railway station (approx. 35 kms) which is well connected to other parts of the country.
From Lonavala, reaching Ghangad using public transport is a bit challenging as there is no direct transport available to the fort. From Lonavala bus stand, you can catch a local bus for Bhamburde village (33 kms) after which one would need to walk for 20-25 minutes (1.8 kms) to reach the Ekole village (base village of Ghangad fort).
- Lonavala to Bhamburde village bus timings: 9.00 am and 12.30 pm
- Bhamburde Village to Lonavala: The last bus at 2.30 pm; don’t miss this bus as there are no transports available after this bus. (timings may vary, check at Lonavala bus stand)
Foggy conditions at Aamby valley road
What I will suggest is to hire a bike from Lonavala/Pune/Mumbai (INR 300-400) and explore Ghangad Fort on a road trip as the landscape views all along the routes are spectacular. Put Ekole on GMaps to reach the base village. Diving on the curvy roads of Lonavala and Aamby Valley is an experience in itself, the views en-route are just astonishing. Also, the road condition is pretty decent excluding one or two rough patches.
Clouds as seen from Lions point near Lonavala
Difficulty level of Ghangad Fort Trek
I would rate Ghangad Fort trek as an easy to moderate trek in terms of difficulty. I am just saying it moderately as one or two parts of the climb are quite tricky. The hike would not take more than 30-40 minutes one way. The trail is well marked till the top so taking a guide isn’t compulsory. Also, Gmaps has Ghangad Trail marked. A ladder has been installed at one of the patches, so be careful while climbing that. During the monsoon, few patches can become slippery so please take extra care.
Ladder to climb Bale Killa Ghangad Fort
My journey to Ghangad Fort Trek
Every year as the monsoon arrives, GMaps becomes my trek partner!! I am constantly looking into GMaps, zooming in and out a dozen times, in hope of finding a new place. And I am never left disappointed. This time my eyes glued to a place called Ghangad Fort while I was looking at Lonavala – Aamby valley region on GMaps.
En-route to Ghangad Fort Trek
Thanks to Google, there is mostly some information available about a specific place and probably that’s enough for me. People do ask me that without knowing the trail, how I manage to reach the top. I guess it’s all about experience and will to do something😃Abhi!! “Bakwas band kar, trek k bare mai bata”. Oops, Ha-ha!!
Clouds so low as seen from Ghangad Fort
I along with one of my friend started from Pune around 10:00 am. We took the Lonavala – Aamby Valley route as the road conditions are really good. The weather was very pleasant all along the way. While taking a tea break at Lion’s Point in Lonavala, we were left stunned. We could see the milky clouds in the valley beneath. The waterfalls in the vicinity added more joy to the views. Uff, I can’t describe it in words.
Breathtaking scenes at Lions point Lonavala
It started raining heavily but we decided not to wait and continue with the journey. Riding on beautiful and foggy roads that lead to Aamby valley was so much fun. It took around an hour from Lonavala to reach the base Village “Ekole”. To our surprise, the place was dead silent and we could just hear the voice of the rain droplets.
Parking area Ghangad Fort Trek
We enjoyed the tea and Maggi at the only dhaba which was open in the village. The trail from the village is easily recognizable and one could see the Fort top from the base village. The initial trail passes through a muddy route with fencing on one side. Going further ahead, one would pass through dense forest cover until you reach a temple. Take the left side trail from there.
Start of Ghangad fort trek – passing through railing section
Temple on Ghangad fort trek
After a few minutes, you will reach the Fort entrance where there is a cave, a fallen rock with a triangular structure and a ladder is installed to climb the Bale-Killa. Please take utmost precaution while climbing this ladder, especially in the monsoon season when it gets slippery. There is one more tough patch to climb after this, but iron ropes have been installed for assistance. Make sure you always keep a hold on to them.
Stone Route Ghangad fort trek
Jungle Route Ghangad fort trek
It took us around 30 minutes to reach the top from the base. It was very foggy at the top, and we couldn’t see the surroundings. I had a gut feeling that it would clear up soon, so I waited. Soon the fog started clearing up and we could see the clouds moving at a brisk pace. The fog was gone and what we were seeing from our eyes was unimaginable, the nature at its best.
Views from Ghangad Fort
The views of the deep green valleys beneath were fabulous. I could see Mulshi dam, Korigad Fort, Tailbaila and Siddhagad fort at a distance. There was no one on the fort, and hence I loved the peacefulness of the surroundings.
Apart from the surrounding views, there is nothing much to see on the Fort. Don’t miss visiting the col and cave at the backside of Ghangad. After spending an hour or so at the top, we began with the descend. It took us around 30 minutes or so to reach the base village.
Triangular Rock Cave at Ghangad Fort
Stay and food options at Ghangad Fort trek
Villagers of Ekole do provide homestay and camping facility which you can book once you reach there. There is no stay option on the Ghangad Fort. In case, if it has gone dark while you are descending, you can take shelter in the cave in order to avoid any risk. Also, there are few spaces where one can also pitch a tent. Remember, pitching a tent would be really hard in the monsoon season due to continuous heavy winds.
Ekole base village Ghangad Fort Trek
The tent that I carry during the treks is Quechua Arpenaz 2 Tent. It has enough space for 2 people.
There isn’t much food option at the Ghangad Fort, hence will recommend you to carry all the eatables along with you. Also, carry an ample amount of water with you. Villagers do provide local food, so you can give it a try.
Enjoying corn enroute to Ghangad Fort Trek
Best time to visit Ghangad Fort
Undoubtedly, the rainy months of July, August and September is the best time to visit the Ghangad Fort as the surroundings are lush green and the weather is extremely pleasant. But remember, for the most part of the day the surroundings may not be visible from the fort due to the heavy fog.
October to February will be the perfect time to visit Ghangad Fort if you looking to have a glimpse of nearby regions. I was very lucky enough to experience both aspects of weather (clear and foggy) on my visit to Ghangad Fort in the monsoon season.
Foggy conditions at Ghangad
Glaring at Sahyadris from Ghangad Fort top
The entire journey from Pune to Ghangad and back turned out to be extremely delightful. The milky clouds at Lion’s point, the foggy roads of Aamby Valley, Corn and Maggi at Lonavala, lush green Sahyadris view from Ghangad Fort top, the triangular cave and the heavy rainfall, I couldn’t have asked for much in a days’ time. I hope I will return soon to this place in another season, maybe for star gazing!!!
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Are you looking for some essential travel gear? Check out my blog post on What’s in my Backpack.
Looking for more weekend gateway options near Pune and Mumbai? Check out these blog posts:
- A cycle trip to Lavasa city from Pune (INR 100)
- Andharban jungle and Devkund Waterfall Trek – Time to get lost in the dense forest
- Satara – A road trip to the Maharashtra’s Valley of Flowers from Pune (INR 800)
- Tikona Fort Trek and Pawna Lake – One day trip near Pune (INR 250)
- A two-day trip to Torna Fort and Madhe Ghat Waterfall(INR 400)
- Matheran – Asia’s only automobile free hill station
- Daman – A Glimpse of Portugal Heritage
- A road trip to Harihareshwar, Shrivardhan and Diveagar Beach from Pune (INR 1200)
- Kalsubai Peak – Trek to the highest peak of Maharashtra (INR 600)
- Korigad Fort Trek – Exciting one day trek near Pune Mumbai (INR 300)
- Bendewadi, Laalwadi and Jagtap waterfalls – Go get lost in the land of waterfalls!! (INR 300)
- Experience the sunrise from Lohagad Fort near Pune/Mumbai (INR 150)
- Visapur Fort Trek – Thrilling one day trek near Pune Mumbai (INR 200)
- Rajmachi Fort Trek, adventurous one day trip near Mumbai and Pune (INR 350)
- 12-hours monsoon road trip exploring Tamhini Ghat (INR 300)
- An exciting road trip to Purandar Fort from Pune (INR 300)
- Tung Fort Trek – A journey through the clouds (INR 250)
- Nashik City – An exciting two day trip from Pune/Mumbai/Surat (INR 1500)
- Rajgad Fort Trek – An exciting one-day trek near Pune/Mumbai (INR 200)
- Katraj to Sinhagad night trek – An exciting trek near Pune (INR 250)
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