It’s foggy and cloudy with zero visibility. Hang-on Abhi!! Can you see the sun rays streaming through the gaps in the clouds? Yeah, they are!! Oh! Now the clouds have started moving and they are flowing across me at a brisk pace. And look at what they have left behind, one of the greenest and beautiful surroundings one could ever see. This is what exactly I experienced on my journey to the Tung Fort Trek.
Tung Fort in the vicinity
Maharashtra is the home to a number of spectacular monsoon destinations, one amongst which is its numerous forts. While a few of these places will treat you with amazing views without making much of an effort, there are some places where one would need to earn their views. Tung fort trek is the perfect example of how nature will bless you with some outstanding view once you reach the top of the fort.
Pawna Dam as seen from Tung Fort Trek
Located around 12 kms from the Malavli station, Tung fort stands at an elevation of approx. 1075 meters. The fort is surrounded by water from three sides. From the top one can enjoy the breathtaking view of the Pawna Dam along with Lohagad, Korigad, Tikona and Visapur Fort in the vicinity. Unlike the other forts in the region, a very little has been said and written about the Tung fort trek. Why???
Tung Fort covered under clouds
How to reach Tung Fort from Pune/Mumbai
The cheapest and the convenient way to reach the Tung fort is via railways. The nearest rail-head to Tung Fort is Lonavala Railway station (approx. 22 kms) which is well connected to other parts of the country.
From Lonavala, reaching Tung fort using public transport is a bit challenging as there is no direct transport available to the fort. You can catch a bus going from Lonavala toward Aamby Valley and get down at Ghusalkhamb village. From Ghusalkhamb village, you will have to walk all the way to Tungwadi (base village of Tung Fort trek), which will take around 1.5 hours (8 kms).
What I will suggest is to hire a bike from Lonavala/Pune/Mumbai (INR 300-400). And explore Tung Fort on a road trip as the landscape views all along the routes are spectacular. Also, the road condition is pretty decent, so it would be fun driving along the curvy roads with lush green surroundings.
Breathtaking scenes en-route to Tung Fort trek
Difficulty level of Tung Fort Trek
I would rate Tung Fort trek as a moderate level trek in terms of difficulty. The fort is also known as Kathingad meaning “difficult fort” due to the difficulty in climbing. Although the hike is not much longer, a few patches are quite steep and they become very slippery especially in the monsoon season.
Steep stair patch on Tung Fort trail
The trail is in a ruined state, loose boulders, narrow steps cut in the rocks and narrow route on the edge of the mountain throughout add to the difficulty while trekking. If you are a beginner in terms of trekking, I would suggest you take an experienced trekker along with you. It generally takes around 1 hour to reach the top from the base and approx. 45 minutes to descend. There have been few sad incidents in the recent past while trekking at the fort, so I would request all the trekkers to be very careful while trekking at the Tung Fort.
Tung Fort trail
My journey to Tung Fort from Pune
With Pune being my city of residence from the last couple of years, I have explored most of the touristy places in and around the city. For the last 2 months, owing to the monsoon season, I have been traveling almost every weekend to explore a new place nearby Pune.
En-route to Tung Fort Trek
It was getting harder and harder for me to find a new destination every time. Last weekend, I was literally zooming in and out on the Gmaps for hours to find a new travel place but had no luck. Suddenly the long pending visit to the Tung Fort trek came to my mind.
Entrance gate at Tung Fort trek
Tung Fort lies in the same region where the other popular forts like Tikona, Lohagad, Visapur, and Korigad Fort lies which I had already visited. Unlike the other forts in the Pawna region, Tung Fort is the least popular among the trekkers. I had no clue what exactly was the reason behind the same. Hence, I decided to have a visit to the fort and find the reason for its unpopularity.
Pawna Dam as seen en-route Tung Fort trek
I started from Pune around 11 am and took the Paud – Hadashi – Chavsar – Tung Fort route. It’s almost the same route to that of Korigad Fort. The entire route is lush green and dozens of waterfalls add to the beauty of the route. Driving on the curvy roads with Pawna Lake and lush green mountains in the background is a moment to cheer about.
Pawna Dam as seen from Tung Fort trek
It generally takes around 2 hours to reach Tung fort from Pune, but due to the various pit stops I took for clicking the pictures, I made it to the Tung Fort in around 3 hours. There is an ample parking space at the start point with a small Hanuman Temple. Kick-start your Tung Fort trek by taking blessings at the Temple!!😃
Foggy conditions at Ballekila Tung Fort
I was very surprised to see no bikes /cars parked at the base though it was a weekend. That was a clear indication that most probably there will be no one on the entire trek. The initial climb starts with a few concrete stairs followed by a gradual ascending trail.
En-route to Tung Fort
After a few minutes of hiking, you will come across steep climbs. Moving ahead, the trail is in the completely ruined state. The loose boulders, narrow steps cut in the rocks and the narrow route passing by the edge of the mountain add to the difficulty while trekking.
The final stretch at Tung Fort
Also, in the monsoon, a stream of water will be flowing all along the trail which makes climbing a bit more challenging. Owing to all these, the amount of people visiting the fort is less when compared to the other forts.
Lush green surroundings as seen from Tung Fort trek
But the views you will experience all along the trail will surely compensate on the difficulty in climbing to the top. The final stretch which takes you to the top is very windy in the monsoon season, so one needs to be extra careful. I made it to the top in an hour or so and yes, the entire fort belonged to me. There was no one!!!
Now comes the best part of my journey. From the top, the surroundings were not visible at all owing to the heavy clouds and fog. With time passing by, I was losing hope of having a glimpse of the lush green surroundings and Pawna dam for at least once.
Cloudy conditions at Tung Fort
Suddenly, from nowhere, crepuscular rays streamed through the gaps in the clouds which apparently caused all the clouds to flow across me leaving behind one of the greenest surroundings I ever saw!! The views were just outstanding. I literally had tears in my eyes!! Tears of happiness to experience such a beauty. It was definitely one of the best moments of my life. The same phenomenon happened a couple of times and I was enjoying every bit of it.
Lush green Tung Fort
Apart from the views, there is nothing much to see on the fort. At the top, there is a temple of Tungi Devi. Just before climbing Ballekilla, there is another temple of Lord Ganesh with a water cistern at the backside.
The fort also has fortified walls, ramparts, a small cave and several bastions which one can explore. After exploring the fort, I happily started descending around 5 pm and made it to the base in around 40 minutes. With all the beautiful memories, I headed back for Pune.
Tungi Devi temple at the top
Stay and food options at Tung Fort trek
As such, there is no stay option at the Tung 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. One can also pitch a tent somewhere near to the top. Remember, pitching a tent would be really hard in the monsoon season due to continuous heavy winds. What I will suggest you is to stay somewhere in Pune/Lonavala/Mumbai and explore Tung Fort on a day trip from these cities.
I didn’t find any food option at the Tung Fort, hence will recommend you to carry all the eatables along with you.
Lush green farms en-route to Tung Fort trek
Pawna Dam en-route to Tung fort
Best time to visit Tung Fort
Undoubtedly, the rainy months of July, August and September is the best time to visit the Tung 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.
Clouds so low en-route to Tung Fort
October to February will be the perfect time to visit Tung fort if you looking to have a glimpse of Pawna Lake and its nearby regions. I was very lucky enough to experience both aspects of weather (clear and foggy) on my visit to Tung Fort in the monsoon season.
Before I started my journey to Tung Fort, I had very little expectations on the beauty of the fort. I was proved wrong by nature!! In fact, it turned out to be one of the best days of my life.
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)
- Garbett Point Trek – An exciting one day trek near Mumbai (INR 350)
Are you looking for some essential travel gear? Check out my blog post on What’s in my Backpack.
Hope you have enjoyed reading this blog post. To get regular updates on upcoming budget blog posts from On a Cheap Trip, please subscribe by entering your name and E-mail address in the Newsletter below. You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest as well as on Twitter.