“When summer starts in India, it almost kills the desire of travelling”, my friend said. Is that so? Is the sun too bright to stop me from chasing my dreams and keep me away from my beloved Sahyadris, I questioned myself? I wanted to find out the answer. I planned to organize a group trip and to my surprise, people who enrolled themselves for a new experience were as excited as I was. While the city was asleep in the restlessness of summery nights, a group of 15 enthusiasts began their journey to a new adventure “Vasota Fort jungle trek”.
Boat ride for Vasota Fort Jungle Trek
15 enthusiasts trekkers
So where exactly is this Vasota Fort Jungle Trek? Located around 140 kms south of Pune, in the Satara district, Vasota is a Fort located near to the Bamnoli village. Also known as Vyaghragad, Vasota Fort is the part of Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary and is one of the most popular jungle treks in and around Maharashtra. Standing at an elevation of around 3800 feet, Vasota offers awe-inspiring views of the Koyna backwaters and the wildlife sanctuary.
Koyna river as seen from Vasota Fort top
How to reach Vasota Fort Jungle trek
Vasota Fort’s base village Bamnoli is located around 160 kms from Pune and 300 kms from Mumbai. Mumbai and Pune are well connected to other parts of the country by railways and roadways. From Mumbai/ Pune, one can catch a direct bus for Satara from where the base village Bamnoli is 40 kms. Direct buses do operate between Satara and Bamnoli village (INR 50) (6 am, 8 am, 9 am and so on). The route passes through the famous Kaas Plateau. From Bamnoli, one needs to take a boat to reach the start point of the Vasota Fort Jungle Trek.
Also, you can hire a bike from Pune (INR 300-400) and explore Vasota Fort on a day trip from Pune. For bike rentals, you can compare prices at various bikes rental websites like Royal Brothers, wheelstreet, sabrentkaro, and rentrip. Remember, you would have to start very early from Pune so as to reach the base village by 8-9 am.
On way to Bamnoli village from Satara
Boat ride details for Vasota Fort
From Bamnoli village, one needs to take a boat ride to cross the Koyna River and reach the base of Vasota Fort. The boat ride will cost INR 3540, which is the default rate for 1-12 persons. So make sure you go in a larger group. Also, if you aren’t a big group, look for other groups who are doing bookings at the office there and ask if they can accommodate you. There is hotel Jai Bhiravnath at Bamnoli; you can do bookings there as well.
The boat at Koyna river Bamnoli
One would also need to pay INR 30 as entry fees to the sanctuary, Boat parking Fee: INR 150(for the whole group), Guide fee (INR 200 for the whole group), Tiger Fee (INR 100 for the whole group) and Camera Fee (INR 50 per camera). The same will be taken before starting the boat ride at the government office there. Remember the office closes at 11:00 am.
Boat rides happen at regular interval starting from 8:30 am and the boat takes around 1 hour to reach the base of the Vasota Fort. The Helmsman is also your guide for the trek.
Difficulty level of Vasota Fort Jungle Trek
I would rate Vasota Fort jungle trek as an easy level trek in terms of difficulty. Vasota fort trek is approx. 6 kms one way and it takes around 2 hours to reach the top of the fort. There aren’t many steep patches, it is a gradual climb through the dense forest cover, so trekking in hot summers won’t be a problem as well. I would highly recommend the trek to the beginners.
Helping each other at Vasota Fort Jungle Trek
My journey to Vasota Jungle trek
Doesn’t it really excite you when you hear of a jungle trek? Walking in the dense jungle would be a lifetime dream for so many of you. Isn’t it? For me, it definitely is. I always love to watch the guy Bear Grylls on the discovery channel, wandering in those dense jungles and finding out ways of survival. I always wonder if I would be lucky enough to experience something similar.
Koyna Wildlife sanctuary
With having some similar experience on my jungle trek to Andharban, I was looking for other jungle treks. I had heard of the Vasota Fort jungle trek earlier but unfortunately couldn’t visit it on my trip to explore Satara. On that trip, when I reached the base village, I got to know that I will have to book an entire boat for myself since there weren’t other trekkers on that particular day.
That hunger to visit the Vasota Fort was still in my dreamy nights. I wondered why I shouldn’t organize a trek to the Vasota Fort. And thus the journey of the enthusiastic 15 began at 3:00 am in the dead of the summery night of 23rd March. We took a private vehicle from Pune and reached the Bamnoli village by 7:30 am.
Trekkers for Vasota Fort Jungle Trek
Bats flying at Bamnoli Vasota Fort Jungle Trek base village
After having some refreshments, we started our boat ride around 8:30 am. The water of the Koyna River was very clean and I was enjoying putting hands into the water. It was surprising to see the surroundings so green at this time of the year. During the one-hour boat ride, we played dumb charades. It was as if we were not a group of strangers but a group of people who knew each other from long.
The boat ride amidst beautiful surroundings
We began with the trek around 10:00 am. At the start, you will find a forest department office where you need to show the payment receipt. Also, a counting of plastics being carried along will be done and a security deposit will be taken. The deposit will only be returned if the plastic count is the same on your return. I really loved this initiative because it’s disheartening to see people throwing so much plastic on the other treks.
Clean jungle of Vasota
The trek passes through dense jungles and even though it was a hot day, it didn’t seem so. Sunlight could barely pass through that dense forest cover. We were enjoying each other’s company, sharing experiences of our other treks. Time passed by so quickly and within around 2 hours, we made it to the top.
Trekking at Vasota Fort Jungle Trek
At Vasota Fort Top
The fort is mostly in ruins. It comprises of three main sections – Old Fort, New Fort and Nageshwar cave temple. There is a temple of Lord Hanuman at the entrance. The other point of interest is Babu Kada which is a huge U shaped cliff that lies next to the Vasota Fort. From this point, one can view the Old Vasota Fort which is closed for trekkers due to the presence of wild animals.
Temple at Vasota Fort top
View of surrounding regions from the top
One can combine trekking to Vasota Fort top with Nageshwar cave trek. The cave is carved in the pinnacle with Mahadev temple inside. It is clearly visible from the Vasota Fort. It needs around 2 more hours to trek to Nageshwar Cave from the fort. With the group being large, it wasn’t possible for me to cover both.
Happy me at Vasota fort Trek
We enjoyed the views of the surrounding regions from the top, clicked some photographs and shared the refreshments with each other. We were all set to start with the descend as we needed to be back to the base before 4:00 PM. On the return journey, I learned how to ride the boat and almost drove it for half of the distance. Taking a dip in Koyna backwaters was so refreshing and a great way to end yet another exciting trip.
Sunset view at Bamnoli Village
Food and stay options on Vasota Fort jungle Trek
There aren’t any food options available during the trek at Vasota Fort. So make sure you carry all eatables and enough of drinking water along with you. At the base village, there are few hotels which provide basic refreshments and local food. You can try out Hotel Jai Bhiravnath.
Camping at Vasota is not allowed. You can camp at the Bamnoli at the ferry starting point beside the river. Hotel Jai Bhiravnath also has an accommodation option, so you can check with them (Contact number: Sri Dhanaji 9421216232, 8390716232).
Camping at Bamnoli Village
The tent that I carry during the treks is Quechua Arpenaz 2 Tent. It has enough space for 2 people.
Best time to visit Vasota Fort jungle Trek
The trek remains closed from mid-June to mid-October. Though I visited the Vasota Trek in summer months, I can pretty much feel how amazing it would be to trek just after the monsoon i.e. October to December. Summers aren’t a bad time either to visit Vasota fort as the surroundings remain green throughout the year.
Koyna river as seen from Vasota Fort top
Vasota Fort Jungle Trek start point
So finally the dream of trekking through the dense jungles of Koyna wildlife sanctuary was fulfilled. I am still wondering how beautiful it would be just after the monsoon season. I am surely visiting the place again later this year. Want to join me for the same, comment below.
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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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