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Lohagad Fort

Lohagad fort is a formidable fort near Lonavala. Lohagad makes an ideal trekking destination for trekkers from Pune and Mumbai because of its accessibility, ease of the trek and lush green surroundings. This fort is situated on the Sahyadri  ranges and divides the Pawna basin and Indrayani basin. The fort is a part of three forts closely located near one another. Sadly though, the only existing structure is the remains of the Lohagad Fort.

View from Lohagad
View from the Lohagad Fort

History of Lohagad fort

Lohagad has a long history with several dynasties occupying it at different periods of time: Satavahanas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Yadavas, Bahamanis, Nizamshahis, Mughals and Marathas. Lohagad Fort which literally means ‘the Iron fort’ was named after the spiritual leader Lomesh and has got a 2000 year old history attached to it. The fort belongs to the ‘Satwaahan’ period and is believed to be the meditating place of sage Lomesh. There after the fort came under the Bahamani rule who were defeated by the Nizamshahi forces in the year 1489.

The Nizam continued ruling the fort until 1630 and under his reign the fort also served as a prison in the year 1564 CE. After 1630 CE the Mughal emperor, Adilshah gained control over Lohagad before Shivaji Maharaj captured it from him in the year 1648 CE right after he had captured the fort of Torna. Netaji Palkar was given the responsibility of looking after the fort and the adjoining areas.  After capturing it in 1648 CE, Shivaji was forced to surrender it to the Mughals in 1665 CE by the Treaty of Purandar. Shivaji recaptured the fort in 1670 CE and used it for keeping his treasury. This fort was used to keep the loot from Surat. Later in Peshwa time Nana Phadanwis used this fort for living for sometime. The fort has been declared as a protected monument by the government.

Lohagad Fort
An aerial view of the fort

Construction of Lohagad fort

Lohagad is said to be the Military Marvel because of its construction. The path towards the fort is such that one feels that he is walking towards Visapur when he is actually walking towards Lohagad. Designed in such a way that the enemy could see only the fortified walls of Visapur fort inspite of walking towards Lohgad fort provided extra time for the well fortified Lohagad fort to prepare for the battle.

Lohagad fort, elevated at the height of 3,450 feet (1,052 m), has 4 doors to Lohagad from the nearby village Lohagadwadi. From Lohagadwadi, one can enter the fort through any of its four doors- Narayan darwaja, Ganesh darwaja, Maha darwaja and Hanuman darwaja. Of all the darwajas, the Hanuman darwaja is the oldest. The main gate of the fort is known as the ‘Delhi Gate’ because of its beautiful design and it is one of the main attractions of Lohagad. There are three gates one after the other after 'Delhi Gate'. The third gate especially is very exquisite. On entering this third gate one reaches the guard's post. There is provision to position guns here. This gate is constructed in such a way that the gunfire from gates above would reach the enemy at the first gate.

Inside Lohagad fort

There is a huge cave (Laxmi Kothi) outside the fort. This cave would be used for storing grains during the rainy season. There is a tomb here as well as a Shivlinga. Next to that there is a tank of water with sweet taste. On the fort there is one more place where water would be stored for use. This is supposed to have been built by Nanasaheb Phadnis. There is a plaque but the writing cannot be read any more. The peculiar design on the walls of the fort is known as Vindhukata (fangs of a scorpion). On the west side, there is a long and narrow wall-like fortified spur called Vinchukata (Scorpion's tail) because of its shape. This structure juts out from the main section of the fort and requires an additional 15-20 min of walking to reach the edge.

There are several forts which one can spot, prominent amongst them are Tikona, Visapur and Tung. This fort can also be viewed from Mumbai- Pune expressway. At the top, there is vast expanse of land that is mostly flat and some of it high ground. The key highlights out there are Shivaji / Shivji and Hanuman Mandir, Shatkoni talav (Trimbak Talav), 16 koni Talav (hatti talav), Dargah, a domed structure which is the first thing that is seen as the fort is reached.

The top of the fort is quite expansive and offers uninterrupted views in all directions. Another highlight is the reverse waterfall phenomenon. There is a waterfall somewhere down the hill which is not visible, but due to very strong winds, the water changes the direction from below to upwards side and you feel like its raining. This point is behind the dargah on left side en route to VinchuKata.

Lohagad main gate

Trekking at Lohagad

Lohagad is amongst the easiest trek that one can undertake from Pune and Mumbai. Lohagad is one of the few forts ideal for trekking that can be reached by train. Malawli is the nearest railway station from Lohagad and 'Bhaje Gaav' is the base village from where you can start the trek to Lohagad. After reaching to the base of Lohagad Fort, one is sure to be spellbound by the magnificent fort, rising spectacularly into the sky. It looks impregnable and Lohagad means “Iron Fort”, which it really is. Lohagadwadi is the village from where the steps up the Lohagad fort starts. Distance between Malawli and Lohagadwadi can be covered in around 2-2.5 hrs.

The trekking route to Lohagad is easy even when it rains and is an ideal '1st trek experience' with picturesque scenery, lush green grass, cool mountain air, and the pleasant salubrious climate. A variety of birds and insects can also be spotted in these hills. Views of dazzling flora against the backdrop of the Visapur Fort mountain make the trek truly rewarding.

When it rains, the top of the fort is covered with mist and clouds and becomes particularly wet. It is advisable to carry protective gear during the rainy season (mid-June to mid-September).

Trekking at Lohagad

How to reach Lohagad Fort

From Mumbai, you can take a train to Lonavala. Malawli is the next station from Lonavala in the direction towards Pune. There are a number of local trains operating between Lonavala and Pune; you can take any of them. From Pune, you can take any of the local trains.

From the Malawli railway station, the fort is just 9 km away. Vehicles can reach the foot of the hill. From there, which is near a village called Lohagadwadi, there are steps to the fort, numbering approximately 500.

Nearby Places to visit

Karla Caves, Bhaja Caves, Pawna Dam, Visapur Fort, Bhushi Dam

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