Into the Sahyadris: Ghangad Trek

08:46:00 Charles Wood 0 Comments

Ghangad is a 300 year old fort located about 30 kms from Lonavala in Maharashtra. The fort is famous for a slab of rock that has fallen form one side of the mountain and it still rests against the mountain, creating a cave like structure. The fort was recently renovated in 2011.

[table color="theme1"]
[row] [col]Location[/col] [col]Lonavala, Maharashtra[/col] [/row]
[row] [col]Base Village[/col] [col]Ekole[/col] [/row]
[row] [col]Height[/col] [col]3000 ft[/col] [/row]
[row] [col]Difficulty Level[/col] [col]3/5[/col] [/row]
[row] [col]Duration[/col] [col]2 Hrs[/col] [/row]
[row] [col]Season[/col] [col]Summer / Winter[/col] [/row]

[item title="History"]
There's very less documentation of the history of this fort. The fort was used for keeping prisoners. It was also used as a watchtower to keep a watch on the trade route from Pune to Konkan. The Marathas ruled this fort till 1818. The fort was surrendered to the British forces after the fall of Korigad on 17-March-1818.

[item title="How to Reach"]
By Train: Reach Lonavala station on the Central Railway Line. Take a Bus to Bhaburde village. The base village is called Ekole which is 20 mins away from Bhaburde. You will have to walk this distance on a mud track.
By Car: Reach Lonavala and proceed towards Aamby Valley. Take a right at the Y junction, the straight leads you to Aamby Valley. Continue on this path till you cross the Salter lake. You should reach Ekole village in about an hour. The road between Salter Lake and Ekole village is in poor condition.[/item]

[item title="The Trek"]
The Trek starts from the Ekole village. There is a trail running parallel to a fenced property which takes you to the fort. The start of the trail is right at the start of the village and perpendicular to the road that brings you to the Ekole. The initial 10 minutes are a gradual climb. You reach a temple halfway from the village to the fort. There is a board which mentions the history of the ghangad fort here. 

There is a trail next to the temple that takes you to a gate which is in ruins. This is the entrance to the fort and it takes about half an hour to reach here from the temple. The gate leads you to a cave which can house upto 40 people. Towards the right side of the cave you have a flat surface which is a good spot for camping. To the extreme right of the fort is huge slab of stone resting against the mountain. 

There is a ladder towards the left side of the cave which takes you to a trail that in turn takes you to the top of the fort. The ladder has been installed recently, the only way up otherwise was to climb with the help of a rope. The last part of the ladder is tricky, as there is a narrow foothold with space only to keep the front part of your foot. 

An exposed trail continues from here that takes you to the top. You will find several water cisterns here. There are steel ropes attached to the side of the wall of the mountains which aid you in climbing up. One has to be very careful on this part.

[item title="View from the top"]
View from the top
The Ghangad summit offers amazing panoramic views of the raw and rugged terrain of the Sahyadris. You can easily see twin walls of Teil-Baila, Sudhagad and Sarasgad. The Mulshi lake can be seen too along with a some deep valleys around. 


[item title="Things to note"]
Ghangad is an offbeat trek and is not commercialized. There are no hotels at the base village, however the villagers can arrange for food and night stay at reasonable rates. There are water cisterns available on top but the water may not be potable during winters and summers. There's enough space for camping near the main door of the fort. The way to the top of the fort is exposed but there are ropes bolted to the wall of the mountain for safety.


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