Harishchandragad is a hill fort in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, India. It lies between the borders of Thane, Pune and
Ahmednagar districts. It comes under Malshej Ghat ranges in western ghats. Its total elevation is about 4665ft. Trek to Harishchandragad is like a treat for trek lover. Harishchandragad has lot more to offer when it comes to trekking as well as exploring the ancient monuments at the same time. During this trail you will surely have an amazing trekking experience which will be one of a kind.
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- Trek distance: 4-5 km each side
- Trek duration: 2 hours each side
- Difficulty level: Moderate
- Base Village : Pachnai, Khireshwar and Belpada/Walhivale
- Nearest Railway Station : Igatpuri
- Nearest Bus Stand : Rajur
Harishchnadragad is a very ancient fort, said to have its origin since 6th century and have some residues of Microlithic man. Harishchandragad has some references in ancient scriptures like Matsyapurana and Skandapurana. The fort includes number of caves carved in 11th century, which depicts various Puranas.
What Harishchandragad Has To Offer :
1.Breathtaking View From Konkankada :
KonkanKada is basically a magnificent wall. It has a concave like structure. Due to such structure, you get to see many natural phenomena like vertical cloud burst and circular rainbow. You will also get astounding view of Konkan region.
Sunset from this point is just marvelous.
2.Sculptural Marvel Harishchandreshwar Temple :
The temple is an architectural marvel it is covered by caves from all the sides. Temple’s structure is inspired from south Indian temples. One of the most amazing things about this temple is that it was carved from a single piece of rock.
3. Mysterious Kedareshwar Cave :
This cave has a massive Shivalinga inside covered with water from all the sides. Besides the Shivalinga there are four pillars which provides support to cave. In this cave you can see a Shiva Linga that stands 5 feet tall. Normally, the level of the water is up to the waist. Kedareshwar cave temple is quite unlike any other temple you’ve ever seen before.
Several carvings inside this cave indicate that it was built during the Medieval era. As you can see, the Shivlinga is surrounded by four pillars. Located in the middle of Kedareshwar cave, there are four pillars that symbolize the four Yugas: Satya Yuga, Tretha Yuga, Dwapara Yuga, and Kali Yuga. The cave stands on one of these pillars, as three of the pillars have fallen. Accordingly, it is believed the end of the world will come when this pillar breaks off.
4.Taramati Peak :
It’s the top most point on the Harishchandragad fort with height of 1429m. Taramati peak is like a view point on the fort. From there we get the view of Malshej ghat region and forts near Murbad.
How To Reach :
By Road :
Three villages Khireshwar, Pachanai and Belpada are located at the base of the fort. There are many routes leading to the fort. It depends on which route you choose. If you are beginner, I would like to suggest you to start trek from Pachnai village. Trek from this route is easy and short as compared to the other route.
If you are experienced trekker, you can start the trek from Khireshwar village. This route is a bit adventurous and gives breathtaking experience. Trails from Walhivale/Belpada villages are extremely challenging. There are three separate trails from Walhivale. They are via Nalichi Vaat, Sadhle Ghat and Makad Naal. This route should only be attempted by experienced trekkers. It is not recommended for beginners to attempt these routes. It is necessary to have climbing equipment such as ropes and carbiners for safety purpose.
How To Reach pachanai :
Pachnai village is well connected to the other cities like Nashik, Pune and Ahmednagar. If you are coming from Nashik or Ahmednagar, you have to catch the bus to Rajur. Pachnai can easily be reached by shared jeep/taxi from Rajur. This is the easiest way to reach Pachnai village. From here you can start your trek.
How To Reach Khireshwar :
You will easily get buses that go to Sangamner and Nashik. And then you have to get off at Alephata and then take a local bus to Khube Phata. You can walk from Khube Phata to Khireshwar. Otherwise you can also ask for a lift. Khireshwar is located at a distance of 6 km from Khube Phata.
How To Reach Belpada:
To get there, one must take the bus to Malshej Ghat and then take the road to Belpada village. From here the route goes through Sadhle Ghat. Trekkers do not commonly use this route.
Pro Tip: If you are coming via Khireshwar and Belpada, bring your own vehicle if possible. If you come by this route, not sure whether you will get the bus on time or not.
By Train :
You have to catch the train to Igatpuri railway station. Igatpuri is the nearest station to Harishchandragad. It is situated at a distance of 40 Km. From Igatpuri railway station about 5-10 min. of walking distance you will get Igatpuri bus stand. Then from the bus stand you will easily get the bus to Rajur. From Rajur bus stand you can take share jeep to reach Pachnai. Rajur is located at a distance of 26 Km from Pachnai village.
Harishchandragad Trek Through Pachanai Village :
- Trek starts from Pachnai, which is base village for Harishchandragad. Pachnai is surrounded by mountains and green fields. In the morning during monsoon season, you get to see the most beautiful view.
- From pachnai you need to walk towards south for 10-15 minutes to reach at the foot of Harishchandra fort. On starting point you will see an entrance and some other boards of instructions. The first patch easy at the starting but little bit difficult at the end.
- Second patch is rocky one, begins with small ascent followed by flat surface and falling into ascent again. Further there will be highly exposed patches, but there are iron ladders besides the route to make it safer to hike.
- When you are 1 hour into the hike you will cover almost half of the trail. Then there will be flat surface and pools in which you can have a good relaxing session. During monsoon there will be heavy water flow, it can get slippery.
- After the last patch you will reach at the Harishchandreshwar temple. Its lord Ganesh’s temple. It is advisable to remove your shoes before going in. Take a look at the beautiful architecture and sculptures. Its height is about 16m from base. There are few caves around the temple.
- To the left of the harishchandreshwar temple there is well built lake called ‘Saptatirtha Pushkarni’. It consists of 14 small temples of lord Vishnu. It is advisable that do not jump into the pond or put your legs inside it as it is holy water.
- Now, to the right of the Harishchandreshwar temple there is Kedareshwar cave. There is a massive Shivalinga surrounded by water. There were four pillars around the Shivalinga as a support to the cave, but only one of them is standing intact. There are also some sculptures carved on the cave.
Trek Route To Konkankada :
- Now route to KonkanKada is from behind the Harishchandreshwar temple toward west. This route is like a forest
patch. There is a small lane between the bushes. It will take 35-40 minutes to reach at the edge of the KonkanKada through this route.
- Now KonkanKada is the last and the most awaited view point in the fort. There are metallic railings on the edges of the KonkanKada to make it safer. You will experience a cloud burst during the raining season. It gives you breathtaking view. Sunset from this point is something which is worth remembering of. From this point you get the glimpse of Shendi pinnacle, Site cha dongar , Rohidas peak, and Kalbhairav pinnacle.
- Now after relaxing here for some time, you can take the same route back which will take you at the base village.
Best Time To Visit :
The best time to visit Harishchandra gad is between July to mid October. In rainy session you will have great time hiking. In October you can get the best pictures in the mild sunlight and fresh surrounding.
Places To Visit Near Harishchandragad :
- Malshej Ghat
- Pimpalgao joga dam
- Taramati peak
- Naneghat hills
- Ajoba hill fort
- Ratangad fort
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