Trimbak range has spread its arms to the north of Igatpuri and west of Nasik. It is divided mainly into two parts, with forts of Bhaskargad/Basgad Fort, Utvad Fort, the hill of Fani/Fani-Dongar, Harihar Fort and Trimbakgad on one part while the forts of Anjaneri and Hargad on the other. Vaitarna is the main river in this region. But due to the one-sided slope of Sahyadri, the water flows away from this region. There is an absolute shortage of water from January to March in this region.
The hill forts around Trimbak are very fascinating to climb. Trimbak is a popular pilgrim centre and is served by frequent buses from Nashik.
Harihar is a unique fort in the Sahyadri, built on a triangular prism of rock. Its three faces and two edges are vertical. The third edge is inclined at an angle of about 75 degrees. It brings to you a different type of stone staircase which has been cut for providing trekkers with a pocket like a grip to climb easily.
While climbing the fort, we come across a rock-sheet, which has got a one-metre-wide rocky staircase carved in it. Also, many grooves have been carved here for additional support. After climbing these steps, we get up to the entrance door. There is a cavern ahead of this door. Again we come across few steps after a short distance walk from this cavern. On climbing these steps we reach the main entrance door of this fort. The fort has got a tapering plateau with a raised level in the middle.
Once you make it to the top, enthral in the beauty of the elongated plateau which holds a small beautiful temple of Lord Hanuman & Lord Shiva. A small pond is there in front of this temple.
Making headway from here we come across a palace having two rooms in it. 10 to 12 persons can be accommodated in this palace. There are five cisterns along one side of the palace, one of which has water suitable for drinking.
Harihar Fort trek is one of the must-try treks in the Western Ghats and makes for a great weekend getaway near Trimbakeshwar as well as Nashik.
The British Officer, Capt. Briggs described it as a wonderful route and wrote: ‘Words can give no idea of its dreadful steepness. It is perfectly straight for, I suppose 200 feet and can only be compared to a ladder over a height of this nature’.
One of the fort’s vertical sides facing the Nirgudpada Village got the name ‘Scottish Kada’ because it was first climbed by “Doug Scott” in 1986. He was a popular Himalayan mountaineer, who took about two days to ascend to the top of the cliff, which stands at 170 m.
This was one of the forts surrendered by Shahaji from Bijapur to the Moghul general Khan Zaman of the forces of Shahjahan. It surrendered to the British in 1818 after the fall of Trimbak.
There is one main gate on the main entrance path of the fort. The main entrance gate and the rock-cut steps are carved in the same rock. There is a rock-cut water cistern on the fort. There is a rough idol of Veer Maruti on the fort.
It takes about half an hour to visit all the places on the fort.
The base village of this fort is Nirgudpada, which is 20 km away from Trimbakeshwar. From Nirgudpada, the forts Harihar and Bhaskargad are visible, and Bhaskargad is to the left side of the village. We need to cross a rivulet to reach the trail to the fort, which takes us to the steps after a hike for an hour and a half.
The forts in this region are built on characteristically shaped mountains. The mountain of Bhaskargad comprises mainly of basalt rock. The steps are cut through the mountain rock and take us through the stone walls towards the main entrance, which is buried under soil now. We have to enter by crawling. Once we reach the cap of the mountain, we can roam about the edge of the fort. We can find some remnants of houses and cisterns on the fort top.
The rock-cut steps along the mountain face and the stone cut covered cisterns are characteristics of forts built during the rule Satvaahan dynasty and indicate that the fort is ancient.
From 1271 to 1308 this fort was under the control of Yadavas of Devgiri. When Devgiri was taken over by Bahamanis, this fort went under their control. When Shahaji Maharaj revolted against Nizamshahi in 1629, the fort went under his control. In 1633, the Moghuls gained control over Bhaskargad. In 1670, Moropant Pingle won this fort for Shivaji Maharaj and the Moghuls regained it in 1688. In 1730, the fishermen rebelled with Mughals and captured the fort. Later it was with Peshwas till the British captured it in 1818.
The hill-range is almost 16 km broad at the base and about 6 km long on the top. The real source of the Godavari River is located at an ancient temple on its upper plateau.
Brahmagiri is a prominent pilgrimage site with a temple and shelter available. This fort is well known for one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva which is called “Trimbakeshwar”.
In the past, the whole Trimbak range was considered an impregnable fort. In ancient times, one of the trade routes from Maharashtra to Gujarat used to pass through this hill range and Brahmagiri/Trimbakgad fort was built for its protection. Since the medieval period, this fort has been unconquered.
Regular steps lead up to the temple. A narrow passage in the rock is cut 4 to 6 ft. with about 300 steps. The top of this fort is a large grassy plateau. Anjaneri, Harihar fort, Fani Dongar can be seen from the top.
Apart from the religious significance of the Trimbak fort, with many nearby forts, Trimbak played a big part in history. Ramchandra of the Yadavas of Devgiri built it. In 1629, Mughal Shahenshah Shahjahan sent an army and after long battles in the surrounding areas captured it in 1636. It remained with them till 1720 when it passed onto the Nizam who ruled it until 1752.
The Marathas he captured it but it eventually fell to the British when Col. McDowell attacked it in 1818 on the 24th of April. The Marathas surrendered after a three-hour-long firing and the British dismantled the fort.
The Multani family of Karachi rebuilt the steps and a Dharamshala, which are now in use.
It has very few remains and is believed to have served as a watchtower. There are a few water tanks, but the water in them is not potable. The fort gives a beautiful view of the entire Trimbak town, the nearby forts of Harihar and Basgad, and a nearby lake.
While Brahmagiri is visited often because it has the source of the river Godavari, Durg-Bhandar remains unexplored.
From the Brahmagiri plateau, Way to Durg-Bhandar starts from a temple of Shiv Jataa where the route passes in the north direction. As you keep walking along the trail, you will come across a very interesting route. There are two sets of underground steps carved in the stone that lead you to Durg-Bandar. You have to crawl to enter this beautiful staircase created painstakingly built in the 16th century!
22:00 – Reporting to the SG Team.
22:59 – Travel to the base village from Pune.
05:00 – Reach base village. Nirgudpada village.
05:30 – Freshen up, have breakfast & tea
06:30 – Group introduction & briefing about the trek.
06:45 – Commence trek to “Harihar fort”.
08:00 – Reach staircase.
09:30 – Reach on top of Harihar fort. Explore plateau.
11:00 – Start descend.
13:00 – Reach base village; Have lunch.
14:00 – Start to ascend Bhaskargad fort.
– Explore plateau & descend.
18:30 – Reach base village. Setup campsite.
18:00 – Enjoy the evening.
20:00 – Have a warm dinner.
21:30 – Day stumps.
Stay in tents.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
05:00 – A wake-up call. Get freshen up.
06:00 – Have breakfast & tea.
– Travel to Trimbakeshwar.
06:30 – Start to ascend Brahmagiri hill.
08:00 – Explore plateau, temples, & other places.
09:30 – Exciting walk towards “Durg-Bhandar Fort”.
13:00 – Descend at Trimbak.
– Have a Lunch.
15:00 – Travel to Pune.
22:00 – Reach Pune with happy memories & non-biodegradable waste.
Shivajinagar > Aundh > Kasarwadi > Nashik > Trimbak > Nirgudpada (Base)
22:00 – Shivajinagar
22:30 – Aundh
22:59 – Kasarwadi
Please come 15 minutes before at your pickup point to avoid getting late.