Harishchandragad, a hill fort situated on the boundaries of 3 districts of Maharashtra i.e. Pune, Ahmednagar & Thane. The fort comes under Harishchandragad-Kalsubai Wildlife Sanctuary. It is one of the most challenging treks in the Western Ghats. Harishchandragad fort can be visited all year long & known for its size and spectacular ‘Kokankada’- the cliff overlooking the Konkan belt has been a hot pick amongst adventure enthusiasts and trekkers for several years.
Harishchandragad fort is quite ancient, with its origin dating back to the sixth century. There are caves situated all over the fort, believed to be carved out in the eleventh century. The various temples and carvings in the caves indicate that the fort belongs to the medieval period since it is related to Shaiva, Shakta or Naath. Later, the fort was under the control of the Moguls. And by 1747, the Marathas captured it.
This hill fort can be approached from multiple routes. Khireshwar Tolar Khind route & Pachnai route is the two normally used routes. While Junnar Darwaja & Nalichi Vaat route is the route rarely used. Among these, all route Nalichi Vaat route is the toughest one.
The fort is quite ancient. Remnants of Microlithic man have been discovered here. The various Puranas (ancient scriptures) like Matsyapurana, Agnipurana and Skandapurana include many references for Harishchandragad. Its origin is said to have been in the 6th century, during the rule of the Kalchuri dynasty. The citadel was built during this era. The various caves probably have been carved out in the 11th century. In these caves, idols of Lord Vishnu carved. Though the cliffs are named Taramati and Rohidas, they are not related to Ayodhya.
Great sage Changdev (one who created the epic “Tatvasaar”), used to meditate here in the 14th century. The caves are from the same period. The various constructions on the fort and those existing the surrounding region point to the existence of diverse cultures here. The carvings on the temples of Nageshwar (in Khireshwar village), in the Harishchandreshwar temple and in the cave of Kedareshwar indicate that the fort belongs to the medieval period since it is related to Shaiva, Shakta or Naath. Later the fort was under the control of Moguls. The Marathas captured it in 1747.
Harishchandragad is 3 km away from Pachnai. Pachnai is surrounded by mountain and in monsoon, you can get a visual of five falls from the base. This is the easiest route to reach Harishchandragad.
Might be the simplest route but it’s very scenic. Since it does not take out your breath, you are more appreciative of your surroundings. While we descend in full light and clear sky, time appears to be a standstill. For those who are photographers can get extremely beautiful landscapes on this route.
Most local treks are not adventurous enough for experienced trekkers. But this route to Harishchandragad is physically daunting and visually rewarding!
This translates to ‘passage through a gorge’ also water curved valley between two mountains is a channel that lies to the extreme right of the Kokankada. It is one of the most difficult paths to the top. Popular among climbers and experienced trekkers, Nalichi Vaat involves a near 80 degrees, involving steep rock patches. The trail begins on a stream bed filled with large man-sized rocks and eventually leads to the foot of the gorge. We will ascend this route while enjoying natural beauty and beast.
View of Harishchandragad Kokankada from base village Walhivare is one of the best views in Sahyadri. From here one can easily spot Naphtha, Ghodishep, Rohidas peak, Naneghat Panorama.