Ghangad Fort Trek
Ghangad fort trek is situated about 30km from Lonavla-Khandala in Maharashtra. It is about 100 km from Pune in Maharashtra state and is an important part of the Pune district. The fort has been restored by Shivaji Trail group with the help of local villagers. Restoration work took place in 2011-12.
Very less information is available about the history of the fort. However it is atleast 300 years old. Ghangad fort was used for keeping prisoners. It was also used as a watchtower for keeping watch on the trade route from Pune to Konkan. The Marathas ruled this fort until 1818. The fort was surrendered to British forces after the fall of Korigad on 17-March-1818.
The Ghangad fort trek is surrounded by Korigad, Telbaila and Sudhagad, but is still deserted and remote. There are two gates on the fort. The main entrance gate has a missing arch. There is a rock cut water cistern on the way to the second gate. The water is available round the year for drinking purpose. There are remains of few dilapidated building on the Balekilla. The top of Ghangad Fort offers panoramic views of the TailBaila, Korigad, Mulshi dam and Sudhagad fort. An interesting and picturesque feature of the Ghangad fort is a huge slab of rock which has fallen off the mountain wall and still rests against it, forming a small tunnel. There is a cave at the back side of the cave which is difficult to reach. There is a water cistern beyond the slab of rock which has a very risky exposed traverse approach.
The trekking path starts from the hill to the south of the Ekole village. The route is well defined and safe. The trekking route has a dense forest cover. It takes about half an hour to reach the entrance gate of the fort. The flat ground near the entrance or GarjaiDevi temple on the way to the fort provides a good opportunity for accommodation and camping. The fort is approachable in all seasons, however utmost care should be taken during the monsoons as a part of the trail post the entrance is exposed. Recently a group has installed cables that can be held on to while crossing this trail. An iron ladder has been placed recently that gives easy access to an otherwise difficult 15ft rock patch. The cave at the rear side of the fort can be reached by trekking a rather dangerous trail from the left side of the fort. The fort is a must visit for experienced trekkers. The villagers from the Ekole make night stay and food arrangements at reasonable rates.
How to reach
Reach Lonavla by bus or train, and then take a bus to Bhaburde village, which is nearly 40 km away from Lonavla. A 20 minute walk from here village takes you to the Ekole village.
If travelling by a personal vehicle, the fort can be reached by road via Tamhini ghat or via Lonavla. The nearest town to Ekole is Lonavala which is about 30kms away. There are good hotels at Lonavla, now tea and snacks are also available in small hotels on the way at Peth Shahapur. The road becomes rugged in the Saltar pass. One can also visit the Saltar lake on the way.