Manikgad is located in Raigad district of Maharashtra. It was built to look upon the trade route from Maval (Pune) to the coastal ports. The mountain looks spectacular and looks easy but requires a high level of endurance of the trekker for long walk. Manikgad fort is situated near Vashivali (Rasayani MIDC), which is 27 km from Panvel.
Manikgad was built by Sarkhel Kanhoji Angre , to whom it was ceded in 1718 by Peshavas. The fortress was named Manikagad after Goddess Manikadevi who is the patron deity of the Mana Nagas.
Manikgad fort is in complete ruins. “Darya take” is a big rock cut cistern on the fort. One can also find a small Shiva Linga and few small rock-cut cisterns. The Ganesh Darwaza is the only standing structure on the fort. There is a circular trench cut in the rock meant for lime mixing. If the sky is not hazy forts like Karnala, Prabalgad, Chanderi, Malang gad, Irshalgad, Sondai, Lohagad, Visapur, Sankshi can be seen from a distance.
Manikgad is impregnable from three sides except for the southern side. It is about 507m high. The trail starts from the Vashivali village. The village Thakarwadi is on a hill south of the village Vashivali. Thakarwadi is about a 1 hour climb from Vashiavli. A well defined trail from Thakarwadi takes a southern detour to reach the col near Manikgad. It takes about 2 hours to reach the top of the fort. The path passes through a dense deciduous forest of Teak, Ain, and Salmalia. There is no water available on the way or on the fort, so it is advisable to carry it from Thakarwadi. This fort can be visited in any part of the year. It is advisable to take a local from the base village as there are a lot of intersecting cattle trails that may lead you away from the fort.
How to reach
The fort is clearly visible while travelling across the old Mumbai-Pune Highway. Direct buses are available from Karjat to the base village of Vadgaon (another base village), or via the chowk. The trail from Vadgaon is longer than the one from Vashiwali.
Vashiwali can be reached from Panvel station by shared auto-rickshaws or ST buses.