Nimgiri Fort Trek
Nimgiri fort trek lies in the Pune district at a height of 1054 ft ASL. It is adjacent to the Hanumantgad fort trek and are separated by a small cleft. It lies in the Balaghat mountain range of the Sahyadris.
Not much is documented about this fort in terms of history. There are a lot of relics and remains of the fort.
At the end of the steps, a path leads to the cave carved in the hills of Nimgiri on the right. The cave was dug for surveillance, has been partially abandoned. The views from the cave are spectacular especially during the monsoon. Rock cut steps take you straight to the gates of the Nimgiri fort. The Nimgiri fort trek is known for these rock cut steps.
The steps are detoriated at some places and there are three steps missing in one place. This along with the accumulation of soil makes these steps a risky affair. Caution must be taken if climbing via this route. However climbing these steps from the gorge to the top of the fort is absolutely beautiful and thrilling. There is a rock carved guard post (known as devdi) on the way.
A route exists that bypasses the steps and passes through the col between the twin peaks of Nimgiri fort and Hanumantgad fort. It gives you an opportunity to watch the splendid views on the western side of the fort.
There is a gate that lies in ruins. There are signs of fortification around the gate. Once inside you can see 3 water cisterns on the trail. A small temple can be seen here with a domed roof, the water cistern in frnt of this temple is potable after filtration. The other two tanks are not recommended for drinking.
The temple has a door and a sculpture if Gajalaxmi with a Shivling in the front. There are 3 graves on the slope.
Further on the trail there are three caves. One of these caves is large enough to accommodate a group of 5 to 6 people. This cave also houses a water cistern. The second cave has a collapsed roof and the last one is used by the villagers to keep their cattles. There are architectural remains scattered across the fort.
The top of the fort offers views of the other fort treks in the vicinity like Chavand, Jeevdhan Harishchandragad, Hadsar and Sindola. Nimgiri fort is in the western valley of Junnar. One can see Manikdoh in front and Pimpalgaon dam reservoir on the back. There are architectural remains scattered across the fort.
The base village for the Nimgiri fort trek is Khandichiwadi. The trail starts from the primary school in the village and leads you with Nimgiri fort on the right side of the gorge and Hanumantgad on the left side.
One can see a high voltage pole on the way from the village. This is where the Kalubai temple is. Further to this you’ll see a shelter and a watchtower built by the Forest department, the trail goes between the two. The trail ascends steeply from here to the base of the fort. A small tree has the directions to both the forts nailed to it. At the end of the steps, a path leads to the cave carved in the hills of Nimgiri fort on the right. From here it takes about 20 minutes to reach the gorge between Nimgiri and Hanumantgad.
Once on the cleft, a steep ascent leads directly to the base of the fort. At the end of the steps, a path leads to the cave carved in the hills of Nimgiri on the right.
There are rock carved caves that take you to the top of the fort. Though they are the most thrilling part of the trek, they must be tread with a lot of care as there are steps missing in one place and the accumulation of soil makes it a risky affair. You reach a guards post on the way, from here the top of the fort can be reached in 10 minutes.
Another trail from the cleft takes bypasses the steps and joins it a point above the risky stretch of the steps. This trail also offers splendid views on the western side of the fort.
The trail continues to the top where you can visit the temples, the rock cut caves and the multiple water cisterns of the fort. Extra care must be taken while descending from the steps especially during monsoon.
How to reach
The base village for the Nimgiri for trek is Khandechiwadi. The easiest way to get here is to reach Junnar from Pune-Mumbai. A road from Manikdoh dam near Junnar takes you towards towards Ghatghar village towards Naneghat. This distance is about 25 km from Junnar and about 10 kms from Hadsar village.
If going from Mumbai, one can go via Kalyan-Murbad by catching any State transport (ST bus) to Alephata or Junnar. Those coming from Pune have no choice but to reach Junnar. At a distance of 2kms after passing Malshej Ghat there is a fork. One has to continue for about 4kms on it to reach a village called Pargaon. From here one can take a road to Khandepadyar via Borwadi-Madh. The same road goes further to Hadsar.
Khandepada or Khandechiwadi, the base village is 7 km from Pargaon. The village road near the base village is in a bad condition and there are no vehicles that reach here. There is only an ST bus that arrives at Borwadi at 2 PM, there are no buses after that.