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The Lion Fort
Mar 11, 2008 02:37 PM 12364 Views

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Nestled deep in the Sahyadri Range, engulfed on all sides by dense green jungle is Sinhgad, meaning Lion Fort. This fort located at about 25 kms from city of Pune. It is situated on a hill which rises 800 meters above the surrounding countryside. The fort's location has been strategically important since at least the 14th century and has been the site of many important battles. One of the more famous battles was the recapturing of the fort by Tanaji Malusare, a general for Shivaji in March of 1670.If you are interested to know the historical background of this fort you may refer to the sites-Around Pune and Wikipedia.


The once extensive fortification is now in ruins, but visitors can still get a sense as to how the fort may have appeared as an active military outpost. It is a popular weekend destination for many residents of Pune.


I went to Sinhgad on a weekend with some of my friends. It was a bright and beautiful day-just the perfect kind for an adventurous trek. We started early in the morning at about 8 o clock from home and reached Swargate in about 15 minutes. Sinhgad can be reached by various modes of private and public transportation from Swargate. Since Public buses are pretty infrequent in this city, we decided to take the tum-tum(six-seaters) instead. This was my first six-seater ride and quite a memorable one.


The road to Sinhgad traces the edges of the Khadakvasala Reservoir which is trapped between the hills on three sides and a dam on the remaining side. Saying the place is scenic is an understatement. The lake is very beautiful and serene with crystal clear water. We decided to stop at Khadakvasala on our way back.


The road to Sinhgad is almost as beautiful as the fort itself. The roads are narrow, rocky and dusty – typical hilly roads that endlessly wind up and down through numerous hills… at times, you can see the deep slopes of the hills, and you cannot even make out what lies at the bottom… at times, you can see peaks glittering in the sunlight all around you… at times, you feel as if you are making your way into heaven(quite literally, as the roads are scary!)… at times, small streams and waterfalls attract your attention – as if beckoning you to come closer… And all the time, Sinhgad Fort grows larger and larger in sight ahead of you! The gorgeous beauty of the roads we traveled made the suffering worth it.After a bumpy ride of more than an hour we reached the base of Sinhgad.We alight from the tum-tum and in front of us lay the famous Sinhgad Fort, with its beautiful caves, with its grandeurous ruins, with its stunning vastness.


We start our uphill climb. We walk through a dense canopy of lush green trees, as the chirping birds accompany us. The view is refreshing. We start taking snaps of the beautiful fort as the stony path leads us up to the historic fort.


As we climb to a higher point, we stop for a breather and look around. What a view! The mountains are all green. We trekked and trekked from one part of the fort, we could see the city before us… from another part, we could see Khadakwasla… from yet another part, it was only the Ghats that greeted us…beautiful as well as breathtaking.


The climb made us hungry. There were several makeshift shops on the way selling hot kanda bhaji and steaming chai. We surrendered to our temptation and sat down for a short break with the mouthwatering snacks. We also tasted the delicious coolifi ice cream.


We resumed our climb uphill. It seemed that view got better the higher we went.Here is the summary of the main attractions at Sinhgad:


Rajaram Samadhi:


This monument was built in the memory of Rajaram Maharaj.


Pune Darwaaja:


From Pune, via Aatkarwadi village, we reach Pune Darwaaja we come across three consecutive entrances, of which third one was built during the era of Yadavas. We can see fine sculpture on it. On the way here, we notice an entrance through a distance, which is called Dhondse Darwaja. To reach this there is a tar road.


*Khand Kada:


*After entering Pune Darwaaja, we come across this peak from where we can observe the region of Purandar fort and the rivers Mula and Mutha.


Kalyan Darwaaja:


This is the entrance to the fort for those who come via Katraj Ghat. In older days, this door was used for communication between Sinhgad and Raigad.


Daru Kothar:


On entering Pune Darwaaja, on the right we observe the building, which was ancient storage for grains.


*Kondhaneshwar:


*When we follow the way rightwards along the Rajsadar, we reach this ancient temple of Lord Shankar.


Amruteshwar Mandir:


This temple of Bhairav is located leftwards to the Konadhaneshwar temple, at a few minutes walk.


Statue of Tanaji:


On the way behind Amruteshwar temple, after going upwards for few minutes, we can see this admirable monument. Every year, in his memory, one day is celebrated here.


Zunjar Buruz:


This bastion lies to the left after entering Kalyan Darwaaja and comprises the westernmost point of this fort. From here, we can have a glimpse of Rajgad, Torna, Lingana and Raigad and Purandar on the west.


Tanaji Kada:


This pinnacle is quite thrilling and lies beyond Zunjar Machi. It is a great attraction for hikers.


Western point:


This point, as it is named, is the westernmost and is the place to keep the watch.


Kadelot point:


This peak lies at a few minutes walk from the western point, and is the most suitable place to keep a watch on the extensive Pune city.


Bungalow of Lokmanya Tilak:


The bungalow of Lokmanya Tilak is situated on the fort. He used to come here many a times. His works like Geetarahasya were completed here. In 1915 Gandhiji and Tilak met here. Whenever Gandhiji visited Pune, he drank only the waters of Sinhgad. Once Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose had come here. He was at the second entrance of the fort, which was the main one when Shivaji ruled. He stopped here and lost into his Shivaji's memories, while chanting Tagore's words. This place is really very inspiring.


The tower of Doordarshan -Mumbaiis also there on Sinhagad. This tower provides reception to Pune region.


Dev Take -famous tank with sweet and cold water - is popular amongst the tourists.


All this climbing and fooling around made us hungry again. We settle down in the nearest restaurant cum shack and order our lunch. Here is a tip- please do not bring any food while coming to Sinhgad, otherwise you will miss the delectable local fare of hot *jhunka-bhakari(jowar roti and besan and sabji sort of) with thecha, kanda bhaji, papad, * matka dahi and buttermilk .We simply gorged on the food like a hungry tiger.


After having a sumptuous meal and some more fooling around with the digicam, we started our journey downhill. As we descended we kept turning back to look at the Fort, now growing smaller and smaller behind us, longing with all our hearts to go back! To get lost again in Maratha history and wilderness of Mother Nature.


To say out loud:“I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.


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