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Posts Tagged ‘Kedareshwar’

Harishchandragad

Posted by itrekz on May 22, 2008

Region: Malshej ghat
District: Ahmednagar
Height: 4671 feet
Difficulty: Simple
Duration: Two days

Approach

  • Khubi phata-Khireshwar-Tolar khind-Harishchandragad
  • Khubi phata-Khireshwar-Kalshya-Harishchandragad (Rajmarga)
  • Savarne-Belpada-Nalichi wat-Harishchandragad
  • Savarne-Kelewadi-Sadhle ghat-Harishchandragad
  • Pachnai-Harishchandragad


Sights to see: Konkan kada, Kedareshwar temple, Harishchandreshwar temple, Rohidas peak, Taramati peak, Balekilla, Ganesh cave and adjoining series of caves, pushkarni.

One can also see Indravajra, full 360 degree circular rainbow if one is lucky enough in the monsoons on Konkan kada.

The fort is evergreen and can be visited anytime of the year owing to perennial potable water source and good shelter.

Water availability: The water tanks in the temple holds potable water round the year

Accommodation: Harishchandreshwar temple, series of caves

Description:
Surely one of the most trekked forts in the western ghat, Harishchandragad is a destination that caters unbounded joy to beginners and pros alike. Harishchandragad fort has a large spread and it uniquely lies along the boundaries of Ahmednagar, Nasik and Thane districts. Spread over an area of three mile in diameter, the awe-inspiring façade of Konkan kada: The largest and magnificent semicircular concave cliff; leaves the visitor gasping for breath. The view from atop combined with strong winds in one of its kind in the entire Sahyadris and single handedly makes the visit worthy.

Besides Konkan kada, the Kedareshwar cave-temple is another beautiful jewel on this fort of Harishchandragad. The large cave, filled with chilling water till waist level, has a large centrally placed monolithic Shivling and the cave is supported by four stone pillars. Three out of these four pillars of the Kedareshwar cave-temple are now broken.

Although there are numerous small hills on the top of mighty Harishchandragad, Taramati, Rohidas and Balekilla are the three peaks worth visiting. Taramati is the highest point on Harishchandragad and stands overlooking the series of caves. Opposite to Taramati is the Rohidas peak and Balekilla standing next to it. There is nothing much atop Balekilla to suggest of any erstwhile fortifications and glory.

Harishchandreshwar temple is a very age-old temple and now lying precariously, waiting to collapse. The environs and the yard of this temple render a serene ambience to its visitors. There are series of caves in the yard of this temple and few water tanks that houses potable water all round the year. These are the only reliable sources of potable water.

Routes:

Approach via Tolar khind is the most commonly trodden route. The route nowadays, due to route marking and arrow marks is very simple and very difficult to miss. The trek begins from Khubi phata. One can reach Khubi from Mumbai via Kalyan or Pune via Ale phata. From Khubi village, a 5 km walk along the wall of Khireshwar dam leads to Khireshwar village. From Khireshwar village, a well marked trail leads to Tolar khind. It takes approximately 2 hours to reach Tolar khind from Khireshwar village.

The khind is marked by a small shendoor smeared stone bearing the carvings of a lion, implying that it is guarding the pass. From this point, on the left is an easy rock patch, which now for the safety of trekkers has railings along the way for support. An easy negotiation with the rock patch leads to the top of the plateau and a further walk of around one and the half hours across the streams and hills leads to the Harishchandreshwar temple.

Time: 3-4 hours
Grade:
Easy

Rajmarga: This was the main route to reach the top of Harishchandragad, but now the route is in a bad state and a bit tricky. It is not advisable for novices to attempt this route. The route follows the same path up to Khireshwar village. From Khireshwar village, instead of heading along the cart track towards Tolar khind, one must go straight and skirt the slopes of Kalshya dongar. On the way one comes across a very ancient temple built in Hemadpanti architecture. After skirting the Kalshya dongar, the cliff lying in front has to be ascended to follow the Rajmarga. The ascent is quite tricky and full of scree with exposed patches in between and one has to be careful. After a successful ascent, one comes and joins the Tolar khind route after the rock patch.

Time: 3 hours
Grade:
Difficult

Nalichi wat is the most challenging and difficult route to Harishchandragad. The route ascends parallel to the might Konkan kada and must be approached from Belpada (walivare) village. On the Malshej ghat road, just before the ghat begins, is Savarne village. One can reach Belpada from Savarne in 45 minutes after crossing a small hillock on the way. From Belpada, one can see the might Konkan kada in our front. To the left of the Konkan kada are a series of three to four gullies running down from the top. The one of the extreme right is the Nalichi route to Harishchandragad.

The steep ascent and slippery slate rocks with crumbling stones and some difficult rock patches to negotiate makes Nalichi wat one of the most demanding treks in Sahyadris. The rock patches, although easy for a regular trekker, can seem very much difficult for novices. Also the steepness can leave on gasping for breath. Another thing is the tricky route. So this must only be attempted by experienced trekkers and safety measures.

Time: 10 hours
Grade:
Very difficult

Sadhle ghat route is another interesting route to fort Harishchandragad. Sadhle ghat is a steep and ferocious decent from Harishchandragad down to the plains. One has to approach this route from Kelewadi. Kelewadi is half and hours walk from Belpada. Instead of heading towards the Konkan kada from Belpada, one has to continue straight on to reach Kelewadi. From Kelewadi village Sadhle ghat ascends steeply and takes around 3 hours to reach the top. The final patches of the ascent are full of scree and daunting steepness. One usually chooses to descend Harishchandragad via Sadhle ghat rather than ascend it.

From Konkan kada, a walk to extreme right towards Nakta brings one to a small patch. A 15 minutes descent leads to a bifurcation amidst the bushes. The one on the left descends via Nalichi route to Belpada. The straight trail takes one to a plateau after a short while. From this plateau, one route leads to Pachnai village and the other one is a steep descent to Kelewadi via Sadhle ghat, an enjoyable trek.

Time: 4 Hours
Grade:
Moderate

Pachnai route is the simplest route to Harishchandragad. Villagers from Pachnai actually make a good living by selling their products and Jhunka Bhakar atop Harishchandragad every weekend. From Pachnai village, a two and half hours treks leads to the top of the fort Harishchandragad. The Mangalganga River that originates near the Kedareshwar atop Harishchandragad can be traced right up to the plateau and a bifurcation to the right from here descends to the Pachnai village.

Time: 3 Hours
Grade:
Easy

With all the possible avenues on offer for novices and pros alike, Harishchandragad fort with is easy connectivity and numerous options is surely a trekker’s paradise.

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