Raigad is a beautiful hill fort some 180 Kms from Mumbai. This is the same fort where Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the founder of the Maratha Empire was coronated in 1674 and he declared Raigad as his Capital.
This was the inspiration behind the trip. We (me and Sudhanshu) made out the trip during monsoon in the month of August 2015.
Mumbai to Raigad Fort
As decided, we met him near Oberoi Mall flyover and rode towards Navi Mumbai via Santacruz-Chembur Link Road (SCLR). Later, took Pali Khopoli route before entering NH 17 i.e. Mumbai Goa Highway. Rode till Mahad, from where we had to take the left turn for Raigad Fort.
Mahad to Raigad Fort was another 30 Km. Though the whole ride was quite scenic and beautiful because of the monsoon but the last 25 Km till Raigad fort was splendid.
Some photos from Mahad to Raigad Fort route
Uphill ride to Raigad Fort was quick and steep. Nice view of the plains can be seen once you reach a certain height. There are two routes to reach Raigad Fort.
- Stone stairs carved up to the Fort.
- Ropeway starting from base village Hirkanewadi to the Raigad Fort.
Home accommodation and Ropeway ticket for Raigad Fort:
It was around 2 PM when we reached Hirkanewadi village. Parked our bikes and approached the Ropeway ticket counter. While walking towards the ticket counter, a young village boy neared us and asked if we want home accommodation and food? Followed by a short chat, we agreed for Rs. 1000 for stay and two times food. Sudhanshu went with him to the village while I went to the ticket counter.
‘200 per person for a return journey’ the man sitting at the counter said. I nodded and asked him to give two tickets. He said ‘You have to wait for 1 and a half hour as other people are in queue’. One and half hour i.e. our number will come by 4 PM. That means we would have less than 2 hours in the fort. But we had no other option and we didn’t know this earlier. I gave him money and took the tickets. The waiting room which was on the left-hand side from the counter was packed with tourists.
Two cars were operational, carrying 4 people at a time. The ropeway takes around less than 10 minutes end to end. That means, only 8 people go up every 20 minutes.
We had enough time to explore nearby places. Meanwhile, Sudhanshu returned with Satish Avkilkar the young village boy. He informed that the accommodation is a home stay at Satish house and is basic. In local terms, it is said gharghuti rahne aani jevan. We took our luggage and went to Satish house in the village to keep our luggage and change wet clothes.
Returned at the village entrance, took our bike and started riding towards the place where stairs for Fort starts. That place was around 10 minutes on the motorcycle. Couldn’t spot anybody, as the sun was already low in the sky and climbing Raigad Fort by stairs takes around 2.5 – 3.5 hours.
Continued on the road which descended from there. The road seemed less used. The thick green trees with black branches confirmed that we were in the Raigad Forest reserve. Continued for some distance when a local man explained this road ends in a village nearby. The river flowing adjacent separated the Raigad fort from the plains and in days of Maratha Empires boats were used to cross the river. But now, there is no way that we can cross the river in monsoon.
Coffee, Parle-G and Sahyadri:
Spent some time in the forest and returned to the diversion from where one road goes to Hirkanewadi village and one towards Mahad. Took the Mahad road and rode to a small hotel ‘Raigad Palace’. I asked for a Coffee and Kanda Poha. Frankly speaking, my taste buds were refreshed. The feeling was heavenly. It was raining in bits and drops. Sitting amidst green lush Sahyadri with Coffee in one hand and Parle-G in other. Atishay Sundar 🙂
The place seemed isolated from the crowd, asked the owner for room and booked one for Rs. 1000. Informed Satish that we will be having food at his house but will stay here. No problem he said.
Raigad ropeway and vanishing in the clouds:
It was 4 PM now. Approached the Ropeway conductor. We were late, our number had already passed. We had to clear the crowd to reach the conductor Kaka and inform him that our number had passed and we should be sent before the rest. He confirmed and made us sit in the next turn.
Ropeway car picked up speed quite fast. Soon our cable car entered in the clouds and village below became distant and fainted completely. We could barely see the high standing walls of the Raigad mountain. Towards the top, the climb almost seemed 90 degrees in ascending. The experience of the ropeway was unforgettable.
Reached the Fort and took tickets of Rs. 10 each for the Fort. It was raining heavily. We had to cover ourselves to escape the showers.
Complete Fort was covered in a layer of Fog. We could barely see more than a meter.
Some photos from the Raigad Fort:
Returning from fort
It was around 7 PM. The fog was getting stronger and daylight fainter. Finding our way back to the Ropeway was not an easy task.
To our surprise waiting was not only in going up but also in coming down. Booked our number with the person who managed the entry to the car. We had to wait another 1 hour. Spent time sitting in the Raigad Fort Canteen and experimenting with the Camera.
Reached Hirkanewadi village and went to Satish home. Around 10-12 people were lined up sitting in his drawing room and having their dinner. We took a seat in a corner of the room.
The meal was home cooked and mind blowing. Vangyachi bhaji, bhendichi bhaji, bhakri, pithal, bhaat aani loncha. Handed Satish the deal, thanked him and left the place.
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