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  • Writer's pictureAjaz Shaikh

Harishchandragad: The Magnificent Konkan Kada and Indravajra

The Harishchandragad fort is an ancient hill fort that was built in the 6th century AD. The fort is home to several temples, caves, and water tanks, as well as a natural rock formation known as the Konkan Kada, which resembles a cobra’s hood. The most famous temple on the fort is the Harishchandreshwar Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is carved out of a single rock and is considered to be one of the finest examples of Chalukya-style architecture.

The Magnificent: Harishchandragad

If you are looking for a challenging and rewarding trek with stunning views, then the Harishchandragad trek is the perfect destination for you.

Harishchandragad Fort Trek

Located in the Ahmednagar region it is full of spots of attraction and mythical stories. As you reach the top, you’ll be greeted by pleasing natural beauty, along with diverse flora and fauna and even though it’s a tough trek, believe me, it’s worth it.

The initial trek is mostly flat with few steep patches. Look for arrows marked on stones which will guide you to the correct path. One has to walk in dense forest cover which is quite a delightful walk. After around an hour of trekking, we made it to the Tolar Khind. Going further the climb is quite steep and one needs to be very careful.

Few railings have been installed to assist in trekking but most of them are in a ruined state. Follow the path of poles installed for these railing and you will make it almost to the top of the mountain. The further trail is pretty flat with a few ups and downs. It will take around 4 hours in total to reach Konkankada which is the last point of the Fort.

The main attraction of this hill fort remains the Konkan Kada (Konkan cliff), an almost 1,423m concave fall. It is a vertical overhang, like a cobra’s hood, providing a panoramic view of the surrounding hills and an enchanting sunset. A little further away on the mountain is Taramti Peak, the third highest peak in Maharashtra, providing a breathtaking view of the surrounding mountain ranges and an ideal setting to bask in the golden canopy of the rising sun. The cave of Kedareshwar and the temple of Harishchandreshwar are other places of tourist interest.

Harishchandragad Fort is quite ancient, with its origin dating back to the sixth century. There are caves situated all over the fort, believed to be carved out in the eleventh century. The various temples and carvings in the caves indicate that the fort belongs to the medieval period since it is related to Shaiva, Shakta or Naath. Later, the fort was under the control of the Moguls and by 1747, the Marathas captured it.

The cave of Kedareshwar hosts a big Shivlingam, which is surrounded by water. The lingam is surrounded by four pillars that essentially represent the four yugas of life on earth. The general belief is that the current phase is the Kali Yuga. The day the fourth pillar breaks down will be considered the end of this era.

Harishchandragad is also known as a trekker’s paradise as rappelling, rock climbing & valley crossing can be done simultaneously in one trek itself.

Indravajra at Harishchandragad Fort

In this pre-monsoon period, get ready to witness fireflies, Indravajra, and floating clouds at Kokankada. Three different phenomena will just put you in awe of nature. We are talking about the circular rainbow called Indravajra, floating clouds, and tiny little twinkling fireflies, who come out in millions at night in a breathtaking phenomenon.

Nature awe called Indravajra the full circle rainbow broken with your own shadow. This extraordinary phenomenon is observed every year from the mid-end of May till June first week.

Fireflies or lightning bugs make light within their bodies. This process is called bioluminescence and is shared by many other organisms, mostly sea-living or marine organisms. Fireflies light up to attract a mate. To do this, the fireflies contain specialized cells in their abdomen that help to create light. Ever imagined what it would be like to watch a million twinkling stars in the open sky above your head? Add a dash of a spectacular light show orchestrated by the humble fireflies.

Fireflies, Indravajra & cloud special Harishchandragad trek & camping is the best way to witness nature’s extraordinary phenomenon.

Camping at Harishchandragad Fort

There is plenty to be explored on the Harishchandragad Fort trek hence I would recommend staying overnight at the Fort. Harishchandragad is also famous as the best fort in Maharashtra for camping. There are nearly 9 caves in total including 2 big caves on Harishchandragad which can accommodate around 100-150 campers.

If you have your tent, you can pitch it anywhere as safety is not an issue at all (a lot of people stay overnight at the fort on weekends). No tent with you, don’t be disappointed, you can rent one at the fort itself. Charges will be around INR 400-500 per tent which can accommodate 2-3 people.

Good To Know FAQs

How to reach the base village for Harishchandragad Fort Trek?

Mumbai Local Train: The cheapest and most convenient way to reach the Pachnai base village for Harishchandragad Fort Trek for Mumbaikar is through the local train (Central Railway), take a local train to Kasara. From Kasara you get many jeeps/safaris to Rajur that charge around INR 100 -150 and from Rajur you have to take an ST bus till the Paachnai village. Alternatively, you can always hitchhike.

Private Car: If comfort is your priority and travelling in a group go by car. Paachnai is well-connected to Mumbai by roadways via the Mumbai - Nashik Expressway, it will take around 5-6 hours to reach the base village with a break. The road is well constructed, and several ATMs, petrol pumps, hotels, restaurants and banks are located on the route. People at the base village offer parking as well as lunch/dinner services at nominal rates.

What are the stay and food options available at the base village of Harishchandragad?

At Paachnai, you can easily find a homestay to spend the night if you are planning to travel a day in advance to start trekking early in the morning and of course, they will also help you with breakfast. Don't expect anything fancy here.

The best time to visit Harishchandragad Fort

The best time to visit the fort depends on the individual and what exactly he wants to experience. In the rainy months of June to September, one can experience foggy conditions. The entire Konkankada is under clouds most of the time. One of the best places in Maharashtra to experience pre-monsoon clouds.

From October to February the climate is pleasant and you can enjoy the breathtaking view of the surrounding regions. Remember, still it becomes hot in the afternoon, so try to complete your trek as early as possible. Check for moon status online if you want to experience stars. On a no-moon day, the stars are visible to their brightest.

Can I do Harishchandragad Fort Trek Alpine Style / Solo Trek?

Yes, if you are a regular trekker since the route is marked well. If you are a fresher/seasonal trekker don't try to risk your life while trekking and always take a local guide, so just ask for the trek guide at the place you are staying or at the base village. Only local guide hiring will cost you around INR 700 or alternatively, you can take a package that includes a guide, stay, dinner, lunch & breakfast for INR 1200.

Things to carry for Harishchandragad Fort Trek?

  • Carry some ready-to-eat food, atleast 2-3 litres of water and a first aid box.

  • Please do not throw bottles or leave any trash behind. It spoils the beauty and environment.

  • Please get a proper trekking shoe with a grip and if possible carry a walking stick also.

  • Talk to the native villagers gently and give respect to them, because you are their guests.

  • Wear a full-sleeved T-shirt and Pants, which will protect you from wild insects. It's a jungle, we are bound to bump into these wild insects like leeches.

  • For a night trek: Very important to carry a torch with extra batteries (Extra batteries for backup). Don't rely on your phone’s torch - preferably buy a headlamp.

  • Carry some warm clothes during winter. - Temperature could drop below 10° Celsius

  • Harischandragad is a pleasant place to visit pretty much throughout the year. The scorching heat of summer makes trekking uncomfortable and hence you can avoid doing a day hike during summer (between late February and late May).

  • Carry an ID proof.

Catch As Catch Can - Harischandragad:

Harishchandragad Snapshot:

Region: Malshej Ghat

District: Ahmednagar

Range: Harishchandragad

Height: 4671 feet

Grade: Moderate (Pachnai Route)

Duration: 2 days

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