Tryambakgad/ ShriGad / Brahmagiri & Bhandardurg trek (4248 ft from sea level)
Saw a message on our group regarding the Brahmagiri trek. Brahmagiri has the origin of River Godavari and has huge religious sentiment as Lord Shankar appeared here briefly to absolve Goutam Rishi. There is another fort on the other side of Brahmagiri known as DurgaBhandar or Bhandardurg fort. Durgabhandar / Bhandardurg is not an independent fort, but a part of Brahmagiri.
Brahmagiri is about 1900 ft above its base village.
History Of Brahmagiri
Lord Shankar was pleased with Lord Brahma when he meditated here and said ” I shall be known by your name”. Hence it is called as Brahmagiri.
Five peaks of this mountain are called Sadyo-Jata, Vamdev, Aghora, Ishana and Tat-Purusha and are considered as five mouths of the Lord Shiva and they are worshipped.
The water flows in three directions on the Brahmagiri mountain. The one flowing towards east becomes Godavari river, one flowing towards the south is Vaitarna river and the one flowing towards the west is called the west-flowing Ganga and meets Godavari near Chakra Tirth. River Ahilya meets Godavari in front of the Trimbakeshwar temple. Childless families worship at the Ahilya sangam and it is believed that they do get a child.
Many saints have supposed to done penance on this hill and as such this hill has a lot of religious value.
How to reach
One can easily reach from Nashik to Trimbakeshwar (29 Km) through the myriad transport facilities available.
the route from base location of Brahmagiri to the top
On the Fort
Things to look out for on Brahmagiri include:
- The two entrance doors & the rock cut stairs after the entrance
- The Shiv jata Temple, The Origin of river Godavari, The Brahmagiri temple
- The Rock cut cisterns
- The view from the top overlooking the Fort Anjaneri on the East side
- The view from the top overlooking the Fort Harihareshwar on the west side
Fairly pleasant walk to the top. However the monkeys can cause havoc on the stairs, if you are planning to do a solo trek. While getting down the stairs the knees are bound to take a lot of pressure
- Try to take the normal route ( not the stairs) wherever possible while getting down
- Carry some spare food which you can use to divert the monkeys attention.
- Also keep your cameras mobile etc packed properly within the confines of your bag. Loose items will be snatched. A lady’s purse was stolen by monkeys. It had her iPhone6.Monkeys still ping their selfies to her friends 😀
The grade of BhandarDurg is a not that easy and definitely not meant for those who are scared of heights.
We decided to meet up at kalyan from where Khade kaka would pick us up in his XUV. The pack had Khade Kaka, Nikam kaka, Chawla Uncle, Omkar, Guru, Sanjog Karande & Nihil.
We started of from Kalyan at around midnight. We took the Nashik highway and took a left from Ghoti to reach Trimbakeshwar at about 3 in the morning .
We had a short nap for 2 hrs and started the trek
Walking under the moonlight accompanied with the cold wind was a cool experience.
In the year 1908, Seth Lalchand Jashodanand Bhambhani of Karachi and Seth Ganeshdas built 500 steps of stone at a cost of Rs. 40,000.
we saw beautiful carvings on the way like the following
By the time we reached the main stairs the visibility had increased. And we expected the sun to be out in a while.
Here is where we had the first encounter with the monkeys near the stairs.
The monkeys are super oppressive . They would not think twice about attacking the people. We were 7 well built guys , but it was irrelevant to them. We had to keep out cameras in the bag and use sticks as a minimum credible deterrence 😛
First I felt mad at the behavior of the monkeys, but then it was we who were intruding their space. Kind of whats happening in the world.
Amidst all the commotion the rock carved route looked beautiful.
Some more carvings
Soon enough we reached the main door.
A cave on the way.
Reached the second door
Through this door the stairs are cut in the rock and you can feel the coolness in the air as you walk through the ravine stairs.
At the end of the stairs, we reached the plateau where we could clearly see the vast nature lit beautifully in the aniticipation of the sunrise.
Moving ahead saw a Shivling .
Going ahead towards the main fort , the light had become more prominent. A quick prayer at the Hanuman Mandir for enough power to complete todays trek and as a blessing received this instantaneous gift.
Besides temple is a well and if you position yourself properly you can enjoy the above beautiful view.
Moving further the little yellow, pink and purple flowers can put Kaspathar or its bigger brother the Valley of flowers to shame.
Talegoan kachutli lake at the other side also shines in the morning glory. Also the Harihar fort shines in the morning glory.
The sun had now just crowned from over the hills and the view was amazing .
The cold wind and few more pics.
From here we headed to the shiv jata mandir. It is situated on the western border of the fort at the very edge.
It is a legend that Goutam Rishi were responsible for killing a cow. To absolve him of his sins Lord Shankar appeared and rammed his hair against the rocks in the temple.He also made the River Ganges appear there. There are some marks in the temple believed to be some evidence of the same and one can also see a small spring of water.
Besides the temple one can get potable(drinkable) water.
After that we headed to the BhandarDurg Fort.
History of Bhandardurg
From the year 1271 to almost 1311 the fort was under the regime of King of Devgiri. Around about 1553 , Nijamshahi took control of this fort. On Nijamshahi’s behalf the fort was controlled by Shahaji Raje from 1633 to 1636. After that the fort changed hands to The Mughals. By 1670 the fort was bought in Swarajya by Moropant Pingle. By 1691 the fort was again the control of Mughals.
In the year 1752, the warrior from Peshwa’s camp, Trimbak Suryaji Prabhu wrested the fort and established the Peshwa’s regime there. It was in the year 1818 that British forces led by Mc Dowell wrested the fort and gained upper hand in the region as the forces won a set of 16 other forts in the vicinity.
Sourced from Internet
Its easy. A bit of strength and walking will can take you through. The route may be a bit of issue for people scared of heights.
The way to Bhandardurg passes through a scenic route, With small yellow flowers accompanying us all the way till the steps of the Bhandardurg become visible.
The rock cut cistern visible on the way.
Towards the right of this cistern the route goes back around the hill to meet the plain land of Brahmagiri. We take the straight road to Bhandardurg
The route passes from the edge of the hills and gives you some adrenaline pump as the route is not visible amongst thick vegetation. Finally reached the stairs
There is a hanuman idol carved in the rocks at the start of the stairs
The stairs are beautifully cut inside the huge rocks. I wonder how the route would appear if the water cascaded over these beautiful rock cut steps.
The stairs are as an example of the architecture marvel.Just to give the reference of the height
At the end of the Stairs , the steps curve a bit to lead to a small opening to take us across. One can only crawl across this spot due to the space crunch.
This used to be a full fledged door which is now appears as a small window due to the soil completely covering the area.Once on the other side we are suddenly exposed to the vast rocky walls of the Bhandardurg fort.
At the bottom of this narrow rocky passage towards the right side is the third temple having the origin of river ganga (gangadwar).
Now we cross the small path that connects us to the next stair. The path is pretty narrow and leads to a small adrenaline jump. On the other side is a similar stair case to lead us to the top of the Bhandardurg. We crawl in through the small opening in the rock and reach the stairs.
If one is to look at this from far away, the route would not be visible to the naked eye. As such we can see the smartness in building such a formidable fort.
Through the small entrance we reach the another section of the rock cut stairs. The stairs are again beautiful to say the least.
A selfie in on all the darkness
The steps are really beautiful
At the top, the overall view after a short time in relative darkness overwhelmed me.
We scrapped our way though vegetation to see another pair of rock cut cisterns.
A look back and we could see the Gangadwar at the bottom of the rocky wall
We walked further to reach the end of the fort where we had last group of rock cut stairs to lead us to a bastion.
The spot has commanding position and gives a large area coverage of the Trimbak region and the lake region and the villages at the bottom. Very strategic location. Guru looking out for enemies.
We met another person who was doing a solo trek. A quick group pic for his family to believe that he had done the trek with us 😀 .After a small brunch we started our return journey.
The stairs still continued to appeal me. They are just a marvel away from the limelight. That’s the reason it is still clean. One last slide to see them again
We took the same route back to reach the Shiv Jata mandir and started towards the main temple where the river Godavari originates.
Some beautiful flowers on the way
We reached the Brahmagiri temple of Lord Shiva.
In front this temple is the idol of GodaMai Goddess below which the river originates from the Gomukh into the kund and then the water disappears in the ground.
A little further is the temple where the river originates from under the routes of the tree. Here there are many idols including those of Gautam Rishi with his wifey.
Few idols around Mulganga
Towards the south there is a Hathi Darwaja( Doors used for getting Elephants on the fort) . However the door has been in shambles due to loose rocks and erosion. We decided to visit it some times later in the future.
And now we had another small brunch. Nothing can beat the coolth of lemonade. Few more chappatis and we were all set for the return journey
With the sun out the things looked different than in the morning.We reached the main stairs the exit of the fort.
The monkeys had gained strength and aggression. A big ass monkey was hell bent on giving us a heart attack. We tried attacking it with a stick but he showed no signs of backing off and kept on walking forward towards us. The monkey did scare us. Finally some bright mind threw a piece of chapatti at the side of the road to distract the monkey and let us pass away. Classic example of protection money.
At the bottom of the hill we reached what looked like a deserted palace with the Brahmagiri in the back drop.
The palace is very beautiful with intricate carvings & idols. However it has been defaced by idiots who dont appreciate our culture & history.There is water tank behind the palace
After that we put our religious caps on and decided to do the famous shrines below the rocky walls of bhandardurg.
Gangadwar, Gorakshanath cave & 108 Swayambhu Jyotirlinga:
From Trimbakeshwar, through regular steps, Ganga dwar can be reached through around 700 stairs. Since were at a higher altitude we took the shortcut as I have mentioned in the the map. The shopkeepers said it would be covered in 30 minutes. But all the efforts since morning had tired us.
There is a shrine dedicated to Goddess Ganga. The river appears here as coming out from the mouth of Nandi. The water for this Ganga first starts from the two temples we visited earlier , the water then vanishes into the mountain to reappear over here and then to vanish again to reappear at the Ram teerth mentioned below.
Kolambika Devi temple is seen nearby. Kolambika an avatar of Parvati, who killed Rakshas Kolasura.
108 swayambhu shivalingas
Next we headed toward 108 shivalingas self formed in a cave . Here Guatam Rishi and his wife Ahilya worshipped 108 shivalingas.
At the extreme end is another cave. We were very tired but were determined to complete this last point.
This is the cave where Guru Gorkahnath meditated . He also gave Brahma gyaan ( Knowledge of spiritual essence) to Saint Nivruttinath , elder brother of Saint Gyaneshwar. Here a shivlinga and his original sandals are still present in small cave . Cameras are not allowed hence no pics.
The panaromic view from this place is too good
On the way back through the stairs we reached a place called Shree Ram teerth. It is believed that Shree Ram hit the arrow here and the river Godavari appeared here. Shree Ram is said to have made Shraadh of his father and ancestors here. The River again disappears in the ground after this spot
After this spot we had no power and nothing else left to visit. We came down with the excessive pressure on our knees. The Stairs cause too much of pressure on joints.
Reached our XUV. Had a big lunch in a nearby hotel and left for Mumbai. One last view of the fort
Till next time. Adios.