Pandavgad Trek (4177 ft from sea level)
Base Location: Gundewadi village (10Km from wai & about 75 Km from Pune )
How to Reach
Ways to reach:
- We took the train ( shirdi express 51033) from mumbai to shivjinagar, Pune. From shivaji nagar to Swarget rickshaw ( 20 rs per seat in rickshaw).From Swarget we had booked a trax with Mr. Subhash (9757948564). He drove us to all the places around Wai ( You can take a bus to wai as well and get down at Gundewadi)
- From Swarget we took the Pune_bangalore highway took right turn for Bhor ( search on google map Swargat, Pune to Bhor)
- From Bhor we drove through the Mandhaardev Ghat on the Bhor-Wai road, till we reached the Gundevadi base village ( search on google map Bhor to Gundewadi)
From Gundewadi about 90 minutes walk to reach the fort. V
2) There is another route (which we did not take) from Menavli. After crossing the canal of ‘Dhom’ dam near Menavali, Pandavgad becomes visible. After walking for half an hour from there is a plateau from where there are two routes to the fort. One is a long route, which takes around 1 and ½ hrs. Second route is a straight ascent, which takes maximum one hour. (Needs to be verified)
After the Chalukyas, Shilahar dynasty established their rule over Panhalgad in Kolhapur and the Deccan region. As per a copper plate inscription of 1191-1192, Shilahar King Bhoj-II built the fort. This fort was formerly under the rule of Adilshahi. On 7th Oct 1673, the Marathas won the fort and included it in Swarajya. But in 1701 Aurangjeb captured the fort. This fort was took back again by Chatrapati Shahu Maharaj. And in 1818 British took over the Pandavgad.
The fort was belonging to Mr Sarvodaya wadia till the early 2010, which was then sold to Mapro
On the Fort
Things to look forward to:
- Mr. Sarvodaya Wadia’s House, which accommodates 10 persons.
- A lake
- Main Entrance
- Hanuman Mandir & Grinding wheel ( Chunyachi Ghani)
- ‘Pandjai’ temple, which accommodates 15 to 20 persons
- Rock Cut water cisterns
Its just a pleasant walk upto to the top.Supremely Easy.
we did it on 1st October.It was heavenly and soothingly windy.The Karvi flowers(Strobilanthes Callosus) painted the route purplish blue 🙂
Near By Places to visit near Wai:
- Dhundi Vinayak Mandir
- Dholya Ganpati Mandir
- Kashi Vishweshwar mandir
- Chakreshwar Mandir
- Agnimukh hanuman
- Bhairav Mandir, Bavdhan
- Birth place of rani lamibai mother’s palace ( couldnt find this )
- Paga Talim
- Nana Phadanvis Wada ( Menavli)
- 111 year old Goshala
Near By Places to visit near Panchgani: (PanchGani is 14km from wai)
- Khindergad ( Rajapuri caves)
- Sydney points
- Parsi Point
- Mapro Garden
- Bhor Rajwada
- Sahipar Bhor
- Bhatghar Dam
- Neckless point ( Katyar Kaljat ghusli)
There are many picturesque points in PanchGani. Covered the above points, you can also do the following:
- Table Land
- Kate’s Point (Elephant Rock)
- Mahabaleshar Temple
- Connaught Peak
- wilson Point
- Lodwick point
- Venna lake
- Arthur’s Seat
- Dhom Dam
Its been 2 months since stok Kangri trek, I havent been on any trek since i was working on the website.Now that the website is fairly built i want to vent out the frustration of not getting the promoted in office. The timing for Prasad to propose this trek went hand in hand with my frustration. I accepted the proposal without giving it a second thought ( Thanks God i did that. It was a serene trek )
The journey began on 30 September when i was supposed to take the 51033 Shirdi Express at 2335 hrs from Thane. Earlier that morning while i was packing my bag, my bags chain gave way. I tried to get it together by sewing, but it was a sorry ass effort. Hence decided to go in search of new 40L trek bag (ideal for 2 day treks) in the evening after office. It became pretty hectic to find a good bag and took a lot of time.Came back home late , had the parcelled dinner , packed my new bag in a hurry and set off to reach the station on time
Took the train from thane at 2335hrs , i met Vinod who boarded the train from dadar.
There was a guy in my seat.I let him seat till Kalyan, where my other freinds would take the train.This guy was a great human being.He found a pointed nail coming out from a neighbouring seat.So instead of just cribbing about it , he took the pains to remove it . I assisted him.If not for him the nail would have definitley pierced someone badly.
Guru, Ananta and Santosh got in from kalyan. And the long lost freinds 🙂 started talking , abusing like anything.we wished prasad a happy birthdat at midnight ( he was to join us in pune in the morning). I told them about my plan to start writting blogs about all my treks and travels. This got them excited and their excitement got me motivated.
we decided to call it a night at around 0100 hrs to let the neighbours sleep 😀
Its 0300 hrs and i still couldn’t sleep.This has been my problem since long of not being able to sleep in trains and flights. Before i could get my 40 winks we reached Shivajinagar station. we got out of the train half sleepy and in my case sleepless.
we got out of the station and straight to the ATM. All our busy asses didnt have enough cash on us.Estimated cost for 2 days of adventure was to be Rs1500. If the same thing had been done thorugh a professional organiser it would have costed 5000 upwards. Our Group , we call ourselves the Chandrakore trekkers, consists mostly of like minded people who trek on a TTMM basis and our trek are low maintenance, high on adrenline and not for profit. Some branding !
we took the rickshaw at 0400 hrs on 1st october from shivaji nagar to swargate. The rickshaw- wallas asked for 30rs per person , we haggled it to 20rs per person. This is the same guy who paid 1400rs for a backpack without a word.
At Swargate, Had hot poha outside the station.Nothing like it at morning 0430 hrs.After a while we met Prasad , his wifey Amruta ( cute couple) and ananta’s freind Kiran. Its Prasad’s birthday and his birthday trek. This is how we celebrate.
Bleary eyed we packed our bags in the trax and got ourselves cosy to try and get some sleep.It would atleast be an hour before we reached Gundewadi, the base village.Some people can sleep through anything even the powerful beats played by the driver to keep him from sleeping.I dont have that superpower, I barely slept for 10 minutes. I woke up being slid over my seat by the trax going crazy over the Maandhardev-wai Ghat.The view outside made me come alive .The green hills kissing the clouds was too much excitement for me. I forgot the sleepless night i had.
The photos taken from the moving vehicle turned out of focus.Got this instead.
All the pictures have been beautifully captured by Kiran Sumbe and Santosh Raorane.
On the top of the ghat we reached a diversion, one going towards Maandhardev and other towards wai. we took the wai road.The trax continued to be a roller coaster ride. we reached the the base village by 0700hrs.
The first glimpse of the fort were awe inspiring.The fort stood out as a crown from amongst the lush green hills
Since it was the the first day of Navratri, there was a festive season even at such an early time. People were carrying fire torches like olympic torches running over the road to reach a neighbouring temple.
we had a small breakfast of fruits & parathas, kept our bags in the trax and started off for the first trek of the day.
The route was super scenic.
The climb started of at a slow pace . we were taking our time to get used to the beauty of the nature being unravelled.
Truly a feast for sore eyes.
Flames of the forest
Soon enough we caught the first glimpse of the stairs
The small flowers continued to paint the road firey yellow
The vibrant colours made me feel like staying there forever.
Only if i had a place to live. Voila !!!!
We were half way through. The better half awaits 😀
The final stairway to heaven
The Yellow flowers had now surrendered to the violet hills.
The bluish violet karvi flowers had painted the route beautifully.
We reached the top in around two hrs , we could have been faster had it not been the beautiful nature urging us to take so many pics.
On reaching the plateau , the first place we reach is an old house.Currently housing the fort caretakers for Mapro. Mr Narhari uncle gave us lots of information about the fort (specified at the start ).
If you plan you can stay here .His number
From there a road lead to the beautiful rock cut cisterns which are still used for water storage for the daily activities on the fort.
Going in taking another right we pass across a lake , which has been fairly maintained.But lots of grass and vegetation around after monsoon.
The small pink flowers embellished the route .A sickle would be useful to get a clear route after this.The grass is almost shoulder high and later on left me with itchy legs since i was wearing shorts.
The huge bastion is still standing properly.
Through the tall grass,beside the bastion is the main entrance of the fort.The entrance is dilapidated and just a skeleton of its former self. Trying to put some charm to the remains with our smile
Beautiful flower on the way
Going ahead we saw a Hanuman mandir and a stone grinder opposite to it. The idol of Lord Hanuman and the grinder are in fairly good condition.
After this we reached the Pandjai Devi temple. The temple may have its glory days behind it but it does have a roof and is fairly maintained.Inside the temple perimeter is a Shiv ling and a Nandi. Outside the temple are few carved stones and small pillars.
After this we tried going ahead a bit, but the path disappeared into denser vegetation and we decided to return. On the way back
Another group pic on the way back
After we reached the wadia’s house once again, we chomped on the ‘Tuti ‘ fruits aka Mulberry ( Morus Alba).
After that we started to descend. My sojourn at my short term dwelling
Enroute the base village we put up markings to help the other trekkers.
A small snack and we were off to wai. The Pandavgad fort in the backdrop
Our next destination , the Shiva Temple at Menavli where many Bollyood movies have been shot including Dabang, Swades, Gangajal,Mangal Pandey and the list goes on.
The Menavli temple & the Nana Phadanvis palace built on the banks of the Krishna river are very scenic. The temple stands peacefully on the banks of a lazily flowing Krishna river.No wonder why so many flicks are shot over here .It is very calm and serene.Very good for the people to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city for a chilled out silent outing . Good for peaceful deep thinking 🙂 .
History Of the Temple
Nana Phadnis was a senior minister of the Peshwas. He built a wada for residing on the banks of river Krishna. He also constructed the beautiful temple.
Chimaji Appa collected five large bells from Vasai Fort after he won the war against Portuguese . He offered the bells at Bhimashankar , at Menavali (in front of a Shiva Temple) , Banshanker temple( Pune), Omkareshwar Temple( Pune) and Ramlinga temple Shirur.
The beautiful architecture of the temple
The Bell in front of the Meneshar Temple houses a 650 kg bell.As mentined earlier it was captured by Bajirao-the first’s brother Chimaji Appa from a cathedral in the porteguse fort in Bassein or as it is called now Vasai. The bell is dated 1707.
we took few and enjoyed the peace of this place.
After spending a lots of chilled out moment we went to the Nana Phadanvis palace.
Nana Phadnavis palace
At the entry of the palace is an old tree with a massive trunk. For all the filmy junkies the movie Swades has few scenes shot underneath the tree.
History of the Nana phadanvis palace
Bhavan Rao Trymbak Pant-Pratinidhi of Aundh and Raghunath Ghanshyam Mantri (Satara) bestowed the village of Menavali to Nana Phadnavis in December 1768. Nana Phadnavis settled the village and built himself the Wada with the ghat on the river Krishna and the two temples, one dedicated to Lord Vishnu and another to Meneshwar Lord Shiva.
The Palace shows hints of Peshwa-era architectural combinations of a Wada-type residence, a Ghat on a water-body and a Temple.
Nana, maintained Peshwa’s documents of accounts and administrative letters in the ancient “Modi” script. These documents, known as the famous “Menavli Daptar” were preserved in this Wada at Menavali.
After Nana Phadnavis died in 1800, the Peshwa Bajirao-II, confiscated the Wada.After that the property was returned by the british to Nana’s wife in 1804.
After her death, the palace went to Nana’s descendants.Having split the major part of his properties between themselves, the Wada is still owned jointly by them all.
Talk with the old caretaker
Professor Govande has been taking care of this palace since ages and shared great insights with us. He pointed out that the palace was built according to the principles of Feng Shui. And at that time the Feng Shui was avaialble only in English.Thus proving that Nana was proficient in English.This helped him to break the British Code easily and thus develop a strong spy system
There is a dark musty, narrow, steep staircase concealed in the metre-thick wall to the floor above. The staircase was at once secret and easily secured, admitting only one person at a time into Nana Phadnavis’s darbar hall.
Besides the Darbar,
Nana Phadnavis’s reception “darbar” hall has an attached bedroom with a teakwood bedstead. The teakwood bedstead is an intricately carved four-poster.
The floor is swept with clay and cowdung. Outside the palace building towards the right is a beautiful gravity based fountain
The beautiful painting of the glorious days
Here’s some more royal feel
The exit of the palace leading to the Krishna river near the Menavli temple
After taking this historical tour we decided to tour the famous Dholya Ganpati Temple in wai before we started of with our next trek of VairatGad.
Dholya Ganpati Wai
Wai is known as the Southern Kashi. The temples are located on the banks of the scenic river Krishna. we decided to do the Dholya Ganpati mandir first and do couple of more the next day.
The temple was built in 1762 by Raja Bhoja of the Shilahar dynasty.It took then a whopping Rs. 1.5 lakh and 10 years of work to complete this temple. If it was to be built today it would be 100’s of crores.
There is a hug hall at the entrance, with stone floors. The back of the temple is shaped as a fish to protect the structure from floods . The Ganapati idol is monolithic, and of huge size 10 ft tall and 8 ft wide, this large size lead it to being called Dholya ( meaning fat in marathi). We felt very peaceful in this place and forgot to click any pics of the almighty.
Besides this temple is another famous temple of Kashi-vishweshwar Shiva temple. The rock cut temple gives a very pristine feel.
The huge Nandi outside the temple.
Finally the Lord Shiva Pind
It’s around 1300 hrs and we are hungry as hell. A quick lunch at the Amantran hotel at the intersection near the temple and we are off to the next trek for the day at Vairatgad 🙂 Click here to read about vairatgad-trek