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The Complete Guide to Chandan Vandan Trek

On the boundaries of Satara and Mahabaleshwar, the twin forts of Chandan Vandan rise like sentinels at an altitude of 3800 feet. These forts were built to protect the routes leading to Satara.

Chandan Vandan, being at a vantage point, offers lovely views of the valley and hamlets below.

➤ Highlights

  • The twin forts of Chandan – Vandan offer panoramic views of the hills around and lovely villages along with ancient temples, mosques, unique old banyan tree and balance equipoise stone structure that has remained unchanged in years.
  • Treks around Wai are characterized by their easy climbs, beautiful lakes, lush green plateau and picturesque villages.
  • Several waterfalls flow down the fort walls through the lively green valleys and into the paddy fields.

➤ Trail Information

Trek route: Rautwadi Village – Vandan Fort – Chandan Fort – Ibrahimpur Village

The trail

The trail for the Chandan Vandan trek starts from behind the huge water tank that supplies water to Rautwadi village. From the water tank move to your right and continue to walk in the direction of Vandan fort. In a couple of minutes, you come across a stream. Cross the stream and gradually ascend. You can see a small hill on the right-hand side with several windmills. Continue hiking on the mud trail for around 15 – 20 minutes and you will be able to see the Rautwadi village below. Another 15 – 20 minutes of hike and you can see Chandan fort on the right and the col between Chandan and Vandan fort right ahead of you.

Vandan fort

To enter the fort, you need to reach the bastion which is on the other side. You take a left from the col. It takes around 45 – 50 minutes to reach the col from Rautwadi village. Continue to move on the mud trail and within a few minutes, you will see the bastion and the fort gates. It takes around 50 minutes to an hour to reach the entrance gate.

Vandan Fort has two entrance doors. One of the doors is intact while the other is dilapidated. You can see a Ganesh idol carved on one of the door walls. Enter through the gate and continue to hike on the rocky trail. Within 10 minutes, you reach the top. From the top, you can see the Ibrahimpur and the Banawadi village and a small lake/dam built near the Banawadi village for irrigation purposes. There is a lake, mosque, house/warehouse and several tombs at the top of the fort. It takes around 20 – 25 minutes to cover the top of the fort. 

Chandan fort

To go to Chandan fort, you need to proceed back towards the col. It takes around 10 – 15 minutes to reach the col. From the col. you can see the rock patches of Chandan fort.

To enter the Chandan fort you need to traverse the small dirt trail towards the other end of the fort (towards Ibrahimpur village). It takes around 25 – 30 minutes to reach the other side. Once you reach the end, start ascending the ridge till you come across a series of steps. After a couple of steps,  you come across a structure that was once a part of the entrance gate. You can see a small tomb in front of this gate.

Continue on the trail for a few minutes till you come across the ancient Chakreshwar Mahadev temple. Inside the temple, there are five “lingas” on two stone structures. Many pilgrims visit this temple every year in the month of ‘Shravan’. Just next to the temple, you can see a huge Banyan tree.  It is a group of 5 banyan trees and hence called “Paachvad”.

Continue ahead and you will come across two stone structures. Small boulders stacked one above the other arranged eccentrically. Pass through the stone structures and you come across Hz. Gous Paak R.A. dargah. As you move further, you come across a big well that has water throughout the year. At the other end of the fort, you can see the ruins of the ammunition storehouse. It takes around 45 minutes to an hour to reach the top of Chandan fort from Vandan fort. At the end of the fort, you get an enthralling view of Vandan fort.

Once you have explored the entire area, return to the steps. From here, you can see a mud trail going down to Ibrahimpur village. You get a bird’s eye view of the Banawadi dam and the hill covered with windmills. It takes around 20 – 25 minutes to reach the village from here.

➤ How to Reach the Base of the Trek

Wai is a weekend getaway from Pune and a popular location for movie shoots. How could it not be? After the rains, Wai is a postcard-perfect green. Bavdhan Village is 1.5 km from the Wai ST depot.

You can either stay at the base of the temple in Bavdhan or at a hotel in Wai before and after the trek.

➤ What to Pack for your Trek

Since it is just a one day trek, you will only need the following things.

  • Small 20L backpack
  • One litre bottle
  • A jacket or poncho in case of rain
  • Snacks