Markandeya Fort Trek

A Perfect Alternative to Kalsubai Peak Trek
Difficulty
Difficulty
Easy-Moderate
Duration
Duration
1 Day
Trek type
Trek type
Day Trek
Altitude
Max Altitude
4,383 ft
Required Fitness
Base
Mulane Village
Best time to visit
Best time to visit
August to February

Markandeya Fort Trek

Markandeya fort trek is one of the less crowded treks in Nashik region. Though it is just 52 km from Nashik, not many people do this trek. 

Markandeya fort trek is the perfect alternative to the famous Kalsubai trek. It has similar sections, challenges and most importantly better views from the top. 

Having situated at an altitude of 4,384 ft above sea level offers beautiful views of other famous peaks and forts. 

It is believed that the holy Hindu sage Markandeya lived on the fort and safeguarded the brahmins from Bhimasur and other demons. You can see a temple of Markandeya on the top of the fort. 

Table of Contents

Just like you, we love trekking! We’ve tried to cover all the trail information as much as possible. This document is in great detail to help you do it on your own. 

To navigate through the documentation easily, use this section of Table of Contents

What to watch out for

A vast plateau with historical spots

After a steep climb from the village, you come to a vast plateau streaming with views, stone idols, water reservoirs. 

There are many interesting relics and volcanic rocks that are unbreakable. You can also find a few ashrams where Sadhus stay. 

Markandeya Fort-Idols on the plateau-Indiahikes-Saini Krishnamurthy
Idols, seen on the Plateau. Notice the Saptashrungi peak in the background. Picture by Saini Krishnamurthy

Markandeya Temple at the tip of the fort 

The Markandeya temple is placed at the tip of the fort. This is the place where the Hindu sage Markandeya stayed and used to meditate. 

During the monsoon season, this temple will be surrounded by lush green grass with blooming flowers.  

Markandeya Fort-view of the fort from plateau-Indiahikes-Saini Krishnamurthy
Markandeya Temple at the tip of the fort. Picture by Saini Krishnamurthy

Magnificent views of famous forts

Markandeya fort from the top offers beautiful views of the famous peaks and forts. 

You can see the grand forts of Ravlya-Javlya, Saptashrungi, Dhodap, Kanchana-Manchana, Chota bandya- mota bandya. 

If the weather is clear, you get to spot even the Indrai fort of Satmala hill range.

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Trail Information

The Markandeya fort trek trail can be divided into 3 sections.

  1. The starting point(Mulane Village) to the Plateau – 20 minutes
  2. On the plateau – 1 hour
  3. From Plateau to the top of the fort – 30 minutes
Markandeya Fort Trek-Route map-Indiahikes
Trail Map of Markandeya Fort Trek. Source: Google Earth. Picture Courtesy Nayana Jambhe

GPX file for the Markandeya Fort Trek

We go to great length to ensure you have a safe trek. So here’s a GPX file of the trail to help you navigate without getting lost. Click here to download the file.

Markandeya Fort Trek Via Mulane Village(Easy-Moderate)

Section I: From the starting point (Mulane Village) to the Plateau

Trek Distance: 600 m 
Trek Duration: 20 minutes
GPS coordinates of the starting point at Mulane village:  20°22’37.27″N, 73°56’9.85″E
GPS coordinates of the Plateau:  20°22’40.28″N, 73°55’52.94″E

Trek to the Markandeya fort starts from Mulane village. 

If you are travelling by bus, they stop you exactly in front of the starting point. 

Trek from here is a gradual ascent till the starting point of the plateau. It has a trail with loose rocks. However, there are railings throughout the trek for the safety of trekkers.

Markandeya Fort-trail before plateau-Indiahikes-Saini Krishnamurthy
The trail from the starting point that has railings all the way. Picture by Saini Krishnamurthy

The last stretch to reach the Plateau is slightly higher than the trekking trail. To make it easier to climb for trekkers, there is an iron ladder that leads you to the plateau. 

Be careful while climbing this ladder. Though there are supports on both sides, it can be scary because of the inclination. 

Markandeya Fort-ladder before plateau-Indiahikes-Kailesh Padvekar
Steep Iron ladder to reach the plateau. Picture by Kailesh Padvekar

Section II: On the Plateau

Trek Distance: 2 km
Trek Duration:  1 hour 
GPS coordinates of the Plateau:  20°22’40.28″N, 73°55’52.94″E

After a short trek from the starting point, you reach a vast plateau. The plateau itself is around 2 km. 

The view from here is spectacular. You can see Ravlya-Javlya and Dhodap fort. The trail which you climbed up is also clearly visible from here. 

Markandeya Fort-View-Indiahikes-Saini Krishnamurthy
View from the Plateau. Spot the Ravlya-Javlya and Dhopdap. Picture by Saini Krishnamurthy

There are many ashrams, idols, many relics and volcanic stones that are unbreakable. You can also see water reservoirs here. Spend an hour exploring the entire plateau.

Markandeya Fort-Idols on the plateau-Indiahikes-Saini Krishnamurthy
Idols, seen on the Plateau. Notice the Saptashrungi peak in the background. Picture by Saini Krishnamurthy

Do not forget to see the fort visible in front of you.

When describing the view, this is what Saini Krishnamurthy who has helped us documenting this trek has to say – “The view of the temple from the plateau looks like a cherry on the cake.”

Markandeya Fort-view from plateau-Indiahikes-Saini Krishnamurthy
Spot the temple on the top. Picture by Saini Krishnamurthy

Tip: Fill your water bottles here. This is the last point where you can get potable water.

Section III: From Plateau to the top of the Fort

Trek Distance: 1 km
Trek Duration: 30 minutes
GPS coordinates of the Plateau: 20°23’6.37″N, 73°55’44.95″E
GPS coordinates of the Top:  20°23’4.89″N, 73°55’35.01″E

After exploring the plateau, start the trek towards the top. Trek from here has a steep ascent. However, railing on the trail makes it easy to climb.

Markandeya Fort-trail after plateau-Indiahikes-Saini Krishnamurthy
The climb after the Plateau. Observe how steep the trail looks. Also, see the Dhodap and Ravlya-Javlay fort behind you. Picture by Saini Krishnamurthy

The trail continues to be the same for another 600 metres. You will be trekking in a gully most of the time which has rock-cut steps and loose rocks. Make sure you wear proper trekking shoes. 

As soon as you finish the steep ascent you come to a clearing where the temple is visible. Walk up to the trail and reach the end to get one of the best views of the famous peaks and forts.

Markandeya Fort-at the temple-Indiahikes-Saini Krishnamurthy
The Markandeya temple on the top. Picture by Saini Krishnamurthy

This is the place where the Hindu sage Markandeya stayed and used to meditate.

Markandeya Fort-temple-Indiahikes-Saini Krishnamurthy
The idol of Markandeya, seen inside the temple. Picture by Saini Krishnamurthy

You get a sense of peace as soon as you reach the top. You will not get this kind of utter peace anywhere in the Maharastra treks. Spend some time relaxing. 

From the top, you can see Ravlya-Javlya, Saptashrungi fort, Dhodap, Chota Bandya and Mota Bandya, Kanchana-Manchana. If the weather is clear you can also see Indrai fort.  

Markandeya Fort-View-Indiahikes-Saini Krishnamurthy
The famous forts you see from the Markandeya temple. Picture by Saini Krishnamurthy

The descent is the same route as you came up. 

Since the return trail becomes steep and slippery, you need to be very careful while descending. Take the complete support of railings if you need. 

It will take an hour to reach you back to the village. 

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Markandeya Fort Trek Via Saptashrungi Gad(Moderate-Difficult)

The Markandeya trek can also be attempted from the valley between Markandeya fort and Saptashrungi gad. This trail is much more challenging and has steep sections when compared to the Mulane route.

Attempt this only if you are an experienced trekker. 

Trek Distance: 4.5 km 
Trek Duration: 3 and a half hour
GPS coordinates of the starting point at Saptashrungi Gad:   20°23’7.46″N, 73°54’42.80″E

The trek starts from the Saptashrungi Plateau. The trail follows a steep descent to a col. From the col a steep ascent to reach a plateau again and from here it joins the route of Markandeya trek from Mulane village. 

Markandeya Fort-Saptashrungi gad-Indiahikes-Saini Krishnamurthy
The starting point of the trek on Sapthashrungi Plateau. Picture by Saini Krishnamurthy
Markandeya Fort-Saptashrungi gad-Indiahikes-Saini Krishnamurthy
A steep descent from Saptashrungi Gad. Picture by Saini Krishnamurthy
Markandeya Fort-Saptashrungi col-Indiahikes-Saini Krishnamurthy
Carved stones in the col. Picture by Saini Krishnamurthy
Markandeya Fort-Saptashrungi plateau-Indiahikes-Saini Krishnamurthy
A Steep ascent towards the Markandeya fort after the col. Picture by Saini Krishnamurthy

After a steep climb, you reach the plateau where it joins the other route of Mulane. From the plateau, follow the trail mentioned in the main Trail Information section

For descending, consider the Mulane village route as it is easier compared to Saptashrungi gad trail.

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Best Season to do the Markandeya Fort Trek

The best time to do Markandeya Fort Trek is from August to February. During this period you can see the spectacular views from the first plateau as well as from the fort itself. This is the best time to see blooming wildflowers on the plateau as well as near the temple. 

Weather can be extremely hot during the summer. So trekking to the Markandeya fort is not recommended. 

The trail to the top has many rocky sections. They become slippery during the monsoon season. Hence, Markandeya fort trek is not advisable in the peak monsoon season. 

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Difficult sections on the Markandeya Fort Trek

Markandeya fort trek from Mulane village requires good endurance to complete. Though there are some difficult sections, enough supports like railings, ladders are given to make it safe. However, some of the things to keep in mind:

  1. The trek from the plateau towards the fort has some loose rocks and boulders. You need to be very careful while trekking.
  2. The final climb to the fort has rock-cut steps but they are 65 to 70 degree inclined. Make sure you maintain enough distance between fellow trekkers to avoid accidents. 
Markandeya Fort-Saptashrungi plateau-Indiahikes-Kailesh Padvekar
The trail on the final climb towards the temple. You can see the loose rocks on the trail. Picture by Kailesh Padvekar

The trail from Saptashrungi gad is very challenging. It has very steep sections and slippery trails throughout the trek. You can attempt this route only if you are an experienced trekker.

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How to reach Markandeya Fort Trek

Markandeya Fort Trek can be done from 2 routes:

  1. Mulane Village
  2. Saptashrungi gad

All of them can be accessible by public transportation as well as your own vehicle. 

Reaching the starting point by your own vehicle

If you are planning on reaching the Markandeya For trek via Mulane village on your own, use this link to help setup navigation in Google Maps. 

The distance from Mumbai to the starting point at Mulane village is 221 km. Get on to NH160 towards Nashik. Take a left at Amrutdham Chowk, Nashik. After 3 km take a right to get on to Satpur Nashik road. Continue on the same road for another 32 km. 

Once you cross the Vani main bus stand, take a right to continue onto Vani-Kalwan link road. After 9 km of drive on the same road, you reach the starting point of the trek. You can see a board on your left. Park your vehicle there in the village and start the trek. 

If you are planning on reaching the Markandeya For trek via Saptashrungi gad on your own, use this link to help setup navigation in Google Maps. 

Reaching the starting point by Public Transport System

From Mumbai, catch a local train to Nashik road. Get into any bus that goes towards Kalwan village from Nashik. Take a ticket to Mulane village. Inform conductor to stop at the entrance of Markandeya fort trek. The entire journey takes around 5 hours. 

If you do not want to take a bus from Nashik, there are many jeeps and taxis available that goes towards Kalwan village. But they charge you around Rs 600 per jeep. 

Return option: You can get the bus from where you got down at Mulane. After completing the trek you can come back to the starting point at Mulane and get a bus back to Mumbai

Stay options: There is a shed near the starting point at Mulane where you can rest for a while. There are many Ashrams on the plateau where you can stay for a night. Plateau is also a nice place to camp. 

Nearest Railway Station

Nashik road railway station

Nearest International and Domestic Airport

Surat Internation Airport: 206 km

Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai: 216 km

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Frequently asked questions about Markandeya Fort Trek

Do we need permission to do Markandeya Fort Trek?

Markandeya fort trek does not require permission from the forest department. You can do this trek on your own without any permission. 

Is camping allowed on Markandeya Fort Trek?

There are no restrictions on camping on this trek. You can camp on the plateau. There are many Ashrams that allow you to stay. You can also camp on the fort but there is no water source available on the top.

Are there any food and water sources available on Markandeya Fort Trek?

Markandeya Fort Trek starts from Mulane village. However, there is no reliable place where you can get good food. So it is better to pack food from Mumbai or Nashik. 

There are many fixed water sources available on the Plateau. You can find many taps and water sources built by villagers. Make sure you carry a minimum of 2 litres of water bottles and fill them at the plateau itself. 

Tip: If you are not comfortable with having water from outside carry purification tablets or life straw bottles to purify the water.

Who can do the Markandeya Fort Trek?

Markandeya Fort trek requires good endurance. Some of the sections are very steep. However, there is no section that requires technical skills. Hence a fit beginner can attempt this trek from Mulane village. 

If you have some trekking experience and wants to challenge your endurance, attempt this trek from the valley of Saptashrungi fort and Markandeya fort. 

What is the ideal time to start Markandeya Fort trek?

The ideal time to do Markandeya fort trek is to start as early as possible from the base village. 

Start from Mumbai around 11 PM on a Friday night. Take a local train to Nashik and reach the starting point of the Markandeya village around 4 AM. There is a shed at the entrance where you can rest for a while. 

Start the trek around 6.30 AM. You need 4 and a half hour to complete the trek. If you follow this timing, you will reach Mumbai before 9 PM.  

Emergency contact for Markandeya Fort Trek

Hospital: Datta Krupa super speciality hospital is the nearest hospital in the case of an emergency. 

Police Station: Dindori Police Station is the nearest police station to the Mulane village. It is 27 km away from the starting point of the trek. 

ERSS: For any kind of emergency help, you can contact the Pan-India Emergency Response Support System (ERSS) number- 112

ATMs and Network on the trek

ATMs: Kalwan is the nearest ATM where you can withdraw some cash. But make sure you carry a minimum of Rs 1500 per person from Mumbai itself.

Mobile Networks:  You get the signal at the Mulane village. Once you reach the top also few network providers catch the signal but they are very unstable. 

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Places to visit after the Markandeya Fort Trek

There are many famous forts around Markandeya fort. They are:

Dhodap Fort: Dhodap is the third highest hill peak in Maharashtra. The top of the fort is built using a combination of dressed stone and brickwork. It has a very unique structure. 

RavlyaJavlya: Ravlya and Javlya are a twin fort situated on a single hill plateau. The fort was built to overlook the trade route from Khandesh to Nashik. This twin fort is also called as Rola-Jola.

Saptashrungi gad: It is a site of Hindu Pilgrimage. There are 510 steps to climb the gad. Many devotees visit this place every day. It is also called as “Three and half Shakthi Peethas”. 

KanhergadThis fort is ruled by Marathas and Mughals before going to British. The top of this fort is very small. You can see the rock-cut bastion and a few caves on the top. Dhodap, Ravlya-Javlya, Sapthashrungi and Markandeya can be seen from the top.

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What To Pack For Markandeya Fort Trek

  • Basic First Aid kit*
  • Identity Card
  • Cap/ Scarf/ Bandana & Sunglasses
  • Water (Minimum two litres)
  • Lemon and salt OR Electrolyte Powder/Drink (Electral/Gatorade/Glucon D, etc.)
  • High-calorie snacks (Nuts & dry fruits, home-baked cake, etc.)
  • Safety Pins, Rubber bands & Whistle (Useful in emergencies.)
  • Quick Dry T-shirts are preferable over cotton tees.
  • Poncho, only during monsoons
  • Plastic sheet to wrap electronic devices, only during monsoons
  • Sunscreen (SPF 50+)
  • Optional: Trekking poles

*First aid kit:

  • Scissor
  • Band-aids (Regular & Waterproof)
  • Analgesic spray (Relispray, Volini, etc.)
  • Antiseptic Liquid (Savlon, Dettol etc.)
  • Antiseptic powder (Povidone-Iodine based powders like Cipladine, Savlon, etc.)
  • Cotton roll & Bandage
  • Crepe Bandage
  • 1-inch wide medical tape (paper or cloth.)
  • Micropore tape
  • Tablet for motion sickness (Avomine), Acidity (Gelusil, Digene, etc.).
  • Mild pain relief tablet (Crocin)

| Note: Always consult a doctor before taking any medicine.


Trek has been done and documented by Saini Krishnamurthy

Special thanks to   Saini Krishnamurthy and Kailesh Padvekar for the pictures of the trek.

Banner Image by Saini Krishnamurthy

Author: Nayana Jambhe

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Complete trek guide

Last updated: July - 2020

 Complete trek guide

About the trek