If you have never experienced raging winds, Rohida, a fort near Pune, is a must do trek. If you are trekking in monsoon, on left side of the ridge you see waterfalls which flow upwards, so fierce is the wind here.
Along with this, some breath-taking views of the farms and water dams can be seen from the bastions. There are a total of six bastions covering the fortification wall. All of these are still strong.
Bajarwadi, around 62 km from Pune, is the village at the base of Rohida. Once you reach Bajarwadi, spot the village school. The trail begins from opposite the school.
The trail begins with a gradual ascent. In a few minutes, you’ll see two overhead water tanks on your right. As you proceed, you notice the trail becomes narrow. It is well marked so there is absolutely no chance of getting lost if you stay on the trail.
You’ll reach to a broad plateau after 10 minutes of ascent. From here you can clearly see the fortification and bastions of the fort. This plateau streamlines onto a ridge.
If you are trekking in monsoon, on the left side of the ridge, you can see waterfalls which flow upwards, due to the fierce wind! This raging wind will accompany you till you return.
There is no dense forest on this trail. You only find meadows and small bushes. Though the climb is fairly easy, sometimes it really gets difficult due to the stormy wind. It takes about 1 hour of gradual climb from the plateau to reach the first gate of the fort.
After 15-20 stone steps you reach the second gate. There is a small, underground water cistern right in front of this gate. Please note that this water is not potable. Another fifty steps bring you to the third gate.
Here, you find two trails. The one on the left takes you to the temple of Lord Ganesha. There are two lakes near the temple. You can just sit beside them and relax.
The second trail, which proceeds straight ahead from the gate, takes you around the periphery of the fort.
There are several bastions on the fort. Shirvale bastion to the South-East, Patane and Damgude bastions to the South, Waghjai bastion to the North, Fatteh bastion at the courtyard. There are total 6 bastions covering the fortification wall and are still strong. There is a series of cisterns on the Northern part of the fort.
You get breath-taking views of farms and dams from the bastions. The wind is so powerful that the grass flies back at you when thrown from the fort. You can spend at least an hour exploring the fort.
Other forts which can be seen from Rohida on a clear day include Purandar to the North-East; Rajgad and Torna to the North-West; and Raireshwar, Kamalgad, Kenjalgad, Madhardevi to the South-West.
Once you finish exploring the fort, retrace your way back to Bajarwadi on the same trail.
Note: ‘Shivadurga’ is a Pune based organisation which adopts forts in Maharashtra for their rehabilitation. Rohida is one of them. They work hard to keep the fort clean. Their workers are dressed as mavle (army men of Shivaji Maharaj were called mavle) and guard the fort at the first gate. This makes you feel that you are in Shivaji Maharaj’s era! Inside the fort, you can volunteer to lend a hand to clean the place.
This trek has been researched and documented by Swarada Ghangurde.
How to get there?
Bajarwadi is the village at the base of the fort. It is around 7 km to the South of Bhor. S.T. buses are available from Bhor to Bajarwadi.
Trekkers from Mumbai and Nasik must come to Pune and travel further. S.T. buses are available from Pune to Bhor at regular intervals. However, travelling by your private vehicle is always preferable to avoid waiting for buses. There is no facility of cabs, unless you book one from Pune. Booking an Innova from Pune will cost you around Rs.4,200.
Nearest railway station is Pune Junction and Shivajinagar Station in Pune. (45 km)