Can You Help Us With Photographs Of This Trek?
We are looking to enrich this documentation with more photos. Pictures go a long way in explaining the trail, more than words ever can. If you have done this trek, can you share your photos with us? We will include them on this page, with due credit to you. Click here to contribute. for this content.
A Complete Guide to Torna Fort Trek
Torna Fort is the highest hill-fort in the Pune District. Situated at an altitude of 4,603 ft from sea level, it stands out among other forts in the western ghats of Maharashtra.
Because of the massive size of the fort, it is also called Prachandagad. This name is derived from Marathi which means Prachanda – massive and gad – a fort.
Torna fort was the first fort captured by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in 1646 when he was 16 years old. This is where the core of the Maratha empire was built. It has a great history as it has gone under many rulers.
In the 17th Century, the Mughal empire shortly gained control of the fort after Shivaji’s son Sambhaji got killed. The fort was renamed later by Aurangazeb (6th Mughal Emperor) as Futulgaib in recognition of the difficult battle of the Torna fort between Mughals and Marathas.
Trek to the Torna fort unfolds many exciting things. You trek along the beautiful flower beds, on the top, there are temples, water cisterns, Balekilla, 2 magnificent Machis, Zunjar Machi, and Budhla Machi, and a ridge connecting to Rajgad fort.
As stated by James Douglas “If Sinhagad is a Lion’s cave then Torna is an eagle’s nest, this fort truly stands for what his words.
➤ Table Of Contents
Just like you, we love trekking! And this is a trek we’ve documented in great detail to help you do it on your own. Drop-in comments at the end of the page if you need any help! You will get all the information required to do the Torna Fort Trek on your own.
To navigate through the documentation easily, use this section of the Table of Contents
- Trail Information
- GPX File Of The Torna Fort Trek
- Best Time To Do Torna Fort Trek
- How To Reach Torna Fort Trek
- Is Torna Fort Trek Difficult
- How To Get Fit For The Torna Fort Trek
- Things To Take On Torna Fort Trek
- Frequently Asked Questions About The Torna Fort Trek
- Nearby Places To Visit After The Torna Fort Trek
➤ Highlights from Torna Fort Trek
1. Colourful flower beds on the trail
If you are doing the Torna Fort trek post-monsoon, you can see the trail full of Karvi, Bristly Smithia(Local language: Micky-mouse flower), Raan terda, Sonki, and many other wildflowers. As you get closer to the fort, you can see the entire trail filled with colourful flowers.
Colorful flowers, seen on the Torna Fort Trek. PIcture by Nitesh Kumar
2. The huge Budhla Machi on the fort
Budhla machi on the Torna fort has a unique structure. Budhla in Marathi means vessel. And the shape of the machi is similar to an oil container kept upside down. Hence the name.
It is believed that one of the reasons to call this fort as Prachandagad is the massive structure of this Budhla machi.
The massive structure of the Budhla machi. This is just before the ladder trail. Picture by Suhas Paranjpe
3. Spectacular view from the fort
The view from the fort is spectacular. You can see many famous forts like Raigad, Lingana, Rajgad, Purandar fort, Sinhagad, Raireshwar, Pratapgad, Madu – Makrandgad, Mahabaleshwar mountain range, Mangalgad, Kavlya Fort, Mohangad, and Rohida Fort.
View of the Konkan region from the top. Picture by Prabhuraj Kore
➤ Trail Information
The trek to the Torna fort has many things to offer including the exploration on the top. The trail can be divided into 3 sections. All these 3 sections extend surprises at every step.
Three sections can be divided as:
- From Velhe village to the Plateau: 20 minutes
- The Plateau to the Entrance of Torna Fort: 2 hours 15 minutes
- Historical places on the Torna Fort: 3 to 4 hours
Trail Map of Torna Fort Trek. Source: Google Earth. Picture Courtesy Nayana Jambhe
Section I: Velhe village to the Plateau
Trek Distance: 1 km
Trek Duration: 20 minutes
GPS coordinates of Velhe village: 18°17’28.22″N, 73°38’12.88″E
GPS coordinates of the Plateau: 18°17’24.88″N, 73°37’52.14″E
The trek to the Torna fort starts from the road next to the Velhe Police station. The magnificent fort can be seen from the village itself. It stands behind the village as a guard taking care of the villagers!!
Torna fort as seen from the Velhe village. Picture by Nitesh Kumar
The initial trail from the police station has a tar road. Continue on the same road until you reach a small bridge. After 5 minutes of a walk from here, you see a trail on your left moving towards the direction of the fort. This is where the actual trek begins.
| Note: If you follow the cement road on your right, it directly takes you to the plateau where one can park the two-wheeler. This is recommended only if you are trekking in summer. The trekking trail from starting point to the plateau is a beautiful trail with many colorful flowers and small water streams. One has to trek through this setting.
The small bridge you see after the police station. Picture by Nitesh Kumar
The trail from here is straightforward. There is a trail marked all the way up to the plateau. There are also direction signs on the rocks in between. So the chance of getting lost is very less.
The trail is a mix of mud and loose rocks. It can be slippery during the monsoon season.
| Tip: Wear proper trekking shoes. Carry a pair of trekking poles as well. These two trekking gears will help you while trekking. Here is a link to choose the best trekking shoes for you.
The mud trail to the plateau from the village. Picture by Nitesh Kumar
While trekking here, you come across beautiful Bristly Smithia (Local language: Mickey Mouse flower. Do not forget to click some photos. They can be wallpaper material!
Bristly Smithia as seen on the trail. Picture by Nitesh Kumar
Continue on the same trail for another 15 minutes. You reach a plateau that connects to the ridge. However, The ridge is still a few meters away from here.
The plateau that connects to the fort. Picture by Nitesh Kumar
Section II: The Plateau to the Entrance of Torna Fort
Trek Distance: 2.4 km
Trek Duration: 2 hours 15 minutes
GPS coordinates of the Plateau: 18°17’24.88″N, 73°37’52.14″E
GPS coordinates of the Entrance of Torna Fort: 18°16’38.17″N, 73°37’19.46″E
The trail from here is full of surprises!
You gradually climb up towards the ridge. But you can not identify when you reach the ridge as the initial stretch passes through thick bushes.
After starting the trek from plateau you come across a small stream that has to be crossed. Remember to cross the stream not to trek along the stream.
The small stream you need to cross just after the plateau. Picture by Nitesh Kumar
As soon as you cross this stream, you enter a dense forest of Karvi plants that has thick bushes and trees. This continues until you reach the ridge.
The trail after crossing the stream. Picture by Nitesh Kumar
After around an hour of trekking, you reach the ridge. See the north face of the Torna fort in front of you. However, the main Darwaja is still hidden.
The north face of the Torna Fort as seen from the Ridge. Picture by Nitesh Kumar
The trail is visible all the way to the final steep section. From here, if you look back, you can see the Gunjavane dam on your left and the trail you have climbed up.
Gunjavane dam on the left side. Picture by Nitesh Kumar
Enjoy the view for a few minutes and proceed. You trek on the ridge for another 30 minutes. This part of the trek is pretty easy.
The final stretch of the trek begins as soon as you start to climb the wall of the fort. It is almost 60 to 70 degree inclined. The initial section has rock patches and needs to be negotiated carefully.
The initial section of the fort wall climbing. Picture by Nitesh Kumar
Do not forget to look back from this point. You get an amazing view!!
The view from the steep section after climbing for 30 minutes. Picture by Nitesh Kumar
After a steep climb of another 30 minutes, you reach the rock-cut steps with railings. From here, all the way up to the Binni Darwaja, railings are given for the support.
| Note: Do not depend too much on the railings as some of them are already damaged.
Rock-cut steps to the Bini Darwaja. Picture by Nitesh Kumar
The trail takes a right deviation after these rock-cut steps. You will be surprised to see the view that welcomes you here!! Our trek leader Nitesh Kumar fell short of words while describing the view.
The trail passes through these colorful flowers called Raan terda and Sonki! Picture by Nitesh Kumar
Bini Darwaja is just 10 minutes of a trek away from here. Isn’t it completely hidden? That is how all the forts were built!!
The first door to the Torna Fort, Bini Darwaja. Picture by Nitesh Kumar
As soon as you enter the fort through Bini Darwaja, there is another set of cemented steps to Kothi Darwaja. Even this part of the trail is full of colourful flowers!
The second and the main entrance door to the fort, Kothi Darwaja. Picture by Nitesh Kumar
Now you are on the Torna Fort. You need almost 3 to 4 hours to explore the historical places that are there on the fort.
Section III: Historical places on the top of Torna Fort
There are many things to see on the fort. In this section, we have tried to cover as much as possible so that you could have a memorable experience.
If you continue on the same trail as soon as you enter the fort, there is a water tank (Khokad taake) and a shelter where a maximum of 20 trekkers can stay.
Water tank next to the shelter. Picture by Nitesh Kumar
The trail towards your left from the entrance takes you to Hanuman Buruj, Dhaalkathi (Dwajasthambam), and Zunjar machi. There is a well-made trail that connects all three places. Photos of these places are given below in order.
The Hanuman Buruj on the Torna Fort trek. Picture by Nitesh Kumar
Dhaalkathi with Orange flag that represents the Maratha Empire. Picture by Nitesh Kumar
From Hanuman buruj, you have to descend down to get on the Zunjar machi. It will take around 30 minutes to reach the end of the Zunjar machi and come back.
Zunjar Machi as seen from the Dhaalkathi. Observe the double fortified wall. Picture by Nitesh Kumar
From Dhaalkathi, if you take the left trail, you can see Torneshwar Mahadev temple, Mengai Devi temple, Konkan Darwaja that leads to Budhla machi.
The Torneshwar Mahadev Temple. See the idol of Nandi at the entrance. Picture by Nitesh Kumar
Mengai Devi Temple. Picture by Nitesh Kumar
| Note: A maximum of 50 people can accommodate inside this temple. This is the safest place where you can stay on the fort. You can also pitch your tents around this temple.
The Konkan Darwaja. It is in the direction of the Konkan region, Hence, the name. Picture by Nitesh Kumar
The Konkan Darwaja opens up to the Budhla Machi. The structure of the machi is very long. It will take around an hour and a half to explore this and come back to Konkan Darwaja.
The magnificent Budhla Machi, as seen from the top of the Konkan Darwaja. Picture by Nitesh Kumar
Once you are at the top of the Budhla Machi, breathtaking views makes all your struggles worth it.
Breathtaking views from the top of Budhla Machi. Picture by Suhas Paranjpe
There are few historical places that are in ruins to see on this machi.
As you enter the Budhla machi through Konkan Darwaja you see Hattimaal buruj.
You descend down to the Hattimaal Buruj. There are rock-cut steps and railings are given for trekkers’ safety. This is one of the toughest sections. Negotiate it carefully.
Pro Tip: If you are trekking in monsoon season, Carry 30 to 40 ft rope along with you. This would help you negotiate the above-mentioned section.
Hattimaal buruj, as seen on the way to the Budhla pinnacle. Picture by Nitesh Kumar
Continue on the same trail from Hattimaal buruj till the pinnacle. Here, you see the trail splitting into two.
Take the left trail, you reach Radtondi Buruj which connects to the Ridge of Rajgad-Torna Fort.
Radtondi Buruj. See the long ridge that connects to Rajgad at another end. Picture by Nitesh Kumar
There are two water tanks Shiva Ganga and Patal Ganga which you get on the way to the Radtondi Buruj. These are also called Budhla Tank.
Shiva Ganga is surrounded by overgrown grass. Picture by Nitesh Kumar
Patala Ganga. Picture by Nitesh Kumar
This Radtondi Buruj has Chor Darwaja(Opening of Radtondi side) that leads to the Ridge of Torna-Rajgad fort. This section is very steep and a metal ladder is kept to descend down. This is also one of the toughest sections to negotiate. You proceed further only if you are going to cover Rajgad fort.
Pro Tip: The Ridge walk to the Rajgad fort is very beautiful. We recommend you to do both Torna and Rajgad together.
The right trail from the pinnacle takes you to the end of the Budhla machi. The end of Budhla machi is called as Cheetah Darwaja. You get one of the best views from that end.
Spend some time enjoying nature. Spot some of the famous forts like Rajgad, Raigad, Lingana and many more from there. It is always fun to identify peaks and forts if you are in a group of friends!
The descent is the same as you climbed up. From Budhla Machi get back to Mengai Devi temple. You can rest here for a while. From there follow the trail towards Kothi Darwaja, and to Velhe village.
➤ Best Season To Do The Torna Fort Trek
The best season to do this trek is from September to February. The beauty of the Sahyadris is best seen only after the monsoon season and up to summer.
From September to October, you can see the flower beds all the way to the fort. Lush green grasses on the top of the fort leave you amazed.
Colourful flowers on the lush green grasses. Picture by Nitesh Kumar
From November to February, you get a clear view from the fort. This is the best time to spot some of the famous forts in the same region.
During the monsoon season, the trail becomes slippery. And you may not be able to explore anything on the fort due to the fog.
During summer, the temperature and humidity make it unbearable and you may not have a good trekking experience. However, you can do this as a night trek during the summer season with the help of a GPX file or a local guide.
➤How To Reach Torna Fort Trek
Torna fort trek starts from Velhe village. This village is around 65 km from Pune. It can be easily reached by public transport as well as private vehicles.
To know detailed information about reaching the base village, go through the below section.
Reaching the starting point by your vehicle
Velhe village has roads wide enough to allow cars. There are two routes from Pune to reach this village. Use the links given below to help set up navigation in google maps.
- From Pune, get on to NH48 towards Nasrapur. Cross the first toll and reach the Nasrapur junction. Here take a right turn and get on to State Highway 65. Continue on the same road till you reach Velhe village. Use this link to navigate on google maps.
- The best route is via the villages of Khadakwasla→ Sinhagad → Ranjane → Pabe Ghat → Velhe. This is the best route for photographers. You pass through many beautiful villages, small waterfalls, and streams if you are visiting in the monsoon season.
You can park your vehicle in front of the hotels in the village or on the plateau as mentioned in section one and start the trek. There is enough space to park vehicles.
Reaching the starting point by Public Transport System
If you are travelling from Mumbai, reach Pune. There are many trains and buses that go to Pune from Mumbai. Get down at Swargate bus station, Pune. From here, catch a bus that goes to Velhe village.
There are other multiple options to reach Velhe village.
- Get into a bus that directly goes to Velhe from Pune. However, the frequency of the buses that go to Velhe villages is low.
- From Pune, get into a bus that goes to Satara/Kolhapur or Bangalore. Get down at Nasrapur. From here, many local taxis or autos go to Velhe village.
Return option: You can follow the same route while returning. There are very few buses after 4 pm from both the villages. Make sure you reach by then.
There will be shared taxi/autos that can drop you at Nasrapur If you could not catch the direct bus. However, the frequency of buses from Nasrapur to Pune is very low.
Pro Tip: If you are travelling in a group with 5 to 6 people, hire a cab from Pune. They might charge you around Rs 1500 for a round trip. But you don’t have to worry about catching a bus.
Stay options: You can stay in the fort inside the Mengai Temple. There is enough space available for 40 to 50 people. You can also pitch tents near the temple or anywhere on the fort.
Nearest Railway Station
Pune Junction railway station: 65 km
Nearest International and Domestic Airport
Pune International Airport: 73 km
➤ Is Torna Fort Trek Difficult
Torna Fort has some steep sections that have to be negotiated carefully. Those sections are explained here so that you can be cautious enough while climbing.
The final section to the fort has a steep rock patch. It can be slippery during the monsoon season. You need to place your foot one by one very carefully. Maintain a minimum of 10-metre distance if you are trekking in a group. It helps to avoid accidents.
The steep section while crossing the final stretch of the trek. Picture by Nitesh Kumar
The steep descent from Hanuman Buruj to Zunjar machi has an exposed rocky patch. It can be slippery during the monsoon season. You need to be extremely careful while descending down to Zunjar machi.
If you are continuing the trek towards Rajgad from Radtondi Buruj, the steep descent through a metal ladder is one section to be crossed watching your steps.
➤ How To Get Fit For Torna Fort Trek
The Torna Fort trek is classified as a Moderate grade trek. From the base, you will gain approximately 2,500 feet in altitude in a day.
The high altitude gain and the rolling ascents and descents can be demanding for people who lead a sedentary lifestyle.
Training yourself for a moderate grade trek:
Here’s a guide to help you get fit for the trek in 4 weeks.
➤ Cardiovascular Endurance
In case you’re just starting with a fitness routine, start slow and increase your pace every day in the following manner –
- Target completing a jog of 5 km in 40 minutes when you begin.
- Gradually increase your pace by running 5 km, 4 times a week.
- As you become more comfortable, introduce another day of running in your routine.
- Progressively increase the distance you run in a workout until you can complete 5 km in 35 mins.
If you prefer cycling over running, target covering 18 km in 60 minutes when you begin.
- Progressively increase your pace to cover 25 km in one hour.
➤ Strength Training
This is an important area you need to work on.
Strength training is equally important to trek comfortably. Work on your glutes, calves and knees. Additionally, work on strengthening your core.
You must strengthen your core muscles. For strengthening your core muscles, holding a plank and it’s variations (elbow, side planks) are the best exercises to go about doing it.
Also, try these exercises for strength:
Target 4 sets of squats with 20 in each set.
– Squats (Mix it up with sumo squats)
– Lunges (Forward, backward and lateral lunges)
Flexibility determines the amount of movement your bones can make in any direction around joints such as shoulders, elbows, hips and knees.
It is an aspect that will help you trek comfortably. Carrying a backpack, however-light, can become a strain. Stretching your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors and lower back muscles regularly, promotes relaxation in the tissues reducing the strain on your back.
If you can’t go out and jog because of time and space constraints, here’s a video you can use to work out indoors.
➤ What To Pack For Torna 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.
- A warm layer (Pullover, sweater or a jacket)
- Poncho, only during post-monsoons
- Plastic sheet to wrap electronic devices, only during monsoons
- Sunscreen (SPF 50+)
- Trekking poles
- Tent (3-Person or 2-Person – Depending on the number of people sharing)
- Sleeping Bag
*First aid kit:
- 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.
➤ Frequently Asked Questions about Torna Fort Trek
1. Do we need permission to do Torna Fort Trek?
Torna Fort Trek does not require permission from the forest department. You can do this trek on your own without any permission.
2. Is camping allowed on Torna Fort Trek?
There are no restrictions on camping. You can camp near the Mengai Devi temple. If you do not have a tent, you can also stay in the temple. It can accommodate a maximum of 50 people.
3. Are there any food and water sources available on Torna Fort Trek?
Torna Fort trek starts from Velhe village. It has many hotels and restaurants where you get Maharashtrian food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
There will be one or two villagers in the temple who can prepare food for you. But do not depend on them. We recommend you to carry food from the base village itself.
There are no potable water sources on the fort. Hence, carry a minimum of 3 litres of water from the base village.
If you are trekking in the monsoon season, you find a stream just after the village. This is the last point to fill your water bottle.
| Tip: If you are not comfortable with having water from outside carry purification tablets or life straw bottles to purify the water.
4. Who can do the Torna Fort Trek?
Torna fort trek has a few steep sections that require good stamina and endurance. Only a fit trekker can complete this trek while enjoying the beauty of nature.
If you are a beginner and would like to do this trek, you can attempt this after working on your fitness. Here is a guide to preparing yourself for the trek.
5. What is the ideal time to start Torna Fort Trek?
Torna Fort trek can be done in one day or two days. You need a minimum of 3 hours to explore the fort.
If you are planning to complete the trek in one day, start late at night from Mumbai on the previous day. Reach the base village before sunrise and start the trek immediately. You will reach the fort by 10 am. You can return from the top after having lunch.
If you are planning to do this trek for 2 days, leave Mumbai on a Saturday late morning. Reach the base village by 4 PM. You will need 2.30 to 3 hours to reach the top. Camp there near the Hanuman Burj. The next day, explore the fort completely and return.
If you are depending on public transport, make sure you reach the base village before 4 pm. There are very few buses after that.
Emergency contact for Torna Fort Trek
Hospital: Primary Health Center, Velhe is the nearest hospital to Torna Fort Trek. It is in the village close to the starting point.
Police Station: There is a police station in the Velhe village. In fact, your trek starts from this police station. You can find the location of the Velhe Police Station here.
Mountain Rescue: Giripremi has started a Pan-Maharashtra rescue group called Maharashtra Mountaineers Rescue Coordination Centre (MMRCC). You can contact them on 7620230231 for help in the Sahyadris.
ERSS: For any kind of emergency help, you can contact the Pan-India Emergency Response Support System (ERSS) number- 112
Hemant Kadam (Hotel Torna Vihar) – 9021813512. He helps in the case of a rescue.
ATMs and Network on the trek
ATMs: Nasrapur is the nearest ATM to Velhe village which is 30 km away. However, Pune is the nearest place where you can find reliable ATMs.
Make sure you carry a minimum of Rs 2,000 from your starting location.
Mobile Networks: There are networks at the base village. Some network providers like Jio, Airtel and Vodafone do catch signals while on the trek as well as on the fort but fluctuating signal.
➤ Places To Visit After the Torna Fort Trek
Torna fort has many things to offer on the top. You need a complete day to explore the entire fort. Apart from that, there are some places you can cover after the trek.
Rajgad Fort: Rajgad is the most beautiful fort in Maharashtra. This is the king of all forts.
This trek can be done from Torna fort itself. There is a ridge connecting to Rajgad from Budhla machi of Torna fort. The ridge walk has one of the mesmerizing trails one can see in the Sahyadris.
Sinhagad Fort: This is one of the closest forts you can attempt. One can start the trek from Torna, reach Torna Fort and then end the trek from Sinhagad. It will take 2 days to complete.
Raigad Fort: This was the capital of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj after he moved from Torna Fort. This is very rich in history. There is a statue of Shivaji’s pet dog which was re-installed by Shri Shivaji Raigad Smarak Samiti in 2012.
Madhe Ghat: There is a waterfall named Lakshmi waterfall. It is situated in a dense forest behind the Torna fort. It is around 18 km from Velhe village. You can visit this place after completing the trek.
➤ Trek Contribution
Trek done and documented by Nitesh Kumar and Prabhuraj Kore
Special thanks to Nitesh Kumar and Suhas Paranjpe for the pictures of the trek
Banner Image by Suhas Paranjpe
The trek was written by Nayana Jambhe
GPX File Opt in
We go to great lengths to ensure you have a safe trek. So here’s a GPX file of the trail to help you navigate without getting lost.