The adrenaline rush igniting you to ascend towards a heaven that lifts you above the sordid city life. That is what trekking is about, no matter how steep or narrow the way gets leading you to embrace nature’s bounty and create experiences that last a lifetime. The cultural capital Pune is not just famous for its heritage structures, but the history alleviates itself for adventure lovers as well. We list out the top 10 unheard of trekking spots in and around Pune for those looking for a quick escapade with guidance from Dipti Sahni, a trekking enthusiast, Ashutosh Chouskey and Aditya Patel, who are both organisers of various treks.
The highest peak in Maharashtra invariably promises the most majestic and scintillating scenery. This well marked trail created by the numerous people who come to visit the temple, will take you a good four hours until you reach atop. The best time to scale the peak is all through winters when the post monsoon weather carpets the ambience with wild flowers. It is safe to camp at the fort and a clear night sky makes for an exotic frame for fervent photographers.
Getting There: To reach the village base Bari: One can take a train to Kasara Railway station and then hire a local taxi. OR By road from Pune-Sangamner-Rajur-Bari. Difficulty Level: Easy Trek Length: 3-4 hours
Raigad which is best known as Shivaji’s capital city, can be termed as a moderate trek for beginners. The climb to the ruins of the fortress is an endearing experience which can be most enjoyed during the monsoon season. An alternate provided to those who would not like to explore the outdoors much, there is a ropeway from base to top.
Getting there: By road Pune-Khamshet-Khopoli-Raigad. Difficulty Level: Moderate .Trek Length: 1.5 hours
The Torna Fort or Prachandagad is one of the largest fort located near to Pune in the Sahyadri mountain range. This 3.5 hour trek is extremely popular amongst trekkers especially after the South West monsoons, the trail is laden with wild flowers and landscapes of greenery exuding the brilliance of nature. The mystical area around the fort has great viewpoints like Budhla Machi and Zunjar Machi.
Getting there: To reach base village Velhe: Swargate bus station in Pune, take a state transport bus with route ‘Swargate – Velhe – Ghisar’. Difficulty Level: Medium difficulty .Trek Length: 3.5 hours
A twin to Lohgad fort, Visapur stands at a height of 3,556ft and is much larger than its neighbouring fortress. It also engulfs within the Bhaje caves and alluring water holes, a refreshing relief after completing the trail. One of the well-maintained forts, the place is also known to be hideouts for bisons and wild boars making it a backdoor option for trekking near Pune.
Getting there: To reach Visapur fort base (near Lonavla): From Malavli station. OR By road take the old Pune-Mumbai Highway(NH4) take a left on reaching Kamshet to Pavanagar village. Difficulty Level: Medium .Trek Length: 1.5 hours
Situated amongst thick forests, huge cliffs and ancient monuments, this high hill fort in the Ahmednagar region of Maharashtra proves to be a dream for all adventure lovers. The six-hour trail can be strenuous and thus a strong will power and immunity to the fear of heights is recommended. A stay on the hill top is a must, as one can stay in the expedient caves with its water streams to provide continuous water.
Getting there: Catch an ST from Pune towards Alephata. Get down at Alephata & catch another ST moving for Kalyan (strictly going via Malshej Ghat). Difficulty Level: Difficult .Trek Length: 6 hours
A famous hill fort located near the hill station of Lonavla is a reasonably easy trek. One of the trekking spots to receive government assistance, one can find a man always ready to serve you with water and large amounts of jaggery. Tikona Fort and Bhedse Caves are noted trekking destination and offers undeniably spectacular views of the dam and twin Tung and Tikona.
Getting there: To reach Tikona village base: By road via old Pune-Mumbai highway take left to Kamshet Pavnanagar. Difficulty Level: Easy .Trek Length: 1.5 hours
Rajgad which literally means Royal Fort, was once the capital of the Maratha empire before it was moved to Raigad Fort. This place becomes one of the most sought after trekking destinations for adventure enthusiasts. The significant expanse of the fort makes it a must to spend a night in the Padmavati temple which can accommodate atleast 50 people, in order to do full justice to the place. The Pani Kund and Balekilla are prime attractions. The distinct structures of the gunpowder store and main court are spots one should not miss.
Getting there: By road via Nasrapur Phata, approximately 35 kilometers from Pune station. Difficulty level: Medium .Trek Length: 2.5 hours
Lingana is the highest point of the Sahyadris, it gets its name due to its resemblance to the Linga. This trail is reverse climb down a valley and the route on the periphery of the pinnacle is quite slippery hence carrying a rope is a must. Located in this pinnacle is the historic Lingana Fort that was built by Shivaji Maharaj in and around 1648 and was later conquered by the British, which offers other attractions such as rappelling, rock climbing and sightseeing at the pinnacle. Also, one can spend a night in the cool cave with cisterns that contain portable water.
Getting there: Buses are available from Swargate Pune till Velhe. Local transport from Velhe to Mohari. Difficulty Level: Difficult .Trek Length: 2 hours
- Sandhan Valley
Sandhan Valley is one of the greatest canyons in the Sahyadri mountain ranges, which is also known as Valley of Shadow as it hardly allows the sun rays to reach the bottom. A journey through dramatic canyons which have been carved over years can be traversed within five hours. Reaching the exuberant end requires wading through water routes and rappelling which entices adrenaline junkies.
Getting there: By road from Pune – Via Sangamner (Total Distance – 248 km) . Difficulty Level: Difficult .Trek Length: 5 hours
- Alang Madan Kulang
AMK as it is famously called, is a trek which will test you throughout the expedition. Situated in the Kalsubai range, this has been termed as one of the most difficult treks due to the natural wall like formations of the hills with the most steep routes, a lot of edge traversing and vertical rock patches to climb on. The trail requires a sturdy pair of lungs, fit legs and a good amount of preparation and is not advisable for first time trekkers.
Getting there: By road Pune-Nashik phata- Udadhawane – Alang (approximately 175 kilometeres) . Difficulty Level: Difficult .Trek Length: 2 days
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