Trek to Korigad Fort near Aamby valley, Lonavala
This is a great place to go for a one day trip from either Mumbai or Pune due to the following reasons
- The Location: A plateau with unhindered views on all sides with a view of many other forts and dams
- Drive to the location: Cross all of Lonavala’s famous view points and get to the fort through some wonderful roads OR do some adventurous driving and go through remote backroads from Mulshi
- The Trek: An easy trek of around an hour. It took us a little more with two 3 yr old kids, drink breaks and lot of photo breaks. The trek has it all – open path, an optional shortcut through a dense jungle and a flight of stairs at the end
- The Fort: Though nothing much remains of the fort, the walls of the fort are intact and you can walk on the wall for the entire circumference of around 2 km (we didn’t, though)
How to go to Korigad fort (also known as Koraigad fort) from Pune: Korigad fort is right next to the Aamby valley city and very close to Tung Fort. You have to cross Lonavala and then keep driving towards Aamby valley. The base village for this fort is Peth-Shahpur. If you start early, you can stopover at the various Lonavala points like Bushi Dam, Lions Point and the shivling peak. Lonavala traffic is very bad , at least on the one main road. So, better to go into Lonavala pretty early in the day. See at the bottom of this post for an alternative route/round trip
Once you drive down the ghat section after the lions point and keep going for another 15-20 minutes, the hill of korigad fort should appear on your left. There is nothing else this tall in this area, so you shouldn’t miss it. There is an open area just below the hill for parking. It is just another open area, but there are touts there who demand money (and give receipts too!) saying that it is the official parking for Korigad fort. They charge Rs.20 for a bike and Rs.50 for a car. I probably could park on the middle of M.G.Road for a cheaper amount!/p>
If you want to save few hundred metres off the trek, then drive on the road to the left (just before the hill) and park near a temple (not sure abt the parking place). A path from this temple directly joins the trail. Along the normal route, you start from the parking lot, go towards the tower and then continue on. The initial path can become very slippery in case of rain and it is the path through the water flows and is very muddy. But, not something to worry about.
The path goes around the back of the hill and then your start climbing. So, the trail is not visible from the road or the parking lot. Once you cross the initial stretch, the path turns a sharp right and you start to go towards the back of the hill parallel to the bottom. After some distance, you start to see small lamp posts. These have been erected by the Sahara group to aid trekkers , as Korigad is a popular night trekking destination. When you see the first such lamp post to your right. you have two options. You can continue straight on which will take you amidst few bungalows and then take a u-turn to go up or you can just start climbing the hill right at the base of the lamp posts. It looks steep, but is not. This short-cut is an enjoyabale 10 min climb through some dense lush growth – almost resembling a rain forest.
Then come the stairs. Initially, they start off pretty ok, but the last stretch is a bit steep. But the last stretch is not too long. Also, there is a viewpoint with a big resting area. Once you cross the stairs and pass through the main darawaza, you are on top of the hill. Once you are on the stairs, you get a good view of the development in Aaamby valley city.
The main darwaza covered in moss (during monsoons) is a great sight.There were also lot of monkeys around this point.
Once on top of the plateau, if you have the interest, you can spend hours enjoying the view on all sides. The fort walls are intact and you can walk all along the wall. The top also has two fresh water ponds (not safe for swimming, as there have been few incidents here) and couple of temples. There are also many intact cannons on top.
The way down (same as the way going up) was fast and easy and took less than an hour. It also rained when we were coming down and it was fun trying to fit all of us and two kids into the 2 kids umbrellas we carried with us! All of us enjoyed the trek including the kids, as can be seen in this photo (from a photo session) taken after the trek.
There is another route to reach Korigad from Pune. You can either go through this route or make it a round trip by returning on this. But this route is remote and not advisable late into the evening. If you have been to Mulshi or Tamhini Ghat , you would have come to a fork before Mulshi and you would have taken the left. The road on the right goes to Ghusalkhamb, which is actually the base village for Tung fort. If you go to Korigad from Lonavala, you will pass this village before you reach Peth-Shahpur. But, i have read on many forums that the road condition is 50-50, whatever that means! A third route exists, that from beyond Mulshi. After crossing Mulshi and towards Tamhini, there is a road sign to the right marked as Lonavala. This goes through lot of interior roads and reaches Korigad fort and then onto lonavala. I have seen this road being mentioned only on biker forums and the reviews says this unspoilt road is amazing during the monsoons. Drop in a comment if you have been on any of these routes.