Adventure / Trekking | Historical
#9 of 22 Places to Visit in Lonavala
Distance (From Lonavala Railway Station): 15 Kms
Trip Duration (Including Travel): Half Day to Full Day
Place Location: Near Udhewadi Village
Transportation Options: Bus / Cab / + Walk/Trek
Travel Tips: None
At a distance of 15 km from Lonavala, 15 km from Khandala, 82 km from Mumbai & 82 km from Pune, Rajmachi Fort is an ancient fort situated in Pune district of Maharashtra. It is one of the popular tourist places near Mumbai for trekking and also among the best places to visit in Lonavala. This famous fort in Maharashtra lies at an altitude of 2710 feet. This is a protected monument and is among the most popular attraction not to miss in a Lonavala tour packages.
Historically, Rajmachi fort was a strategic fort to control Bor Ghat (between Khopoli and Khandala on Mumbai-Pune route) which was a historical trade route. It is one of the ideal one day trip near Mumbai. The fort complex was originally constructed by the Satavahanas. In 1657 CE, Shivaji Maharaj captured this fort along with other neighbouring forts from the Adilshahi ruler of Bijapur. In 1704 CE, the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb captured the fort from the Marathas. However, the Marathas regained its control in 1705 CE. In 1713 CE, Shahu Maharaj handed over Rajmachi fort to Kanhoji Angre. Eventually in 1818 CE with the downfall of the Marathas, the British took over the Rajmachi Fort.
Rajmachi Fort consists of two citadels namely Shrivardhan and Manaranjan Forts. It is a very famous fort located near Pune and also one of the top heritage sites in Lonavala. Surrounded by a wide plateau, this fort overlooks the Bor Ghat. The fort complex consists of huge ramparts, strong walls, massive gateways, residential units, water reservoirs, administrative centers and secret gates for exit. Kal Bhairav temple is situated in the gorge between Shrivardhan and Manaranjan forts. In rainy season this region is more beautiful with several waterfalls, streams and lush green forests and meadows.
Ancient Buddhist caves known as Kondhane caves are situated on the western side of the Rajmachi plateau, which were supposedly carved during 200 BC. There are 8 Buddhist caves of the Hinayana Buddhist tradition. The Kondhane caves enclose sculptures, vihara and stupas of ancient Buddhist architecture. Although many stupas, front entrance and the floor of the caves were damaged in an earthquake only the Chaitya remained intact.
There are two ways to reach the Rajmachi fort, one is from Lonavala, roughly 15 km flat walk and the other one is from Karjat, a gradual climb of around 5 km. For beginners, it would be better to trek from Lonavala as this is a much easier path. It will take about 5 hours of hiking to reach Udhewadi, the base of Rajmachi fort by this route. Only SUVs can reach Udhewadi village which is situated at the base of Rajmachi Fort to avoid 15 km long trek.
The route from Kondivade village near Karjat is tough and involves climb-up of about 2000 feet. From Kondivade village one can reach Rajmachi via the Kondhane village and visit the ancient Kondhane Buddhist caves on the way. The caves are 3 km away from Kondivade village and has mototable road. The trek to Rajmachi fort starts from Kondhane Caves, which is about 5 km from the fort. It takes around 3-4 hours to reach Rajmachi from Kondhane Caves.
Camping in Rajmachi is a perfect idea especially because of the long trek. Rajmachi Rural Aid and Development Programme (NGO) have 2 dormitories to provide accommodation facilities for trekkers to Rajmachi in Udhewadi village at a nominal charge.
Timings: 9 AM to 5 PM.