Trekking the heights of Maharashtra's forts

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Adventure tourism is big business today, with trekking being its spiciest item. There's no dearth of trekkers who would rather venture into untrodden paths and go for sights hitherto unseen. India abounds in trekking spots with Maharashtra offering some exotic, historic and seemingly unreachable heights trekkers would love to clamber up to.

Calling all avid walkers to a tour of Maharashtra's trekking wilds … to its forests and mountains.

Salher

Awesome! That's how one could describe the sight of Salher fort in Nashik district looming majestically into the skies. This the only fort in Maharashtra that sits highest on its perch. It also happens to be the highest site along the Sahyadri mountain ranges. Once atop the fort, it offers a spectacular view of the Baglan mountain range in Nashik.

Trekkers need to set out from the base camps at either Salherwadi or Waghamba early enough to take the three-hour trek up.

Alang Fort

This is one of the most arduous of climbs. The Alang fort is anything but accessible. It rises menacingly above ground level and looms threateningly high. It is one of the three forts in the Kalsubai range of the Western Ghats. It is extremely difficult to reach the top. Dense forests cover the paths. Moreover, the place is not well maintained due to its inaccessibility and constant heavy showers that leave trekking paths slippery and confusing to navigate.

Alang is one among the three forts of the place, the others being Madangad and Kulang.

Telbaila trek

You need to cross two mountain stretches to reach the base of the rock walls that rise at an elevation of 2,728 ft above sea level. The rocks are situated in Telbaila village of Lonavala district.

The climb up is not as arduous as it looks. One can trek up from all sides of the mountains.

Kalavantin Durg

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This is one of the most popular trekking spots along the Sahyadri mountain ranges. Despite its rough route, tourists flock to Kalavantin drawn by the spectacular views from up and the challenge of taking a perilous climb up. The terrain is rugged with narrow rock-cut steps and steep slopes.

The fort rises 2,300 ft above sea level and the base camp is in the village of Takurwadi.

Harihar Fort

The fort stands to the north of Igtapuri, on the Tryambak range atop a triangular-shaped mountain peak. The climb, though exciting, is slippery and can turn treacherous. But trekkers take the ascent just for the panoramic view from the top.

Harichandragad

This is the most majestic of all forts along the Western Ghats. Situated in Ahmednagar, it's historically important and scenically attractive.

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Three paths from the villages of Khireshwar, Nalichi Vaat and Kothale lead up to the ancient fort.

Dhodap Fort

Situated in Chandwad in Nashik, the fort rises 4,829 ft above sea level. It is the second highest fort along the Sahyadri mountain range. Dhodap is the third highest hill peak in Maharashtra after Kalsubai and Salher. The trek is only for the extremely daring bravehearts.

Jivdhan

Jivdhan is one of the famous five trekking spots in Maharashtra and stands in Junnar, Pune. The trek up is extremely difficult. It may take a day or tow to reach the top. There are dense forests along the climb.

Jungli Jaigad

It’s an exciting trek up with lush green grass and thick forests. Located near Koyna lake, it’s a challenge for trekkers. The magnificent trees along the climb are a sight to behold. The forests, the trees, the lake and Kumbharli ghat make the trek worth all the trouble.

Torna trek

Torna, in Pune, is one of the biggest forts in Maharashtra. It was besieged and captured first by Chhathrapathi Shivaji. Standing at a height of 4,603 ft, it towers over all other forts in Pune. Monsoon happens to be the best trekking season here.

Rajgad

The 4,250 ft fort also happens to be in Pune. This is one of the most-frequented trekking spots. Most of the trekking takes place after the monsoons. Visitors prefer to stay at the fort overnight as it's huge and cannot be explored in a single day. The fort offers a magnificent view of the Sahyadri mountains.

Vasota jungle trekking

Vasota is one of the most popular trekking spots along the Sahyadri mountains. The Vasota jungle trek by the side of the Koyna dam, is lined with dense woods, majestic trees and a path that’s easy to take.

The beauty and wilderness are what pull trekkers to this path. Steeped in Maratha history, Vasota is one must-go adventure spot.

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