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Introduction

Rajmachi is a beautiful and simple trek. Rajmachi consists of two beautiful peaks namely 'Shrivardhan' and 'Manaranjan'. Rajmachi is very famous fort near twin hill stations in Maharashtra - Lonavala and Khanadala.The beautiful place is has exotic natural locations as well as it is a historic site. Rajmachi , situated at 18 0 50' north, latitude and 73 0 24' east longitude, is very good trek for the beginners.

Rajmachi affords a magnificent view of sprawling ranges of the Sahyadri mountain and one can see from here a number of historical forts in the Sahyadri.Shrivardhan and Manaranjan can also be considered as two separate forts. There is one small platue in between them. A temple of 'Bhairoba' is very beautiful. Shrivardhan is 'Bale killa' of Rajmachi. It is almost 3000 feet high. But it was mainly built to keep watch on Konkan area. The other - Manaranjan is 2700 feet high. Manaranjan consists of strong walls, 3 doors and many water tanks. One can see Ulhas river, Dukes Nose (Nagphani), Karnala ,Matheran, Mahuli and Bhimashankar etc. The old caves of 'Kondhavi' on Rajmachi fort are worth to see. The way to fort is long but truly with a good view. One can enjoy a nice forest, Tungarli lake and many waterfalls as well.

Truly, Rajmachi is one of the good places to visit around Pune. And the trekkers especially the beginners enjoy the way to fort. Standing at a great height, overlooking the Bhor Ghat and Ulhas Valley, the twin peaks of Rajmachi attracts a large number of trekkers. A trip to Rajmachi through the Tungarli Lake from Lonavla is decorated with breathtaking landscape.

The Position

Rajmachi Fort is situated in Lonavla region, on the top of the Western Ghats. The highway from Khopoli to Khandala-Lonavla, known as Borghat, is an ancient trade route. Overseas trade of the Western India and the Deccan was carried through the ports of Chaul, Revdanda, etc., on the western coast. The trade route passing through the Borghat connected these ports to the region around Pune and beyond on the Deccan plateau. Fort Rajmachi was built to control the trade route of Borghat.

Trekking in Rajmachi

Trekking in Rajmachi is an experience to beginners and enjoyable for experts. The best attraction in this trek is a typical type of fungus found here. This fungus grows on the trees and it glows in night.this is a must see. Thus this feature makes it exciting for the botany students also. The trek is a total long trail.many animals can be spotted.different types of birds can also be spotted.

TREKKING IN THE SAHYADRIS
A trekker's paradise-Sahyadri hills are dotted with many lakes & forests, are also known for remarkable historic forts and ancient Buddhist caves. The Western Ghats in Maharashtra is called Sahyadri in the local language Marathi. The Sahyadris located in Maharashtra are not very high but they are extremely rugged hills with some unique, formidable pinnacles for the avid rock climber. But the range is not just. The treks in the Sahyadri mean climbing the mountains to reach to the medieval forts. The treks are classified according to region. Note that there are other regions like Nasik region, Pune region, Koyna-Satara region and Warna-Amboli region, which have not been explored by people.

TREKKING IN WAKI WOODS
Trekking is the art of living, travelling and surviving in the outdoors and being one with nature. One can find a number of Lakes, Wild Life and Bird Sanctuaries, Picnic spots and places of tourist interest within driving distance of Nagpur City. Waki woods, which is just 30-km away from Nagpur on Saoner road near Waki Dargha. This is a very ideal place for trekking lovers. This resort offers bird watching wide range of activities like boating, archery, and riding.


History

There is a small ancient temple dedicated to Sri Bhairavnath right in between Shrivardhan and Manoranjan, and served as a royal observation outpost or Raj-Machaan for the Kings and his subjects, hence the name Rajmachi. It is said that the idols installed inside the temple were gifted by Shivaji, Shahu and peshwa Bajirao. This fort served as the inspection check point to collect toll/tax and safeguard caravans and convoys enroute to Pune from Western maharashtra. This fort is very old, it probably belongs to yadav period because of the peculiar twin fort concept. Although extensively occupied and maintained by the marathas, Rajmachi Forts date way back to the times of the early Buddist era as is evident from the architectural details.

Bird Watching


The jungle beyond the temple is teeming with bird life. You may, if you are lucky, see the paradise flycatcher up close. There is plenty of wildlife in these parts, including the highly endangered shekru or Giant Indian Squirrel, leopards and mouse deer. All these reside in the proposed Rajmachi Wildlife Sanctuary, which for now is officially just an extension of the Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary.


 Route to Reach

BY ROAD - To Rajmachi one has to trek from Lonavla or Karjat, each about 20kms from Rajmachi.

BY AIR - The nearest airport will be Mumbai.

BY RAIL - The closest station to Rajmachi is Lonavla station, which is well connected to Mumbai.

Alternate Route - Take a bus to Karjat, from there you can catch a bus to Kondivade. Its at the base of Rajmachi. From there its about 2 1/2 hr steep climb.

Time to Visit

The beauty of Rajmachi is at its best during the Monsoons, so it is advisable to visit the twin peaks from June to August. Rajmachi is highly suitable for a half-day excursion trip, picnic or trek. Monsoons are the best time to visit this twin fort because the entire area has gliding waterfalls passing thorugh the sprawling greenery and hard rocks.

Journey Time

Journey time by road 2 hours + 3½-hour trek or 45 minutes by jeep, by rail 2½ hours + 3½-hour trek or 45 minutes by road

Sight Seeing in Rajmachi

WALWAN VILLAGE
This tranquil village lies at the base of the twin hills. 10kms, from Lonavla, a walk to this village can be thrilling in monsoons, owing to its waterfalls.

UDHEWADI VILLAGE
This village is famous for serving tasty and authentic Maharashtrian food. Rented accommodation is available in the area, making it accessible for the tourists. Udhewadi is located at the plateau (700m), at the base of the twin peaks.

SHRIVARDHAN FORT
This fort is on the eastern side of Rajmachi. The entrance of this fort is semi-circular in shape and is thus not easy to locate from far away. At one end, there are residences or people staying on the fort and the other end is for the guards. There are two huge water tanks filled with water all the year. One tank is near the first cave & the other is near the inside fort. After entering if you go a little further, one can see Buddhist caves which were later used as storage houses for grain and other provisions. Here, along with the Buddhist influences one can also see influence of the Maratha life style, for e.g. The carvings of Ganesha (Elephant God) on the door. The first line of fortifications is some considerable distance from the top and consists of high strong wall. The flat land enclosed by this wall was used for troops quarters and granaries. Further higher up is residence of the fort commander and an image of the fort deity. On the east there is a sheer scarp and no fortifications are required. On the west, however, there are ramparts and bastions. The forts of Lohagad, Visapur, Tungi, Korigad, Nagfani etc. can be seen from here.

MANORANJAN FORT
A road from behind the Bhairavnath temple leads to the Manoranjan Fort. There is a square Lake, which is filled with clean water all the year round. A straight line of rock divides this lake into two parts, and the person having the knowledge of this place can walk through it. The fort at Pali, Karnala, Nagfani, Matheran or the Khandala railway station can be seen from this height of the fort.

BUDDHIST CAVES
There are four ancient Buddhist caves at the base of the Twin peaks.

Return Route

The return route from Rajmachi is much easier to follow. The trail is steeper and one needs to be very careful. One needs to start from Udhewadi village and follow a well-defined trail, on the hill's western slopes. One can find arrows marked at regular and these arrows marks lead way down until one reaches Kondewadi settlement in about two hours. Trekker's can take an interesting diversion half way down the hillside, and follow a trail, which leads to the ruins of Kondana Caves. These are rock cut Buddhist caves with a Stupa, Chaitya, Vihara and sculptures. An earthquake destroyed the floor of the caves and has left the pillars suspended from the ceiling, without support from the base. Trekker's need to be very careful as there are several large beehives hangs at the cave entrance. It is advised to avoid smoking, peeling oranges or cutting onion or garlic nearby, as this can agitate the bees and cause them to attack one. From the settlement of Kondewadi walk for a kilometer till one arrives at Kondewadi proper (bus stop). One can either walk to Karjat (14-km) from here, or catch a rickshaw or bus and then a local train backs to Mumbai or oner onward destination.

Where to Stay

Since Rajmach is preffered for half-day trip, it is advisable to stay at Lonavla and Karjat. Decent hotels and resorts are available at both the places. However, there are rented accommodations available at Udhewadi village.

Special Trek Advice

Rajmachi is famous as the Trekking zone of Maharashtra. So while trekking the twin peaks it is essential to keep in mind:
*Carry light bags.
*The trek may strech over a period of 10 to 12 hours, so be physically fit.
*Carry food, until you plan to treat yourself at the Udhewadi Village.
*Trekking in Rajmachi is fun only during the monsoons, so carry appropriate clothing.
*Advisable to trek with an experienced trekker.

Conclusion

Rajmachi has quiet a lot of significance because of its vital position - keeping an eye on the Borghat, and the beauty that it offers has mesmerized the trekkers for since long. Rajmachi is highly suitable for a half-day excursion trip, picnic or trek. Beginners as well as seasoned hikers can enjoy the trek to Rajmachi Fort.Rajmachi fort situated on a hill, is a beautiful place to watch the sunrise.Rajmachi Fort, endowed with splendour of nature, is our heritage from the ancestors.So pill on your boot straps and get ready for this exciting trek.

 

 

 
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