Rajmachi consists of two very beautiful forts, namely Shriwardhan and Manaranjan. It is accessible via an easy trek from Lonavala via Tungarli lake which is about 20 kilometers of easy walk and is ideal for beginners. It can also be trekked via Kondivane which is tougher and better for enthusiasts. The Kondane caves when taking this route are a worth watch, especially during the monsoons, which offer stunning waterfalls.
Shriwardhan and Manaranjan are separate forts, separated by a plateau and both of them must be visited separately. Shriwardhan is the 'balekilla' and is situated at about 3000 feet. Manaranjan is at a height of 2700 feet. Manaranjan consists of strong walls, 3 doors and many water tanks. There is also a Bhairoba temple which is quite beautiful.
District - Pune
Height above mean sea level - 2710 feet.
Base Village - Kondivane
Duration of trek - 1 day.
Region - Karjat
Time to reach the top - 3 hours to Rajmachi village, then another half to 1 hour to any of the forts.
Water/Food Availability - Water cistern at the top. Also the village of Rajmachi now keeps everything from water to snacks and meals.
Best season to visit - Especially beautiful during the monsoon, but the force of
the waterfall may make it risky/not viable to pass through during heavy rainfall. Can be visited in winter and summer too.
Sights to visit - Two citadels: Shrivardhan and Manoranjan, Ancient Lord Shiva temple (in Rajmachi village), Ancient temple in the gorge between Manoranjan and Shrivardhan, caves, lake, Kondane caves.
Difficulty Rating - Easy.
Endurance required - 3/5.
Shelter - Kondane caves can be stayed in, which comes at around 30 minutes from the base village. There are caves on the top. One can even ask for accomodation and meals at the village of Rajmachi.
How to get there - Dadar --> Take a local train to Karjat --> Rickshaw or bus to Kondivane.
- Absolutely beautiful waterfalls at Kondane caves, they are a must visit. Water dropping from about 50 feet onto the ground below along the backdrop of the Kondane caves makes for a special sight.
- Take a guide along with you for the first time. The way was too confusing (atleast for us) and we have had to do multiple trips to get to the top.
- Be careful at the waterfalls during heavy rains. The water flows at a great speed and has the power to take you with it.
- Rajmachi village can be approached via bikes from another side, although I am not sure from where.
- To watch all that Rajmachi has to offer, do a 2 day trek and stay overnight. If you plan on returning to Mumbai on the same day, you may not be able to see both the forts.
- Rajmachi village has everything you may need. It has a general store where you can get chips, biscuits, chocolates etc. But it is always BEST to carry all the things you are need, god forbid the shop shuts down.
- Both the forts, i.e. Shriwardhan and Manaranjan have to be trekked separately, each taking about an hour to reach from Rajmachi. So make sure you have ample time to see everything.
|On the way to Kondivane|
|Kondane falls with Kondane caves to the right|
|The broken wall at one end of Shreewardhan fort|
|The edge of the fort and the surrounding landscape|