As the clouds roll in, pregnant with life giving precipitation, the plant life seems to come alive to the music of the thunder. Imagine yourself among lush green leaves singing along with the monsoon. Take a walk during this time to soak in the nature's enchanting beauty as well as get fit. So put on some comfortable footwear and take a trek in these locations within Maharashtra.
The name literally means a "a fortress of iron". These ramparts have seen a long and tumultuous history revolving around taking over of these iron walls. From the Mughals to the Marathas, a lot of dynasties have taken over this fort. Built in the Western Ghats the place is green all year round but the monsoons give it a fragrant touch of its own. As you explore the fortifications, the hidden gateways, and the hugeness of the structure don't forget to miss the tiny but interesting bugs and various types of birds.
The pathways are laden with moss and the four humongous gates still stand after all the tests of time. Check out the "Vinchukata" fortification which, as the name suggests, is shaped like a scorpion's tail.
Lohagad is near Lonavala and can be reached by train or road via the old Mumbai- Pune highway.
The Raigad Fort was the seat of the Maratha Empire when Shivaji was crowned the emporer in 1674. It saw a glorious rule by the Maratha ruler from atop the Sahyadri Range in the Western Ghats. Built at an altitude of 820 metres above the sea level, the fortress has around 1500 steps which lead to the main palace. The base of the fort is a village called Pachad which is accessible by road. You can either choose to climb up the steps or take the aerial ropeway straight to the "Mena Darwaza" which used to be a special entrance for the queens.
Enjoy the sights from the fort towers as the monsoon clouds roll around you, white as snow but laden with water. You can even stay overnight at the cottages atop the hills for a refreshing rest stop before you descend from the heaven like palace.
Mahuli Fort is surrounded by a protected sanctuary and a lush green forest. The fort is built at a height of 2,820 ft and after a trek up to the great palace of the Mughals you can descend and rejuvenate yourself in the Mahuli Fall. If you are in a mood for a camping excursion you should check out the caves at the top which are great for an overnight shelter and bonfires.
The highest place in the Thane district, Mahuli is near Asangaon, which is also the nearest train station. You can walk to the fort, which is a mere 8 km trek.
This place is off the Mumbai-Nasik highway and is a rendezvous of beauty, adventure, waterfalls, etc. For the more enthusiastic trekkers the Mount Kalsubai awaits with the challenge of being the highest peak in Maharashtra (5,400ft). The starting point of this trek is the Bari village which is around 12 km from Bhandardara.
THE UMBRELLA FALLS
During the monsoons the Umbrella Falls are bursting with water and one must go there to relax in between the rigorous trek. Also the Wilson Dam built in 1910 to check the flow of the Parvara river is another to go to spot in your trek.
Located at the top of a triangular ( tikona) hill, this fortress is another one of the Great Shivaji's conquests and is nearby Kamshet. This is a famous trekking destination as one can visit the Trimbakeshwar Mahadev and gaze at the Pawna Dam during twilight and just immerse one's visual senses in the greenery of the place.
Tikona fort is also called the Vitandgad fort and the summit provides a view of the Western Ghats and is noted as quite a lovely spot for a weekend picnic in the Bhedse caves. You can reach Lonavala by train or bus and then hit the road to Kamshet which is the closest to the Tikona fort.