Lohagad is one of the many hill forts of Maharashtra state in India. Situated close to the hill station Lonavala and 52 km northwest of Pune, Lohagad rises to an elevation of 1,033 m above sea level.
Lohagad has a long history with several dynasties occupying it at different periods of time: Satavahanas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Yadavas, Bahamanis, Nizams, Mughals and Marathas. Shivaji captured it in 1648 CE, but he was forced to surrender it to the Mughals in 1665 CE by the Treaty of Purandar. Shivaji recaptured the fort in 1670 CE and used it for keeping his treasury. This fort was used to keep the loot from Surat. Later in Peshwa time Nana Phadnavis used this fort for living for sometime and built several structures in the fort such as a big tank and a step-well.
The fort has been declared as a protected monument by the government.
Geography and Climate
Lohagad is part of the Western Ghats. It rises to an elevation of 1,033 m (3,389 ft) above sea level, and is located to the southwest of the larger Visapur fort. The range divides the basins of the Indrayani and Pavana rivers. Lohagad overlooks the Pavana reservoir, located to the south of the mountain. The hill extends to the northwest to a fortified spur, called Vinchukata(Scorpion's tail) because of its resembling shape. The four large gates of Lohagad are still in good condition and reasonably intact.
During the monsoon, the top of the fort is covered with mist and clouds and becomes particularly wet with growing moss. The roads and trails leading to the hill are quite slippery at this time of the year and precautions are necessary to be taken while venturing the routes.
Lohagad fort can be accessed by various modes of travel. The nearest airport is the Pune International Airport. The proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport will serve as the nearest airport in the coming future.
The nearest train station is Malavli, which can be accessed by suburban trains between Lonavala and Pune. The nearest major train station is Lonavala, on the Mumbai-Pune railway line. Lohagad is connected by the Mumbai-Pune Highway and can also be accessed from Paud via Kolvan and Dudhiware Khind for all vehicles.
People can also hike all the way to the fort. Bhaja Caves is on the way to Lohagad if a small diversion is taken. This walk is a particular favorite of trekkers, especially in the monsoon season. It is a simple, very scenic and pleasant trek and the distance from Malavli and Lohagad can be covered in around two hours. A tar road exists all the way to the top from Malavli station and one can hire a tempo or cab to the top. The best season to visit the fort is in the monsoons. It is absolutely safe and many vendors selling onion fritters and lemonade are present by the roadside. One can cut across the hills as well. However it is not recommended to play in the waterfall as there is a risk of slippage and injury.
A variety of birds and insects can also be spotted in these hills.