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Mahabaleshwar to Pratapgarh

Mahabaleshwar to Pratapgarh

In 1803,Mahabaleshwar was a thickly forested uninhabited almost forgotten plateau that was part of the territory under Pratap Singh ,ruler of Satara.Its status changed after Governor Malcolm of Bombay exchanged a village for Mahabaleshwar in 1828.And thus began the development of the summer capital of the Bombay Presidency now Maharashtra’s most famous hill stations. It is also a place of religious significance with many temples. The area is surrounded by many forts.Mahabaleshwar is a good starting point for a trek to some of the picturesque places. The area is remote and surrounded by dense forest. There are wild boar, bear, deer, leopard and an abundance of bird life in the jungle around. From Mahabaleshwar go to Zolai Khind Pass. From the end of the pass follow a well used trail on the right or due northwest. Enter a dense forest and descend along a long spur to the village of Dudhagoan.Makarandgad Fort is located in the south-west surrounded by thick forest cover. From Dudhgaon follow the dirt road due west, crossing the Koyna River before reaching Chaturbet.The trail runs due south-west before coming to a flat stretch where it joins another trail coming from the left. This trail comes up from Dabhe village on the banks of Koyna River. Since much of the area in Makarandgad is filled with thick forests you can even spot jungle fowl and peacocks along the trail. From Ghonaspur the trail into the fort goes due west and climbs another few minutes before entering the big fort. There are hardly any ruins or ramparts still standing. There is also a rock-cut cave that holds water and stretches far back. From Makarandgad fort descent to Hatlot Village to the west. The trail descends along the right side following the base of the wall. You will cross the hamlets of Hatlot from there the trail turns due north-west to Shirpoli and Dudhgaon Phata.Walking along this road you will pass Parpar village and then Sondpar village. From there a path leads to the tomb of Afzal Khan. From here you will reach the base of Pratapgad Fort. This Fort is still with the Bhosale Family of Satara and is well –maintained. As you enter the fort you will come across the watch tower and its protective walls. From the western end of the fort one can look down into the Konkan while in the north one can see Raigad,Torna,Rajgad and several other forts.Mahabaleshwar is due north-east while Majarandgad is due south-east. After exploring the fort you can either spend the night in tent or return to Mahabaleshwar.

Time:
2 days or more

Ideal Season:
October to March

Location:
In the Koyna-Satara region,south-east of Mumbai in the Western Ghats.

How to Reach
From Pune to Mahabaleshwar it is 128 km/2 hrs by car or 3 hrs by bus. Return from Mahabaleshwar there are several buses to Pune and also to Mumbai. Taxis are also available to both the cities.