Sinhagad, (Previously called Kondhana Fort) is a fortress located on the outskirts of Pune, near Khadakwasla Dam. The name comes from the phrase said by the great ruler Shivaji Maharaj friend’s death, “Gad ala pan Sinha gela”(We have gained the fort, but lost a lion) in context to the sacrifice of Tanaji Malusare for capturing the fort from the Mughals. It’s elevation is about 4300 ft above sea level. Despite it’s height, it is a moderate level trek, majority of the Punekars go every weekend for the exercise. The main reason to go to Sinhagad is the visual treat of the entire city beneath you, but the best part is the cost & time required. (Hint: very, very low).
HOW TO REACH
- You can reach the base of the mountain by bike or car. There is ample parking space present there and dedicated parking stations.
- You can take the easy way out and go up the fort directly by car. But that just reduces half the fun. The roads are in pretty good condition.
- For the avid fitness enthusiasts, you can go by cycle all the way.
BEST TIME & DAY TO GO
The best time to start climbing is at 5 am, as during your climb you can experience the sun kissed mountains. The alternative is to start climbing at night and camp up there in a tent. Security is not a concern as locals are present nearby. The best part is that the parking is free!
- MONDAY,TUESDAY,WEDNESDAY – The majority of the crowd is not present and you can have your thoughts and the climb all to yourself.
- THURSDAY – This is the day when most of the vendors are not present on the fort so this day is not recommended as you’ll miss on the fresh matka dahi and onion bhajis.
- FRIDAY, SATURDAY, SUNDAY – These are the days when you may feel that the fort is almost “crowded”.
The climb may take a maximum of 2 hours if done at a comfortable pace. The trek is not that intimidating but the views are surreal. Once you reach the top, explore the entire fort and you might find the most surreal views you’ve ever seen. On the plus side, you would have a ton of pictures to upload on Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram.
WHAT TO DO
- Everyone is famished once they reach the top. Apart from the huts selling lime juice, kokam, pineapples, tea, etc. The food stalls on the top offer local food which is cheap and delicious at the same time. Each stall has a specific fixed rate which is universal.
- You can indulge yourselves in onion bhajis with the spicy chutney, pithla bhakri, lemonade, fresh matka dahi, roasted brinjal curry,etc (INR 150 at the most)
- Visit the entire fort and beyond, take photos, see the lake upfront, the mysterious water source at a point, a suicide point, and the entire breathtaking Sahyadri Valley.
You can literally visit Sinhagad anytime and not be disappointed with what it has to offer. If you start climbing at 5 am you can be done and down again by noon. You would not want to start climbing after 8 am, in the sweltering heat.
WHO SHOULD GO?
- If you’re hiking solo you can go for peace.
- If you’re with friends, you can go for a memorable time.
- If you’re with your family, it’s a perfect way to start a Sunday instead of sleeping late.
This may be the most budget trek, you can do the entire trek, roam around on the fort, eat to your heart’s content and not spend more than INR 350( and that’s a lavish amount).
BONUS FOR FOODIES
The badam(almond) shake near khadakwasla dam is something which should not be missed for a simple price of INR 40.