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Rajmachi

Rajmachi

Rajmachi is a small village situated in the Sahyadri mountain range of the Konkan region of Maharashtra. Rajmachi is famous for the historical fortress which has two fortified peaks – Shrivardhan and Manaranjan forts, located near two famous hills of Lonavala and Khandala.

At the base of the fort is the village Udhewadi which is another name for Rajmachi. Rajmachi has seen many change of hands from Shivaji Maharaj, Emperor Aurangzeb, Shahu Maharaj and eventually the British reign. The fort of Rajmachi is famous among trekkers and adventure enthusiasts. If you want to experience a full-fledged trek, you can start from the Kondhane caves side which will take 3-4 hours of climbing, but otherwise you can drive right upto Udhewadi village (from the Lonavala side) and then trek for hardly 20-30 minutes to the top of the fort. The simple and clearly marked trail on both the paths make Rajmachi a very popular beginner’s trek.

Trek to Rajmachi Fort from Mumbai

If you are coming from Mumbai side, you can start the trek from the Kondhane Caves side. Please note that this is the long approach to Rajmachi and the trek will easily take you around 3 – 4 hours depending on how fast you walk. The trek, however, is pretty easy for beginners – most of the route is a gradual ascent, with well-defined steps on the steep ascent legs. The trail is very well defined, and there are small arrows indicating the direction to Rajmachi fort on a few points where you might be unsure where to head.
Pro tip: You can put these coordinates on Google Maps as the starting point of the trek – this is where you can park your car, so you can navigate to here (18.8418316,73.3764473)

Trek to Rajmachi Fort from Pune

From the Pune side, the trek to Rajmachi is much shorter. You can drive your car all the way up to Udhewadi village. However, be warned – the 15 km route from Lonavala to Udhewadi is extremely bad and we would recommend you only take this route on an SUV or a car with high ground clearance. From there, the route to the top of the forts is hardly 30 minutes, and the tourism department has built new steps on almost half the way. This is by far the more convenient way to reach the top of the forts – however, this route wouldn’t really give you much feel of “trekking”.
Pro tip: Just type “Rajmachi Fort Udhewadi” on Google maps and you will be able to navigate till here.

History of Rajmachi Fort

The mighty Rajmachi fort was built by the Satavahanas who established their kingdom soon after the Mauryan Dynasty came to an end and ruled the kingdom till 230 BC. This kingdom started getting recognized when it was taken over by Shivaji Maharaj in 1657 from the ruler of Bijapur, Adil Shah. Under the rule of Shivaji, the Rajmachi fort was made defensive and a few structures were added for battalion purpose. It was under the rule of the Mughals from 1704 to 1705 before the Marathas gained control after their fight with Aurangzeb.
After the Marathas, the fort was taken over by the British when the Maratha Kingdom declined in the 19th century. Soon after independence, Rajmachi Fort was declared an ancient and protected monument in Maharashtra. The Buddhist caves dedicated to the local deity are situated on the Western side of the Rajmachi plateau and were carved during 200 BC.

Architecture of Fort Rajmachi

  • The Rajmachi Fort has a brilliant architecture and comprises of vast and robust walls, gigantic gateways, residential units, administrative centres, water reservoirs and some secret gateways which were used for exiting purpose at that time.
  • The fort is built upon two hill stretches namely Shrivardhan Hill and Manaranjan Hill. Shrivardhan Fort and Manaranjan Fort inside the Rajmachi Fort have been constructed in a traditional Indian style.
  • Inside the forts are a few ruined complexes. Since the area is considered as a heavy monsoon area, it has a number of man-made as well as natural water catchment areas. Some manmade lakes have been built in the area for the summers.
  • A famous temple known as Kal Bhairavi Temple too has been established here which is decorated beautifully on auspicious occasions.
  • The various functionaries and officers in the military and administrative set-up for Rajmachi region under the Maratha rule resided at Rajmachi till the British defeated the Peshwa in the year 1818. Ruins of their big residential houses are found in the forest on the south side of the hamlet Udhewadi.
  • A big water reservoir constructed about 200 years ago is situated further down from the forest mentioned above. A carved stone plate in the wall of the water reservoir indicates that it was built by Ramrav Narayanrav Deshmukh, Mamlatdar of Danda Rajpuri (near Murud Janjira in Raigad District).
  • An ancient Shiva temple, built in Hemdpanti style, is situated on the western side of the water reservoir. A fountain in the shape of cow-head and a water tank in the front of the temple has been discovered.

Restaurants and Local Food in Rajmachi

In Udhewadi, the village at the base camp, some villagers can make delicious home-cooked food for you – mostly egg/chicken curry or usal, dal along with bhakri and rice. You can also opt for snacking options like pohe, bhajis and maggi. Also available are refreshing drinks like kokam sharbat and neebu paani. You might be able to get misal pav and vada pav as well. The food is simple but has an extremely authentic Marathi flavour – a great pit-stop after a tiring trek.
However, for the trek, we recommend that you carry some snacks (dry fruits, apple, biscuits, etc) and plentiful of liquids and glucose because you won’t be able to find any food while trekking.
Source: holidify.com

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