Rajmachi is a plateau with fortification about 2200 ft high above sea level located in Sahyadris between Lonavala and Khandala. It boasts of two big forts, Shrivardhan at 2710 ft and Manoranjan at 2350 ft. facing each other with a deep valley in between.
Rajmachi fort complex was originally constructed by the Satavahanas. In 1657, Shivaji Maharaj captured this fort along with other neighboring forts from the Adilshahi ruler of Bijapur. In 1704, the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb captured the fort from the Marathas. However, the Marathas regained its control in 1705. In 1713, Shahu Maharaj handed over Rajmachi fort to Kanhoji Angre. Eventually in 1818 with the downfall of the Marathas, the British acquired the control of the Maratha territories including the forts such as Rajmachi.
Basically there are two routes for Rajmachi one which is shorter and steeper which starts from karjat and the other one is longer but easier and it’s straight from Lonavala. We choose the later as we were with new bees and our intention was fun. We started early morning and reached Lonavala around 7am and we took the bus towards Rajmachi as much as we can, this route of Rajmachi is meant for motor vehicles, there were jeeps and bikers riding towards the fort. Finally the Bus reached to its own end point and we were left with a trek of around 8 kms. The pathway and view across was simply mesmerizing – East or West wherever you see its green in it’s the best. Wind was blowing and weather was rainy and moist a perfect monsoon weather for trek.
There are beautiful waterfalls and water patches in between. The bench in front of the water fall, valley was like “Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads”.
The lush green grass, cactus plants and many more were simply amazing. Further we move we are in deep forest, I was drowning into the tranquility of sky above and the blinding forest surrounding me from all sides. We started with zeal & enthusiasm to complete the journey but after 3 hours we started struggling, no stalls and no people around. But we were not alone. To welcome us, the forest was lively with millions of fire flies glowing, Monkeys, Birds, reptiles all welcoming us – “The earth has its music for those who will listen”
People who were coming down from the trek were all of the words “don’t worry in 10 mins we should be there”. These words were like booster to us giving hope, comfort and energy to walk further 300 meters. There is a temple in between. An ancient Shiva temple was built in Hemdpanti style.From there the final destination was nearby. Reminding ourselves the final goal and the deadline, we moved and started climbing. We reached around 1 pm to the base village Udhewadi. After a quick snack and rest of around 15 mins we headed towards the fort and we were able to reach the top within 45 mins. There is a rich treasure of historical monuments on Rajmachi, mighty ramparts and walls, gateways, secret exit gates, storage tanks and reservoirs, temples and idols of deities, I will say -“Rainy days spent building forts, and running barefoot around the neighborhood until the sun begins playing hide and seek”
The descend was relatively easy, overall a beautiful and memorable trek to remember, a connection with nature and history –“Spending time in nature is healing energy”
INFORMATION / RECOMMENDATIONS:
Best time to visit: June – November (Monsoon)
Difficulty level: Easy.
Food : Udhewadi village offers great homemade local food cuisine (Maharashtrian food) like Junka bhakar,Thali peet , bhakari , Moong dal, Bhajiyas, Dal rice etc.
How to reach:
- From Mumbai : Mumbai – Panvel – Mumbai-Pune Expressway – Lonavala – Nandgaon > Fanasrai > Valvand > Udhewadi village.
- From Pune :Mumbai-Pune Expressway – Lonavala – Nandgaon > Fanasrai > Valvand > Udhewadi village.
- From Lonavala Station: Hire a vehicle or private buses to reach Udhewadi village- it is approximately 14 kms from Lonavala.
Things to carry: Water bottle and Lights snacks as there are no stalls in between, rain coat, Torch, Proper footwear – Rainy wear with good grip or rainy floaters (recommended is trekking shoe), personal medication (if any), a sweater/warm wear, Camera and one extra pair of clothes.
Caution: This trek is not recommended for pregnant women, small children and person who cannot walk.
“Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own happiness”