High and wet - A fort to remember, Raigad #maharashtratreks

16th Jul 2016
Day 1

The blessed state - Maharashtra

Photo of Raigad Fort, Raigad, Maharashtra, India by Rararaasta

Every state in india is equal while some more than others. I will try and make that statement as less controversial as I can. Maharasthra is the most blessed state in terms of its geographical location owing to the western ghats and its innumerably trek-worthy hills. The monsoon rains function like clockwork and this just acts like icing on a cake.

One particular weekend we decided to visit the Raigad fort with a bunch of friends and the rains had just begun pouring on the eve of the trek. We have a few relatives in Navi Mumbai and this place is unbelievably close to most destinations on the western ghats and that is why we decided to move from Andheri( where we stay)to Nerul on the previous night.

How to get there?

winding road winds up in Raigad

Photo of Raigad Fort, Raigad, Maharashtra, India by Rararaasta

We had arranged a vehicle to carry 8 of us, and this place was situated 145 km from Nerul,on the Mumbai Bengaluru highway. It is a brilliant drive and an even better sight to see the hills of the western ghats covered in a carpet of green. The main highway was a total pleasure ride but we had to exit the highway and take the detour towards khopoli. We went ahead on the state highways through the village roads and their potholes made the journey topsy-turvy while the constant rains on our windshield hampering our vision added an element of adventure and excitement.

What to pack?

Eyes on the prize - Lets get to it

Photo of Raigad Fort, Raigad, Maharashtra, India by Rararaasta

We reached the bottom of the monstrous hill at around 9AM and we were all geared up for the climb. A good set of trekking shoes is a must because during monsoons the surface gets very slippery and there is no substitute for good footwear. Make sure you carry a good rain-coat which can completely protect you from the lashing rains.Also carry some healthy snacks like nuts or fruits and atleast 1ltr water.

Note: there is a small refreshment centre at the top of the fort where we relished some bhajias and chai but its usually very crowded and most often doesn't have any more options.

More the merrier - eat, set and Go

Photo of Raigad Fort, Raigad, Maharashtra, India by Rararaasta

A mouthwatering breakfast was ordered at a tiny eatery and the local delicacies like poha and misal paav did more than satiate us. The initial part of the climb was quite easy as there were well-laid stairs. Slowly but steadily the climb got tougher. The rains were incessant and despite all our protective gear, pouring rains did slow us down. A few customary photographs and selfies did lengthen the duration of the journey as well.

Step by step, little by little - The Ascent

Photo of Raigad Fort, Raigad, Maharashtra, India by Rararaasta

The path upwards was not always fun as it was quite slippery and dangerous. It was close to 1700 steps and they get steeper with time and distance. Finally after battling out all the minor obstacles, the summit was reached. The size of the massive fort, in ruins today, is colossal and the credit goes to the engineer who worked under the great Maratha king Shivaji. A statue of the king is built here at the fort premises and this invokes memory of the warrior king's great military strength.

When to go?

A view for you - Never wanna miss this

Photo of High and wet - A fort to remember, Raigad #maharashtratreks by Rararaasta

The best time to visit the fort is without doubt during the peak of the monsoon, so ideally between July and August. A couple of years ago we had been to Sri Lanka and Sigiriya fort on a standalone hill was very much like Raigad in many features. However I was flummoxed that Sigiriya had attained such international fame compared to Raigad ( which even many people in India do not know of) despite being much less expensive and beautiful than the latter.

It aint done yet - The climbing must go on

Photo of Raigad Fort, Raigad, Maharashtra, India by Rararaasta

The fort on top of the hill still has many structures intact like market streets, houses and covering every segment of this fort took us another 3 hours. It was very pleasing to see that the maintenance of the fort was quite exemplary both from a preservation as well as cleanliness perspective. The ruins of the fort still stand with strong foundation but grass covers them completely and this adds further beauty to the standing structures.

Lying on a carpet of green

Photo of Raigad Fort, Raigad, Maharashtra, India by Rararaasta

Can I please go back there again

Photo of Raigad Fort, Raigad, Maharashtra, India by Rararaasta

The Descent-Cablecar 

In almost all treks that we know, the journey and descent back to the bottom is more tedious than the climb and this can be very unsettling. Raigad fort was memorable on all counts as it had a very modern and perfectly functional ropeway system. We wanted to climb by foot but use the ropeway for descending and it was totally worth it. In fact it is like an incentive to climb Raigad as the cable car drops slowly from the top through the thick monsoon clouds and gives a birds eye view of the green and fertile land around. Overall Raigad was unforgettable and I cant wait to get there again.