This trek was much awaited. It was in my head for a long time.
I have covered mostly the major forts of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in the Sahyadri region. However, there were few of them less popular but strategically important ones still waiting to be ticked off from the list.
Well, this trek was about one such fort.
Avchitgad - This fort is a part of the series of fort on route to major forts of Maharaj from Alibaug - western coastal region. This fort and several other forts in the neighboring areas formed a series of fort (Durg Shrinkhala) upto various other major forts such as Lohgad (Iron Fort - where major treasury of the kingdom were kept) - Rajgad (First Capital of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj) - Sinhagad - Raigad (Later Capital of Swarajya) - Sudhagad.
As per a local, there is not much written about this fort or lost in the history. The local also said, people who were part of the Shivrai's army hid their identities to escape execution at the hands of the Britishers and other foreign rulers. This may be the reason for this fort losing its share of history.
Once you reach on top and take a proper view from the Burj (Bastille) which is in ruins now. One can easily understand the purpose of its creation. What Maharaj could've thought of in those days.
The view of the Kundalika river is clear from this fort. So anybody coming from the western coastal area mainly Alibaug, would first have to go through Korlai forts, Revdanda forts and Colaba forts - these would serve the first line of defense as these are Jal Durg (Sea Forts). Jal Durgs (Sea Forts) were constructed on the beaches or on a tiny land mass near the beaches. If these were broken and if the enemy had to advance towards the capital fort - Raigad through the Kundalika river then to keep an eye on the enemy would be easy from Avchitgad.
I took the Diva - Sawantwadi passenger train which leaves early morning at 06:25 from Diva Junction to Roha which cost me Rs.25 (single journey).
Try to get into any of the last few compartment and get down at "Nidhi" railway station. Start walking in the direction from where the entered the railway station.
The base village for this trek is "Medhe" village. The fort is on the right hand side when walking in the direction of the base village. You can see the tower and the Saffron flag.
I started walking on the railway track towards the village. Luckily, I met a lineman on the way, who showed me the path. On the right hand side, you could find a house or way going in the direction of the fort.
The way passes through this house and towards a Vitthal temple in the interiors. It is from where the real trek starts.
The landmark would a be huge well.
The locals have a made it easier for us. They have marked the trail till you reach the main doors of the fort. They also look after the fort and maintained it well.
Please try to water the sampling put on the top of the fort by the locals. It will help in the beautification process and make this fort come alive for many other like us.
I would rate this trek as easy trek. Good for first time trekkers.
I watered a sapling from the water available in the tank on top then descended to the base village.
Enjoyed the local food at the house which I spoke about earlier. They didn't charge me for the food. I insisted that they take some money but they insisted back and did not take any money from me.
You can go to this house with a huge group. They can accommodate a group of 10 - 20 people and make arrangements for a night stay.
Then I took the Roha - Diva passenger train which arrives at "Nidhi" at 04:20. By evening 07, I was at Diva station. The return ticket cost me Rs.35.
Even If I had paid for the food. The total expense would've been under Rs.100 or Rs.150 if we take maximum Rs.100 for a thali.
Train Itinerary in short :
- Roha - Sawantwadi passenger train leaves at 06.20 from Diva. Try to book an advance ticket or if traveling in a general compartment then you will have to come at least half an hour early. This train mostly runs late because of the preferences given to major train running on this line.
- Get down at "Nidhi" mostly by 09:00 AM.
- Start the trek by 09:30 AM and reach by 11:00 AM maximum.
- Try to water the saplings and do not throw plastics bottles on top. If possible, carry some with you and throw in the garbage at the base village.
- Two hours or depending on you, you can spend time of top.
- Start descending which will not take much time. I did it in 15 minutes, I was at the well at the base village.
- There are several other ways to reach the top. However, the route from "Medhe" is well marked and doable by all. The other route take you to a different base villages which are far away from the railway station and goes through dense forest.
So this is how I completed by second trek under Rs.100.
Here are some of the pictures taken at the top.
Thank you folks taking time out and reading.
छत्रपति शिवजी महाराजांना मनाचा मुजरा !
अतुल्य भारत !
एक भारत ... श्रेष्ठ भारत !
देखो अपना देश !
जय हिन्द !
जय महाराष्ट्र !