Nestled at an altitude of 1482 feet, the Sagargad Fort is located in Alibaug in Maharashtra. Alibag – this one word often brings about excitement to the Mumbaikars. And it rightfully does so – with breathtaking sceneries, great seafood and loads of adventure and excitement. Alibag has a lot of old forts in and around the place. All those seeking adventure during the weekends can trek to these forts and enjoy the thrill of trekking. Sagargad Trek is one of the thrilling DIY treks of this region. If you are longing for an adventurous weekend, just pack your backpack and head towards the Sagargad Fort with all your adventure pals. And in this way, you will also come across the rich history and culture of Maharashtra as well as the natural beauty of the place might just take your breath away.
The Sagargad Fort was said to exist since the Satvahan dynasty. The actual details of the fort have been lost in the annals of time. It is believed that the great Shivaji had conquered the fort from Adil Shah. The fort finds mention in the treaty of Purandhar (1655 AD) under which Shivaji handed over 33 forts along with the Sagargad Fort to the Moghuls. It was also handed over to Angre, naval chief of Maratha at latter stage of history so that he remains loyal with his support to Shahu Chhatrapati of Satara. Later this fort was lost to British in the middle of 19th century. During that period some British Officers had built retreat houses in and around the fort.
The Sagargad Fort trek is a one day trek. The trek to the fort starts from the Khandale Village on the Alibag-Pen road, through a 3 hour scenic route, with the stunning Dodhane waterfall en route. The Khandale village is the base village for the trek. You have to take a bus from towards Alibaug and get down at Khandale. Most of the buses to Alibaug go through Khandale, but it is better if you inform the conductor beforehand. There is a motorable road that goes through the Khandale village. Just ahead of the motorable road, a dirt road begins, through the fields and forest. You have to take this dirt road until you reach to a flight of stone stairs. It is a walk of around 20 minutes. The climb starts from these stone stairs. During monsoon season a stream of water flows down these stairs.
After you ascend a few steps there is a small diversion on the right that would take you to the 100 feet long Dhondona waterfall. You can descend down towards the base of the waterfall to have a grand view of the falls.
Otherwise, you can continue your climb through the stone steps towards the Siddheswar Temple. There are about 350 stone steps that you have to maneuver to reach the temple. Siddheswar Temple and Ashram is the mid point of the trek. This temple is quite a well known temple dedicated to Lord Shiva where people from the nearby villages come for offering their prayers. The temple also has a rest room that can accommodate almost 25 people. Rest for sometime at the temple and experience the peaceful surroundings. There is also a small water stream behing the temple. This stream later connects with the Dhondona waterfall.
The trail towards the Sagargad Fort is just before the temple towards the left. Very soon, you will reach the Sagargad village. The trail to he village is a combination of gentle climb and plain path. Yhere is a well just before the Sagargad village by which you can know that you have reached the village. Walk in the village till you reach the village school. Just towards the right of the school, there is a dirt track that will lead to the forest. Follow the trail through the jungle till the Sagargad Fort and the Vanertok is visible to you. very soon , you will reach at the walls of thefort. There is a flight of stairs that lwads to the top of the Sagargad Fort. The entrance will take you through thick vegetation till you reach the top of the fort. There is a Shiva temple at the top of the fort. The Shiva temple has a few relics, Nandi idol, Shiv Ling and a Ganpati Idol. On the left of the temple there is a water tank. The water tank is also called Gaumukh as it is shaped on the form of a cow’s mouth. From this point Vanartok is hidden behind the mountains. If you keep walking towards it until you will see the British quarters.
Once you are at Sagargad Fort, visit the ruins of the fort and the old British quarters. Most of the fortifications are destroyed and are in shambles, but nevertheless it is a wonderful experience. There is also a pond, but the water is not clear. The villagers also claim that the pond is infested with snakes. Standing on the top of the fort, you can see a panoramic view of Manikgad, Karnala, Mirgad on the eastern side and the Arabian Sea and Revdanda Fort on the western sides. The views from the fort top is quite rewarding.
Total distance covered: 8 km
Best time to visit: This is a all year round trek. But winters are the best time to visit the fort, as the weather will be pleasant. This trek can also be done as a night trek.
How to reach Khandale: Khandale village is situated on the Mumbai – Alibaug road. While travelling to Alibaug, one can reach Khandale village after crossing Karla pass. The village is about 6 km from Alibaug.