Probably the most popular weekend destination for Puneites, Sinhagad Fort to the southwest of Pune is one historical fort with numerous battles written in it's long history and is most notably known for the battle to recapture Sinhagad which was fought by brave Maratha warrior Tanaji Malusare.
Its strategic location made it a coveted fort for the kings in that era. This fort has had quite a long history, It was called 'Kondana' after the sage Kaundinya.It was renamed by Shivaji Maharaj after he won the fort back from the ruthless Treaty of Purandar claims. It remained under Maratha rule until 1689. This fort was very one of the strategic ones that helped Shivaji plan his whereabouts in Pune.
The climb starts before sunrise. It is about one and half hour climb. You reach the top have breakfast (local food) which comprises mainly of kanda bhaji (onion crispies) and wada pav. Then start descending. Reach the foot of the fort by atleast 4pm to avoid rush later on.
Visiting Sinhagad : Any time of the year be it summer, winter or rains
Distance from Pune : 30 kms.
Height :approx 700-800mts (only)
How to reach the fort: Obviously reach Pune first. From Pune station or better would be to reach the Swargate ST stand. There are many city buses that ply from Swargate ST stand. The city buses take you to the Sinhagad Gaon (village).
For Tourists: There are many options to reach the top of Sinhagad fort via TumTum(ie share rickshas). There is absolutely no problem in reaching the fort. You need not take the pains of climbing the fort if you are not a trek enthusiast. There is a Tar road right upto the top. Apart from the trek route, one can directly drive up all the way to fort. At the Y-junction while approaching Sinhagad, take the road uphill to the left. There is a charge to take vehicle to the fort approx Rs.50 for car. Also, your vehicle might be checked for liquor as it is strictly prohibited. This route is called Sinhagad ghat road.The road is quite narrow and so better be safe. Also, if a big vehicle comes face-to-face one needs to get off the tar road. From the base once you pay the toll, it takes about half an hour to drive to the top. The route is very scenic. If you land up early, you might get a good parking slot but at the same time you might get stuck due to other cars parked all around.
For Trekkers: Reach the ’’paytha’’ or the foot of the fort. The paytha is accessible via the Sinhagad village. It is around 25-30 mins walk to the ’’paytha’’ from the village. Once you reach the paytha ..then. go ahead start climbing. You can climb during day, during night (chandani raat mein) anytime. If you decide to start early in the morning the best would be to stay overnight at the hotels in the Sinhagad Gaon. If you really want to trek, then you should consider trekking Sinhgad via Katraj (the seven mountain trek. this is again another subject).
History: The fort was conquered by Tanaji Malasure on behalf of Raje Shivaji. (It is very interesting to read about the battle and the way it was conquered.)... you have a little history even at the top of the fort. The locals will tell you many interesting stories. Once at the fort, it takes about 2-3 hours to see the fort. There are various points on fort like 'Kade lot'- the cliff from where prisoners were thrown off, 'Hawa point'- was truly awesome with wind literally blowing everyone away when I visited in monsoon and also the famous edge which Tanaji scaled with his monitor lizard.
On the top to see: Dev Take - famous tank with sweet and cold water. Tanaji’s samadhi on the fort. The tower of Doordarshan is also there on Sinhagad. You can see the Panshet, Khadakwasla and Varasgaon dams and Torana fort. To add to it the view of entire Pune city looks splendid.
Warning: Do not carry food when you visit Sinhagad. If you do so you will be missing on the taste of the Maharashtrian village delicacy. You may carry water with you. Once you reach the top there is a cool water tank on the fort. People keep visiting Sinhgad fort for the scenic beauty, but more so for the food. There are many huts of the villagers on the top of the fort. They prepare garam garam jhunka-bhakari (jowar roti and besan and sabji sort of) with thecha and also Kanda bhaji (onion pakora) with thecha(red chillies mashed) . If you are non vegetarian then you can order full gavran chicken(spicy hot chicken) for around 200 bucks. Then there is special matka dahi and buttermilk prepared by the local village maid. Trust me it is delicious. You can also binge on the corncobs and yummy chatpata green mangoes smeared with red chilli, salt and pepper. Although the cost is on a bit higher side, it is a difficult task for the locals to get the food stuff up to the fort as I have seen most of them walking all the way up carrying load to earn living. The place is kept very clean and there is also a public toilet which one can use free off cost.