The fort is quite ancient. Remnants of Microlithic man have been discovered here. The various Puranas (ancient scriptures) like Matsyapurana, Agnipurana and Skandapurana include many references about Harishchandragad. Its origin is said to have been in the 6th century, during the rule of Kalachuri dynasty. The citadel was built during this era. The various caves probably have been carved out in the 11th century. In these caves are idols of Lord Vishnu. Though the cliffs are named Taramati and Rohidas, they are not related to Ayodhya. Great sage Changdev (one who created the epic Tatvasaar), used to meditate here in the 14th century. The caves are from the same period. The various constructions on the fort and those existing the surrounding region point to the existence of diverse cultures here. The carvings on the temples of Nageshwar (in Khireshwar village), in the Harishchandreshwar temple and in the cave of Kedareshwar indicate that the fort belongs to the medieval period, since it is related to Shaiva, Shakta or Naath. Later the fort was under the control of Moguls. The Marathas captured it in 1747.
Ways to reach
Harishchandragad lies where the boundaries of Thane, Pune and Ahmednagar districts converge.
1) From Thane District: One has to board the bus for Nagar from Kalyan & alight at ‘Khubi Phata’. From there we reach the village of Khireshwar by bus or private vehicle. This village is 7 km from the foothills of the fort.
2) From Pune District: There is a daily bus from Shivajinagar ST stand (Pune) to Khireswar village.
3) From Ahmednagar District: One has to board the bus for Nasik or Mumbai & alight at Ghoti village. From Ghoti, we have to board another bus to Sangamner via Malegaon & alight at Rajur village. From here, 2 ways diverge to the fort. 1) From Rajur, one has to board the bus or a private vehicle to the village of Pachanai. From here, the way is straight to the topmost point. 2) Recently, the way from Rajur to kothale (Tolar Khind) has been made available. From Tolar Khind (Tolar valley), the temple is about 2–3 hours by walking. 3) from kotul to kothale bus facilities available way to tolar khind every hour bus going towards kothale, private vehicles also available on this route.
Hiking to the Fort
There are 4–5 known ways up to the fort, the most usual being the following ones:
Way from Khireshwar
The way beside the caves, where water tanks are seen, proceeds further to Junnar Darwaaja (Entrance From Junnar). From here, the route goes straight to Tolar Khind. Walking a few minutes from Tolar Khind, we come across a rock-patch on which railings are fixed. After ascending the railings, we come to the plateau region on which less dense forests are seen. From here, we have to cross 7 hills & after a walk of 2–3 hours, we reach the temple of Harishchandreshwar, the temple of Lord Shiva. Note: On this way, many arrows help in indicating the way.
Also there is one interesting short route if one has to skip the seven hills. By this route, you can reach the temple in 1 hour instead of 2 hours through seven hills but this route goes through very very dense forests hence if you are in group of many people, this route can be tried After climbing the rock patch from the Tolar Khind, follow the usual trek route going ahead and at one point, you will encounter two ways one to the right goes to the temple through seven hills and the straight one goes below the balekilla (citadel)through very dense forests (the trees are very dense that you can't even view the sky above your head)and this route reaches to the seventh mountain directly.
Way from Belpada
The third way is specially meant for hikers, which is via Sadhleghat. One should board the bus for Malshej Ghat & go to the village of Belpada via Savarne village on the Malshej-Kalyan road. From here, the route goes through Sadhleghat. Here one has to climb a straight rock patch on which grips are provided. The temple is situated at a height of about 1 km from Belpada. The total distance is about 19 km.
Way from Kothale
There is another way to reach Harischandragad is from Kothale village, a village you can reach by buses or private vehicles. Buses coming from Sangamner, Akole or from Kotul. From Kotul the distance is 25 km with buses going every hour towards Kothale. From kothale Harischandragad is 3 km away, from Kothale to Harischandragad you need to go by foot. This way is very beautiful as you enjoy natural beauty of forest. On this way there is a small pond of pure natural water available at that pond. The history of that pond is that some years ago this pond provided water for all cowboys who came from the nearest villages.
Ganesh caves, located very near to the Harishchandeshwar Temple. Temple has capacity of providing accommodation up to 50 people. Despite of the efforts from the locals and hikers some people have managed to make the place dirty. People hiking to the other peaks generally rest here during night. It would be advisable to carry a camp to avoid the unhygienic condition of the caves.
Accommodation in Kothale village
accommodation also available in nearby village kothale (its free of cost provided by social service society like nadekar family social service society, nadekar family charitable trust. local social societies also helpful for all tourist and pilgrims.also villager providing all facilities to all people.
Accommodation in Khireshwar
In Khireshwar, local school is the best for a night’s stay. In this village, we can see the beautiful temple of Nageshwar as well as ancient caves of the Yadav era.
In Pachnai village on the other side of Harishchandragad fort from Ahmednagar district, One Hanuman temple is good for an overnight stay.