A rainy Sunday morning, a bunch of Jolly enthusiastic friends and a road covered with lush green trees on both sides, makes a perfect combination for an exploration! Yes, we did explore a "not-so-touched" fort in the Sahyadri ranges, Pandavgad, in Wai Taluka, Satara district, Maharashtra. Standing amidst Dhom dam on one side and the all time hot spot hill station Mahabaleshwar on the other, it is a perfect geographical treat to all nature lovers.
There are two most travelled approach roads to the fort, out of which we took to the longer one, running through a small village settlement at the base named Shelarwadi. Plains covered with fresh green grass, plateau kind of elevated structures, narrow edged roads adjoining a deep valley, rocky patches, indeed a delicious platter offered by the mighty Sahyadris!
The point of actual elevation is marked by the presence of a small temple of a Goddess, a typical stone structure painted in orange. These kind of temples, I must mention, are one of the most common architectural features observed on almost all forts in Maharashtra.
The trail took almost 2.5 hours to reach upto the top with a moderate pace and a few breaks to munch on some tasty snacks and gulping an energizing cup of hot black tea made on "chulha". We came across a huge well of water while climbing, which indicated the presence of human settlements & agricultural practices being carried out on the plains & slopes of that area.
The upper fort (called "Bale killa" in Marathi) is inaccessible and stands as a strong, black rock cut structure, relentlessly & boldly facing the sun, wind, rain since ages. The name "Pandavgad" owes it’s existence from the historical epic of Mahabharata, according to which the Pandavas had stayed in the caves on this fort for sometime. Presently the caves are not in a very good state, mainly due to lack of maintenance. The entrance door of the fort surely amazes every vistor with its impressively artistic architecture. A small, well built and maintained temple of Hanumanji and the traditional Bhairava temple (with a huge metal bell at the entrance) add to the beauty of the site.
Although the fort top area is not as huge as few other forts like Rajgad or Sinhagad, it flaunts a variety of numerous naturally formed erosional & depositional structures like ponds, small & big!
The foggy weather, continuous downpour with strong winds adding to the difficulty level indeed test our endurance!
With a newly explored place & happy memories stored in my heart, Pandavgad made this monsoon season definitely a better one. Happy traveling!
Life is beautiful and so are we! Cheers!
The metal bell in Bhairava Temple.
Hanumanji, the symbol of power!
Entrance to the fort.
First view of the fort.