|Location:||At a distance of 8 km from Khireshwar, 50 km from Bhandardara, 166 km from Pune & 218 km from Mumbai.|
Harishchandragad is a hill fort in Maharashtra. It is situated at an elevation of about 4670 feet in the district of Ahmednagar. Within the fort there are several temples dedicated to Vishnu and Ganesh. It has played a major role in guarding and controlling the surrounding region.
The fort’s highest point is called the Taramati peak or Taramachi and point provides a beautiful panoramic view of the nearby surroundings and the forest area. The fort has the second highest peak in Maharashtra. Konkan Kada or the Konkan cliff is a semi-circular rock wall and resembles a Cobra’s hood, occasionally sporting a rainbow.
This fort has a lot of temples and caves within the premises. A brilliant Saptatirtha Pushkarni temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu has been constructed by the Kalchuri dynasty. Kedareshwar cave is a unique cave here which has a big Shivlinga surrounded by water. It is probable that Shiva was the patron deity of the fort, as there are a number of Shiva lingas at the top of the fort.
There are a few other temples including Nageshwar temple and temple of Harishchandreshwar in this area. Other attractions in the vicinity are the Buddhist caves. Some of the caves here are suitable for camping. There are cisterns of water at the top in addition to a prominent pond.
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 there 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 mahadeva as a totem of tribes koli mahadev. They were controlling the fort before Moguls. Later the fort was under the control of Moguls. The Marathas captured it in 1747.
Places to Visit on Fort:
Harishchandragad is a beautiful hill fort in the Ahmednagar region and a very popular trekking destination in the western ghats. The fort mountain along with, TOLAR KHIND, MALSHEJ GHAT offers a lot for trekkers. The main attraction here is the KEDARESHWAR CAVE, KONKAN KADA and TARAMATI PEAK. KONKAN KADA offers a spectacular view of Konkan. During the rainy season you’d be walking in the clouds on this fort.
How to reach:
Harishchandragad lies where the boundaries of Thane, Pune and Ahmednagar districts converge.
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.
From Pune District: There is a daily bus from Shivajinagar ST stand (Pune) to Khireswar village.
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.
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.
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.
From kotul: bus facilities available way to tolar khind. Every hour bus going towards kothale, private vehicles also available on this route.
Related Video (Harishchandragad Fort ):
Best time to visit:
Ideal Time To Visit Harishchandragad is between October to December.