Saturday, July 05, 2008

Purandar Pictures

Early sight of Purandar from base - Narayanpur
The twin fort of Vajragad as seen from Purandar
The entrance to Balekilla of Purandar
Fortification Purandar
Looking towards the barracks - West side of Fort
From the west end of Purandar - Balekilla and Vajragad in distance

Little monsoon beauty
Narayanpur - Base village from Purandar
The familiar Ranhalad
A hut - on the slopes of fort


My last weekend went uneventful. This weekend three of us set out for Purandar on our bikes. We had fairly got used to the road now due to the 2 week earlier visit to Sonori. Purandar is around 4550 ft from MSL per most of the sources on web and is quite deceiving in a way looking at it from the base. There is a twin fort called Vajragad that sits east of Purandar. Purandar is more known for Murarbaji and Treaties of Purandar.

For the direction seeker from Pune :
1] Head from Camp to Kondhwa, continue straight ahead on Kondhwa-Saswad Rd to Saswad. Move further ahead cross the bridge on the Karha river [ dry most of the times, even in rainy season ] Saswad mysteriously never gets a significant rainfall despite being around 30'ish odd Kms from Pune. Take a left towards Bhor. Travel for around 5 odd kms and take a left to base of Purandar.
2] Head to Saswad via Hadapsar. Take a right from Hadapsar towards Saswad via Fursungi. Reach Saswad and follow the rest of directions from #1.
3] Take Pune-Satara Rd. Reach Kapurhole and take a left to famous Balaji temple. Take a left to the base of Purandar after reaching Narayanpur. All these cases, entire distance not more than 50odd kms I guess.

There are lot of ruins around, there is a Kedareshwar temple at the highest point of the fort. This fort is a birthplace of Chatrapati Sambhaji and Sawai Madhawrao Peshwa. Purandar apparently a home to WWII German prisoners of war. There are lot of barracks here and ruins of two churches. Indian army gets this heritage from the British and they are sitting pretty on this land doing nothing and just being a pain in the arse for civilians. They have a *up his* guard here whose job is to deter people from making it to Vajragad or even to Balekilla. I was shocked myself after returning after 2003. Be careful with this s** o* b** ! I ran into this weirdo today, though I would hunt for my chance sometime for sure.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sonori A.K.A Malhargad Pictures

Kondhwa - From Baapdeo Ghat
Sardar Panse Palace at Sonori
Walls of Panse wada - Sonori
Sonori - Malhargad - Fort
Shiva temple on the fort
Fortification - Malhargad
One of the multiple wells for water
Fortification on the west side of the fort
The water tank on fort
East end of the fort

Sonori A.K.A Malhargad

Not sure if I would be able to carry on like I did in the previous years. Though,the bug wouldn't let me sit idle so without much planning and hype a team of four set out to Sonori, A.K.A. Malhargad. Going by records this fort is the last one to be constructed by the Marathas. It was built by Sardar Panse, the Admiral of Maratha army to watch over Dive Ghat. The village Sonori is at the base of this fort.

To reach this place from Pune:
1] Take Saswad-Kondhwa road and travel till Saswad, take the right turn towards village Sonori on a not so nice road. Sonori about 5 odd kms or more from here.
2] Take Saswad Road from Hadapsar via Fursungi, Dive Ghat and reach Saswad. Take the left to Sonori on the same road described in #1.

There is not much to see on this fort. The fort is named after Lord Malhari i.e. Khandoba. There is a temple of Khandoba here and a temple of Lord Shiva. There are ruins of the partly still intact fortification. There are couple of dry wells and a dryer water tanks that might have served as source of water in ancient times. The fort apparently was built in late 18th century. The construction isn't made of Dark Basalt stones unlike the prominent Maratha forts. There are ruins of Sardar Panse's palace in the village Sonori which needs some mention and needs a visit.

Scaling the fort isn't a tough deal as well and takes hardly half an hour to 40 odd minutes from the right side of the fort. I had hoped that the rainfall this season till now might have pumped some life in the dead grass around here. Although, to my disappointment there was no rainfall reported here so the landscape was quite arid and dry. I had visited Purandar back in 2003 and I had a similar observation by then. This area doesn't get much rainfall, despite the proximity to Pune.

From the top one can apparently spot Dive Ghat, duo of Purandar-Vajragad, Jejuri and Sinhagad [?]. There was no signs of rains and the weather was not as clear so I could spot none. But you sure can try your luck. One more to the kitty for the fort collector !