Lohagad Fort (Marathi: लोहगड, Iron fort): One of the many hill forts in Maharashtra which is good for Trekking (especially for team outing), alone you will be bored. It is situated near to Lonavala and around 52 KM from Pune and 1,033 m above sea level. Recently we (Equity Team) visited this place and covered all things – Waterfall, Cave and Lohagad fort within the time frame of 9 hours.
Depicting Our Journey below:
Multiple hearing happened during office time where Automation Tester was chanting every day “Chalo Na, Chalo Na” so finally our trip advisor has prepared an itinerary of Lohagad for us. Even though automation tester was not happy because for her it was closet to Pune and she already visited last year (Cave only but was in hallucination that she visited Lohagad... Lol).
Trekking Planning started from first day of last week and finalized at Friday after searching lot of places around Pune whom we could visit. Day before our journey, plan was in place and everyone was aware about what they need to carry and when they need to reach Pimpri Station. Received thumps up from all the members on WhatsApp and waiting for early morning to kick off this journey.
Early morning, I left my bed at 4:30 AM after stopping two sequential alarm clocks – 4:05 AM and 4:15 AM & did my daily chores. At 6:30, I started giving miss call or call to our team and their responses were – Automation Tester: “Abhi Aur Sona hain… 8:00 baje pahuch jayenge station”, recently promoted Jr.QA: Called 3-4 times full ring but no response then after some interval, one WhatsApp ping – “Main 7:15 Tak Uth Jaungi” and Our Trip advisor – Woke at 6:30 and texted “GM” message on WhatsApp.
Reached Pimpri station at 8:05 PM due to some Palki at Shagun Chowk; got late 5 min. I saw Our Trip Advisor was there and already taken 4 tickets (Pimpri to Lonavala – Local) but our late comers (Automation and Jr. QA tester) they started their journey at 8:05 AM from Pimple and reached station 5 min prior. Train arrived at 8:30 AM on Platform 2 and we took General Coach, after some efforts or Talegaon station we all got the seats.
We stopped our journey at Malavli station and did “One Team” photography prior to start the long journey by walk. Took right from the station and reached to bridge (Expressway – Pune to Mumbai), we thought to do some snacks like Poha and Vadapav but skipped it and continued walking in right side direction from the bridge. While walking we enjoyed a lot “I think first time equity team covered this much distance (Approx. 1+ KM) by walk together”- Some background song was encouraging us “Akele Akele Kaha Ja Rahe Ho Hume Saath Le Lo Jahan Ja Rahe ho”, at one point saw two little baby Dear and flocks of Desi MurgiJ (Savan Chal Raha Tha Warna Chicken Tandoori Hoti), both side of the road was covered with greenery which was reminding me my ancestor’s village.
After walking 30 min, we reached at Initial point (Place was good, Waterfall in the front and Hanuman Temple] where we did “Halka Pulka Breakfast” – Poha and Chai. [For others – Local shopkeepers were making good profit from Visitors/ Trekkers. Cost of 1 Plate Poha was 25 RS and that was not enough for single person]. After finishing our breakfast we were supposed to move toward Lohagad but moved toward Cave [Always take expert advice from someone who already visited that place]. Automation Tester who already visited Cave last year and was in hallucination state that she visited Lohagad wherever she not even touched the feet of Lohagad Fort.
Took Entry Pass for Cave (On Ticket: 5 RS/- mentioned but they have stamped 15 RS/-, don’t know where the extra 10 were goingJ. Visited Cave thoroughly and did lot of photography there. View was awesome : Left side : Bhaja Cave - The Buddhist excavations at Bhaja, also known as Bhaja caves, date almost to the 1st century AD and are believed to be one of the oldest Buddhist religious centres in this area. Very well maintained and cleaned as compared to other tourist attraction place. Right Side: Steep slope with green grass and a narrow track to go to Waterfall and connecting to Main road (Short Cut – Those who love trekking, they would like such path). Front Side: Beautiful Waterfall
We were little tired by climbing the stairs to see the cave so initial thought came that we would skip the plan to go to Lohagad fort but slowly-slowly we started enjoying the nature and followed the risky narrow path to go waterfall & main road. In between we took a 10 min halt for some refreshment and thought to make new episode of Shavdhan India (Because Wohi Purana Episode Dekh Dekh Kar Bore Ho Chuke The), Automation tester was too silent during that journey; maybe she would also thinking in the same line. If suppose in worst case that we even tried to make the episode then subject would be – Shavdhan India: QA v/s Automation Tester Ki Jalan.
Crossed the little-little hurdles and did photo-shoot of waterfall with great model (Jr. QA tester). After 15-20 min walking we touched the main road from where we took Toyota Qualis car and requested some more person to join us so that budget would be shared, at last it was cost around 50 RS per head and reached the base of Lohagad fort where we did a short of lunch (Bhutta and Boiled egg) and prepared Bhel from the stuffs which we carried from our home. We started climbing the stairs to go to apex of the fort; having tasty Bhel in parallel. In between – We saw Red-Faced Monkey and feed some Bhel; it was really amazing experience when they were picking the Murmura from their little hand from my hand. Slowly-Slowly we reached at Ganesh Dwar (that was first door) and then at final door (Hanuman Dwar).
In between we experienced lots of things:
· Initial & Final Stair steps were good but in b/w path was very terrible; somewhere allowed only one person to go at a time but in India we know that we all were in hurry so people were not stopping and giving space to others until and unless tragedy won’t happen.
· In between when we reached at certain height then decide to do photo-shoot, Weather was too good; we were covered with fog and moving cloud. I tried some Khatroon K Khiladi pose and shots were taken by our trip advisor.
We reached at the top of the fort at around 2:20 PM; from where view was astounding and enjoyed the ON/OFF rain, nature, scenery and stopped at Rani Raja Graveyard. When rain stopped for some minutes then we did some photography, masti and video shoot but missed one more attempt to make Shavdhan India Episode. Honestly speaking life time view captured from eyes which won’t be easily erased. After spending around 30-40 minutes, We decided to go to Station directly from fort but plan was keep changing throughout the Journey so one condition had put in the front of all – If we were able to reach to base of fort prior to 3:30 PM then will go else station and skip the plan for Waterfall.
All of sudden, positive energies started flowing inside everyone and seems all were curious to visit Waterfall. We reached at Base prior to the deadline time and took Toyota Qualis Car and requested one group to join us. That group was good; they were passing the comments – Ek Dushre Pe. Driver stopped his car at first waterfall spot and then we walked around 5-10 min to reach to Main Waterfall which we saw initially starting the journey. I changed my get up and we decided to start climbing the rocks by naked feet but it was too slippery because of continuous water flow and fungus. We were not in condition to make one step on rock so wore the shoes.
To reach at top of the waterfall by crossing all midway hurdles, I decided to lead the team and guided them to follow my foot-steps. We people were feeling like that we are By Birth Rock Climber, helping hand by hand – Reached to main spot of the waterfall and enjoyed the bathing under an extreme waterfall. After bathing the next challenge how we would get down because it looks too dangerous. Jr. QA tester followed my instructions and reached safely to the ground without experiencing any slide but Automation tester slipped a lot (around 4-5 times) because of new branded shoes.
Did some photo-shoots where I looked like an English man because tanning was removed for some time :) (Hypothetical Khushi Ho Rahi Thi). We took auto-rickshaw and reached station at 4:48 PM, next train was at 5:28 PM.
We all were hungry so I prepared boiled Chana Salad by adding or mixing all the ingredients (Tomato, Onion, Coriander, Chat Masala, Jal Jeera Powder and Lemon) which we were carrying with us. At last we had this tasty salad and boarded in local train at 5:35 PM & reached to Pimpri Station at 6:30 PM.
Some memories of Lohagad are locked below:
Title: Lohagad Trekking Memories
Thanks to Automation Tester , Trip Advisor or Planner and SSE QA Tester for making this equity team outing successful. Hoping we would have many more on the way!!!
Learning / Suggestion:
· If anyone of you planning to visit Lohagad fort then start your journey at around 6:00 or 7:00 AM and try to go to Lohagad fort directly because at top there are lot of sites or points which will attract you a lot.
· Try to wear a shoe which has a good grip because somewhere path is too slippery.
· Always carry first-aid kit (especially Volini Spray or gel).
· Carry some snacks and water bottle, along with some energy drink.
· Taking selfie is good but try to avoid taking these shots at the edge of the top because it is too dangerous, due to continues rainfall at the peak or fog; surface at the edge is not hard.