The monsoon had just knocked on the door of Mumbai and in the process it almost knocked out the city out of control. The whole city was converted into a huge water park where at a glance it looked more like city of Venice than amchi Mumbai, with houses, trains, roads all under water, Against this background just imagine what can happen when you tell your people at home that you would be going for a trek, Naturally all hell breaks loose “Arre koi jata hai kya itni barish me” “Dekho TV wale kya dikha rahe hai,bola hai ki zaroori kaam ho toh hi nikalna chaiye” but luckily for me, all the skills of convincing that I had accumulated over the years to sneak to treks has paid off and I was granted permission to go.
|Mumbai in rains|
Just like every avid trekker I too was looking forward to start my monsoon trekking season with something exciting. Its a well known fact that the Sahyadri mountains gets magically transformed from brown desert like fields to a canopy of green.
|Canopy of green carpet|
I was very disappointed while going thru the monsoon schedule of various trekking group as their list contained the usual suspects viz. Kothaligad, Peb, lohgad etc. I was looking out for something new or lesser visited kind of a place. I was therefore very excited when my friend Ajay suggested going to trek to Patta Fort, I immediately said ” I am in ” and was all set to go.
Before I start with our trekking moments, Let us brush up a little history of this Patta fort.
|Map of Patta Fort|
After the war at Jalna , Shivaji Maharaj reached Sangamner, Even though the moghuls who was chasing Shivaji with the large army they got defeated in the battle and on 16th Nov 1679(6 months before death) Shivaji Maharaj arrived on the fort and rested here for a month to recover from prolong illness hence the fort got it’s name Vishramgad. This fort was earlier known as Patta killa. The residents of this fort was called Pattekar.
Height of this fort is 1392 mtrs(4566 feets).
|Early morning at Dadar station waiting for Kasara Local|
For me Sunday mornings generally starts early, either it is trekking or Sunday long runs so as usual the alarm screamed at 4:00 am. I got ready and reached Dadar. It was decided that we would be catching Kasara fast local of 7:08 am.
|Miss the train , Miss the trek|
It was also clearly understood that if this train is missed then your trek will definitely get missed because we had made arrangements at Kasara Station for private jeep to take us to the base village Pattewadi.
|All set to go|
It was 9.15 am when we reached Kasara Station. As we had already arranged for the private jeep, so the driver was waiting for us there. Quickly all of us boarded the jeep and we were on our way.
|Moving through the Kasara Ghat Highway|
The road journey through Kasara Ghat is always pleasant but in monsoon it’s simply mind blowing. Taking the diversion from the highway we moved towards the Bhandardara road and further taking the left from the road we were on our way to Takked village – kokanwadi-Pattewadi.
|Mountains and overcast black clouds|
The route from Takked village was immensely beautiful especially with curling roads. Lovely mountains towering over us, cool breeze, overcast black clouds threatening to simply burst forth
and the icing on the cake was the sight of windmills dotted along the horizon looked just like beautiful candles on a birthday cake.
|Windmills looking like candles on the cake|
I don’t know why we city people get so excited seeing the windmills(Obviously including myself). Mano ya na mano yaaro these windmills do have certain aura about them. The team with which I was traveling was not all that die hard fan of clicking pictures, therefore it took some efforts to convince them to have 5 minutes break at the spot where we could actually touch the windmills.
|I have never seen windmills from so close|
Before anyone could change their mind I jumped out of the jeep and started clicking madly, in the meanwhile others also got into the act, “Ek baar engine chalu kar do toh gaddi akshar bhagne lagti hai “ I say this because the whole atmosphere went photo- photo for few minutes.
|I am always ready for a picture|
Ajay had to keep honking the horn of the jeep to attract everyone’s attention to come back to the jeep. Few more minutes of drive from here and we reached Pattewadi.The base village of the Patta Fort.
|Base of Patta Fort|
All through out this drive from Kasara station to Pattewadi we were gaining height , perhaps that was the reason that prompted me to jokingly thank Ajay that he has ensured our door delivery to the gates of the fort.
|Arrival of the Team at the base|
Jokes apart, upon reaching the Pattewadi base village we had almost covered the height of around 3500 fts. with only 500-600 fts. to trek.
|Main entrance to Patta Fort|
Meanwhile the entrance of the Fort gate stood inviting us, to come and explore it. Before coming here , I did my research on the internet which confused me more by giving various options to reach this fort , some suggested Takked village route, some suggested Ninvi village route. But honestly speaking Pattewadi is the most simple and straight forward route. ” Dimag ki bhatti jalao, Aur Kasara seedhe Pattewadi aajao.” At the entrance of the gate I had my first brush with the winds of tourism doing rounds of Nasik region fort, yes they had a entry ticket counter, Adult Rs 5 and Children Rs 2. As I was in half pants so I insisted for half ticket , but sorry to say I was driven away. ” kabhi kabhi lagta hai , duniya me sense of humour hai hi nahi. After purchasing the ticket we entered through the gate.
|Fort of the Map|
The first thing you notice is large newly fitted boards showing map of the fort and other information like before and after picture etc. just little ahead you can see freshly painted set of Elephants statues.
|Brand new Hatti|
Just behind them is a canon mounted on the wheels.Ab mai thehra adat se majboor so I could not resist taking my pictures with the canon(Andar ki baat yeh hai secretly I always picture myself as a commander,commanding to fire on the enemies) Bas itna sa khwab hai.
After humoring myself with the battle cry, we started moving ahead. The first thing I noticed was this entry gate. A big eyesore, this darwaja reminded me of the crazy decor they put up at Ganpati Mandal. What surprised me more was that this gate is made of FRP kind of material, not even stone. Dil me yeh hi awaz aayi ….Mai royu ya hasu karu mai kya karu
|Ab aise Darwaje ka kya Kahana|
The next eyesore was the cemented stairs. I was told that earlier there was partly destroyed stone stairs which was now rebuilt.Even though these stairs look very out of place but I felt it helps in gaining easy accessibility to the fort.
|Newly renovated Stairs|
With these two eye sores I was worried that I will end up with sore eyes.( I know It was a PJ , Jaane do yaaro. Maff kardo !!) Climbing on the stairs we see a small cave of Laxman swami maharaj on left side.
|Laxman Swami Maharaj Cave|
Next to that there is another small empty cave. Leaving behind both the caves next to that was a small secret passage
|Secret Passage or Surang|
and little further to it is on the left is a small temple and on the right side is a huge shed. All this time we were moving casually because the climb was very easy and soon we reached the next level.
|View from next level|
Little traverse from behind the shed and walking up we reach next level. You can see the entire route in the picture below.
|Green coloured shed and the traverse from
behind that takes you one more level up
Now this was interesting because the view from this point was amazing, on the extreme right the authorities have built small shack or shade where one can sit and view the valley.
|Shacks or viewing huts offering amazing views|
Just next to this shade there is a remains of rampant walls , I climbed on that to reach the next level.
From this wall little above me I could see the bhuruj wall. As I walked towards it I realised that there was another Darwaja or Gate.
|Walk on the Rampant wall|
Walking straight on this wall for come distance is the second Darwaja known as Trimbhak Darwaja. Picture below gives you another view from Trimbhak Darwaja side.
|Behind me is the Trimbhak Darwaja|
Keeping this gate behind you, one can see temple with a water tank next to it.This water tank is protected with the metal mesh wire. For me till here I never felt like I was on a fort I was desperately trying to get my connect with the history but this modern structures were disturbing me a lot.
|Ashtbhuja Devi mandir|
Leaving behind the temple and at the far end I could see a viewing shacks so naturally our next target was to reach there.
|On far left mountain top is our
second viewing shack
we started to trek along the mountain and traverse towards that viewing gallery.
|Traversing toward the other side|
This trek was of easy gradient and in 15 -20 mins we were on the opposite side.
|View from the opposite side of the Plateau|
Once we crossed over to this side of the plateau we slowly moved toward the 2nd second viewing hut which we saw from the Trimbhak darwaja side.
|Our lunch halt site, second viewing Hut|
For us yeah hamari film ka interwal point tha.Yes we all rested here for a while to take in the beauty of the mountains lying ahead of us. The view was simply amazing.
|Some tranquil moments|
The scenic beauty of the place was breathtaking, the breeze so ever cool that we all decided to have our lunch here only. As we had started the trek late therefore our lunch break was limited to 15 mins only keeping in consideration that there is still lot to be explored on the Top.
|Nikhil and myself enjoying our lunch
On the Rocks !!!
After this lunch break we resumed our trek again and we started moving towards the top most part of plateau. Patta name is very appropriate for this fort because the top portion indeed looks like a long patta kind of thing.One can really feel the hugeness of the place.
|Huge Patta Plateau|
Far on the top at the extreme left in the picture above we can see another viewing hut and we prepared ourselves to reach there. It looked to far and high from where we standing, that my friend Nikhil asked me are you sure we have to go till there, I said it is part of this fort so naturally we will have to explore it.
|On the way to reach the Top most point|
All of us proceeded to reach there, walking on the edge of the plateau offered us one of the most amazing and beautiful sight of curling mountain, series of windmills dipped in the clouds.
|Hey do you see the top behind me !!|
The incline was gradual though from far it looked steep, the climate was behaving at its best today, especially no rains only clouds and clouds all around us.As we were climbing to the highest point we noticed series of water tanks which were around 12 in numbers,As it was beginning of monsoon so most if the tanks were empty.
|12 empty wall tanks on the left in the picture|
In no time we reached the topmost part of the patta fort.The view was again mesmerizing. On our left we had this series of windmills
|Series of windmills|
Further looking far on the horizon, gleaming among the dark skyline we could see Kadwa Reservoir and just behind it curling like serpentine is Dharma river.
|Kadwa Reservoir and Dharma river|
on the right side is Auand patta and again series of windmills.We spent some time here, took some pictures and being a vishramgad , dedicated few peaceful moments for Vishram(rest).
Taking a small rest we all started our descend now, as we were descending the atmosphere was becoming more and more overcast, it was getting so dark that one gets the feeling the time must be like 7.30 pm. Slowly the dark clouds engulfed us and we could feel the chill of the clouds.
|Clouds engulfing us|
Consequent to this it began to rain, The younger lot of adventurers among us started enjoying in salman style(topless) dancing and enjoying the rains, they plodded me to follow their act but luckily I remembered that I don’t carry six packs , mera toh pura ka pura family pack hai bhai.So going topless in rain was out, Running and enjoying in the rains we quickly started coming down and on the way we noticed this structure which looked like a dwelling place of past, which was been renovated. I was told that in olden days it was a palace where Shivaji maharaj rested when he was not well.
|Moving toward the renovated Palace|
Earlier pictures on google showed that this place was in shambles but the authorities are rebuilding and beautifying this place. I am giving here below few pictures for your reference.
|Inside the under constructed palace|
|Exterior of the under constructed palace|
After paying our respect to the statue of Shivaji Maharaj we all started our final descend and in no time reached the base of the fort where our jeeps were awaiting us.
|Descending from the palace|
We quickly boarded on them and in very very heavy rains we reached Kasara station. I must thank the gods up there for been so kind to us by providing us with the best climate through out the day and bring on the rains when it was time
In the end I smiled when I remembered the lovely lines of
Clouds come floating into my life,
No longer to carry rain or usher storm,
But to add color to my sunset sky.
Patta Fort has 3 villages at its base:
1) The village of Pattawadi is situated about 35 km from Akole,
the main Taluka place on the road going towards Taaked. From
Pattawadi village, Patta Fort is about a 250 meter climb.
2) The village of Taaked is located in the Igatpuri Taluka Nasik
District. From Taaked, Patta Fort is about a 600 meter climb.
3) The villages of Ninvi and Girwadi, also near Patta Fort, employ
a steeper and more difficult route. This route is between the
neighboring city of Avandh and Patta Fort. Ninvi and Girwadi
villages are beyond Darna dam and can be approached from
Deolali and Bhagur villages near Nasik.