|The Imposing Tung Fort
Last week when we were going towards Korigad fort,I noticed this mountain top which looked quite imposing, upon inquiry I was given to understand that It’s Tung Fort. “Bas ab kya tha, Dil ne soch liya ki bahut jaldi is kille ko bhi fathe karna hai !! (My heart was set to conquer this fort soon) but believe me even in my wildest dream I wouldn’t have thought that the next Sunday I would be on the Tung Fort.
It all started when my friend Avinash called and said “Aashish bhai, chalo yaar kuch program banao, I said yaar last sunday Tung fort dekha tha , kare kya ? and he immediately agreed and the best part was that Avinash offered his car for the trek,We set out early from Panvel the common meeting place,Driving down the expressway we proceeded toward Lonawala, It was a cool morning and sun was just peeping out of the fog making our journey all the more pleasant.
|Morning sunrise on the way to Lonawala
Our drive from Panvel to Lonawala took around 45mins, It was 8 am when we reached the Kumar Resort junction at Lonawala, Here we were to meet our friend Shashi who was coming on motorbike and from here we all proceeded towards the Amby valley. In case if you are not having your own vehicle than in that case one can take Sahara bus or bus going to Bhamburde village from Lonawala ST stand and get down at the Ghosalkhamb bus stop and from here there is a road going toward left side to Tungwadi the base of Tung Fort.Its a 8-9 kms long journey from here to base.
|8-9 kms stretch of road leading toward the Tung Fort.
The only problem is that there is no local transport available from this point, trekkers often trek this 8 kms route till the base or hitch a ride from passing by Tempo. Actually for this trek one should have own vehicle, the road as you can see is not in a very good shape but manageable. Driving down the road you can have the glimpse of Tung fort.
|Glimpse of Tung fort
The rough road ensured us the rattling drive passing through few villages and few Green houses. Soon we were seeing the Tung Fort ahead, the sight of the imposing fort right in front of us made us all excited. Here please note that one need not go till Tungwadi, You must take a little diversion to your left before the Tungwadi which will take you to the Hanuman Temple.
|Hanuman Temple at the base
and just opposite that there is this information board of Tung Fort which gives complete information of the fort.
|Information board put up by Sahyadri Prathishan
We parked our car here and started walking towards the Tung. There is this tar road which takes you to the start point of this trek.One can see the fort on the right side from here.
|Tar road leading towards the start of the trek
One look at the top of the fort and you may say “Arre baapre itna upar jane ka hai “ In fact at first glance the fort true it’s name looked Kathin ( The marathi word for difficult, hence aptly also named as Kathingad).
Just 2 minutes of walk on the above tar road and we reached the stone stairs which is the start point of this trek.
|Stone cut stairs at the start of the trek
Climbing on these stairs you realise that the ascent is quite steep but however the advantage of this is that you quickly gain height.
The view was very beautiful as we climbed from here.Though the climate was hot but the breeze was cool. Most of the climb is on the edge of the mountain and route is quite narrow, hence we are always exposed toward the valley.
|Exposed climb with lovely mountain range all around
within 25 minutes we were near the small cave and next to that there was this water tank. We rested for a while and enjoyed the breathtaking views of Pawna back waters.
|Enjoying the beauty of Pawna Backwaters
Walking on this narrow path we kept enjoying the beauty of valley and Pawna Waters .
|Pawna Back water behind us
Further on this route we saw Tung ki Toppe (Cannons of Tung Fort) in front of us, Now this was the term Avinash used when he saw this.
|Tung ki Toppe or Banana trees
I hope to see smile on your face when you see these Tung ki Toppe, Trekkers can have weird sense of humor. This walk from the water tank hardly lasted for 5mins and we come across Main Darwaza or entrance of the fort. A large stone entrance almost in ruins state.
|Main entrance of Tung Fort
|Main entrance of Tung Fort
entering through this door, on your left side there is a fortification wall which allows you to view the mountain range and the road below and straight ahead there is a ridge which we wanted to explore but the overgrown bushes on this portion of the fort didn’t allow us to do so.
|View from fort wall with overgrown bushes and ridge across
on your right side from here there is this stone stairs leading towards the second gate of the fort.
|Stone stairs leading to the second entrance
a little climb on these stair takes you to an enclosure kind of a place.
|Enclosure before the second gate
The moment you enter this enclosure you feel quite cool. Standing atop on the stairs which comes to this enclosure offers you lovely view of the main entrance gate ,Pawana waters behind and majestic mountains across.
|View of main gate from the top of stairs
with pawna backwater
On entering this enclosure area you will notice the carving of Hanuman on the wall.
|Carving of Hanuman on the enclosure wall
And right opposite to this carving is the second entrance gate of the fort with the small stairs behind it,leading to the top.
|Second entrance with the stairs behind ,leading to top.
|Stairs leading to the top plateau
Once you climb these stairs you come across open top, just turn around at the top of this stone stairs you can have a terrific view of Tung fort on top along with the inside view of second gate.
| Terrific view of Tung fort on top along with the
inside view of second gate
Coming out of this route we moved towards the right side, As one can see the towering fort ahead so there is little scope of losing your way here. Little walk ahead and you come across a small Ganesh temple with a water tank just next to it.
|Ganpati Temple with water tank next to it
The water in this tank is quite dirty not potable.
|Yours truly checking out the water
Just opposite the Ganpati Temple you see a stone boundary. I was told that in olden days this was kind of assembly hall. There is this board called Sadar which I assume in marathi means assemble hall.
|Sader or the Assemble area
We offered the prayers in the temple, rested a bit and started our journey further toward the Tung top. The route is quite straight forward a little walk and you come across the base of the fort top or ballekilla as they say,there is this sign board directing you.
|Base of the hill with sign board
As the sign board suggest that on your right there is a water tank and on the left the route leads you to the BhalleKilla
|Narrow path with serene Pawana waters
Walking towards the top of Tung ,on your left ,on the far horizon one can see Lohagad Fort and Visapur Fort behind the Pawana waters. The view all through this ascent is simply amazing.
|Pawna waters and on the right side of picture on far end
Lohgad and Visapur Fort
A little simple rock patch and we were on the top of the Tung Fort.
|So finally on the top of Tung Fort
Upon reaching the top we noticed that the top is not very large, As you touch the top deck on your left side you notice a small temple of Tungi devi.
|Tungi Devi Temple on Top
Standing next to this temple you get amazing view of the Pawna backwater and the Tikona fort.I was completely mesmerized by this out of the world view in front of me.
|I can stand for hours to watch this lovely view of
Tung Fort surrounded by sublime water.
Standing at the top we were able to have perfect view of the base where we had parked our car,the temple and even the diversion of road going to Tungwadi. I must say this top indeed provided a perfect Watch Tower.
|View from the Top , showing the temple and
our parked car outside it
Next on the top we noticed this small cave kind of thing, so naturally the explorer instinct of mine got activated and hence I went to check out the same.
|The explorer instinct prompted me to jump
into that cave formation
|There is a cave on the left side once you enter this
After spending some time on the top , enjoying the lovely breeze we made our way back. All in all it was a superb sweet and small trek. It harddly took us 45 minutes to reach the Top.
Thankfully I can say Kathingad was not at all kathin.(Difficult).
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