Beautiful Sinhagad Valley: a mountainous escape out of the city
Updated: May 17, 2019
A Beautiful Sinhagad Valley awaits you and I will take you to the mountainous journey. When I say I have been to Sinhagad 5 times and never got bored, then you must know that I am in awe of the remnants of a fort located on the mountain for 2 reasons.
Read to know why:
First one - Like many other forts in the Western Ghats, it has historical importance in the sense that Sinhagad fort once was under the reign of great warrior king Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj and the remnants still stand upright to proof how happening was life back then in the 1600s.
The Second one - I have spent my time in Pune for quite a significant duration of my life and trust me the fort is closer to Pune city or I can definitely say on the outskirts of Pune.
When to visit
It is accessible throughout the year but the best time to visit is late in the month of June to September when the monsoon hits the Indian subcontinent.
Avoid going on weekends and in turn, the traffic jams! Or you can abide by the rule of 'start early-leave early' as the city crowd flogs to the fort in the peak time, for their musings. This way, you can get a parking spot.
Sinhagad Fort timing
The fort is accessible right from early morning 5 AM till 6 PM. You can start the trek at around 4 AM in the morning and reach by 6-7 AM to get your morning Chai at the top. It is better to return from the fort early and not wait for the official time to over as the traffic is at its peak on the single-lane road. One can also get a spectacular view of the Sinhagad valley while descending so avoid traffic to have a non-stop journey back.
Now how many times I have visited Sinhagad
FIVE. FREAKING. TIMES.
A. By Road
Public Transport - Once
I have taken the public bus from Swargate Bus stand which took me to the Donje Phata village. It costs around 70-80 Rs. for a round trip. From there, I took the shared taxi which especially goes to the base of the fort. The vehicles are mostly in service at Donje Phata waiting for passengers to fill up their 4-wheeler. Once they get enough crowd, they take off for the base of the port. 100-150 Rs. ascend and descend including. The overall Pune to Sinhagad Distance is around 30 km which makes it an opportunistic weekend escape.
Tip: Check with your taxi about the leaving time, that way you can plane the ascend and descend accordingly
Own personal vehicle - Thrice
We had a bike so I and my friend took off from Pune to Sinhagad which approximately take 1 hour.
Tip: It helps if you have a power bike as the ascend is difficult with normal CC bikes.
13-sitter vehicle - Once
One I was a part of a group going to Sinhagad and I tagged along. There are private own vehicles which you can book. I didn't find them online but if you have contacts or any acquaintances in the city, you can manage to take hold of them. It costs you around 400-500 Rs. for the whole transport if you travel with the group.
Tip: You can also check Uber if they have service outside the city area. I never explored this option.
B. Sinhgad Trek
It is 3 km route/trail from the base of the Sinhagad village, towards the fort. Best time to start trekking is before sunrise or early in the morning and try to reach there before noon. Make sure to drink water and juices on the way(take with you) because you don't want to get dehydrated in scorching Indian heat throughout the year except in monsoons when the lush green trees and cloudy weather makes it a pleasant journey.
Now let's address the elephant in the room (The journey to the base)
This is the most scenic part of the journey. While moving towards the fort, you can see the cloud or mist covered mountain and just can not wait to reach the spot.
Its a 30-40 min drive or might require more time depending on the traffic. However, the view of the city you just left behind is breath-taking. You start wondering how Earth and her elements surprise you each time.
After I reached base
The fort offers steps made with stones and while I was on my way to the top, there were roadside vendors selling everything right from boiled peanuts to raw mangoes and other fruits with spices sprinkled on the top. Alas! My mouth gets watery every time I remember it. You might get popcorn sometimes, you never know.
There were lunch options provided by the nearby village people(both on the way and top). The delicious cuisines including but not limited to #Kanda #bhaji(can be loosely called as deep fried onion fritters), #Pithla #bhakri(made from chickpea flour and Jawar), roasted or boiled corn, yogurt in earthen pots, etc.
When I arrived at the top of the mountain
I have visited the fort mostly during monsoons(4 out of my 5 times) and it never gets old so I deny that I got enough of it. The memories I have always cherished are about
the mist in the air,
the wind traveling fast enough to push you back if you are against it,
the low visibility at the top during monsoon season (you cannot see people who are walking at 20-25 ft from you),
the panoramic view of the city and the villages below,
the drizzling rain,
the chatty and helpful vendors,
the silence(sometimes there is no crowd around a specific spot)
There is a tower on top of the mountain for getting satellite signals and there is so much mist that I have hardly ever seen its tip.
So after I explored the mountain and the fort remnants, it was time for my unwilling descend.
Next time I am in town, I would love to go down the memory lane (or up to the memory lane I must say).
Let me know in the comment section if you have ever visited Sinhagad or planning to go for it.
Check out our other posts on other forts and hill stations.