Christmas, 2011, saw us visit Sinhagad, a fortress some 30 kilometres south-west of Pune. We drove there somewhat early in the morning as we were warned that the traffic and crowds would increase as the day wore on.
As it happened we kind of lost our way a bit and that goes to show that there exist no prominent sign boards to guide you there. However, that provided a nice little interlude for a quick trip to the toilet, some tea and a grand view of the Deccan Traps.
After backtracking a little through some bad village roads with pleasant rural scenes on either side, we reached the steep climb to the cliff (700 metres above sea levelish), part of the Bhuleshwar range (Sahyadri Mountains). It’s quite a mess to go by car and parking might be the least of woes.
Opting for a restorative tea and Kanda Bhaji was the only way to pay for parking.
Already the view was breathtaking! Previously called Kondana (a reference to the Buddhist sage Kaundinya?), this Lion’s Fort witnessed many an important battle. The 1671 Battle of Sinhagad seems to be responsible for the present name. Strategically placed at the centre of other forts (Rajgad,Purandar and Torna), it could have been built some two thousand years back as the Kaundinyeshwar temple, caves and carvings seem to evidence.
Local snacks are sold along the climb, abundant at first and petering off as you ascend.
The ubiquitous sindhana (groundnut – used ground as a paste base for many dishes) makes its appearance, here in boiled form, however.
It’s such a pity we weren’t armed with some of the fort’s history. Here and there a door or window opens into dark recesses, affording an air of mystery and not the hardiest graffiti can obliterate the dignity of the past.
Famous with local trekkers, it’s a tiring outing, even under a December sun. For some reason, the people of Pune adore monsoon treks, though. I can’t imagine how trudging through soggy spaces would entertain but, as you see in the below video, Sinhagad can be a blast in the rain.
I’m afraid that, as for us, we merely meandered hither and thither!
At times one rather wished a ride was at hand but I doubt the donkey below would have fancied itself a steed.
I sure hope the reader plans better for this is surely a spot that calls for more exploration and I might end up going there again, better prepared.
On the way back, more eats manifest. With no toilets at hand, I’d be cautious about stuffing my face.
The steep hillside brings back to mind the famous story of the heoric iguana that scaled Sinhagad
I leave you with a spectacular natural occurrence for which you’d surely want to visit Sinhagad!