Harishchandragad is on the western ghats of India in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra. It is a hilly fort and one of the most famous trekking places in Maharashtra. The main attraction is the sunset view from Kokankada.
Ahmednagar district, Maharashtra, India.
Harishchandragad is in the Kothale village of the Malshej region of Ahmednagar district in the Western ghats of Maharashtra. Historically, the fort is related to Malshejghat that has played a pivotal role in guarding and controlling the surrounding region. This fort was built in the 6th century, during the reign of the Kalachuri dynasty. This fort is historical for all city dwellers. The fort hosts various caves of the 11th century, temples that hold idols of Lord Shiva and Vishnu. In the later period, it came under the Moghul control from whom Marathas captured it. There is a huge rock above the Shiva Linga and four pillars around it support the cave in the pool of water. The legends say, these four pillars represent four Yugas of Satya, Treta, Dwarapura and Kali. It is believed that a pillar breaks off on its own at the end of each Yuga. The various constructions on the fort point to the existence of diverse cultures here.
Harishchandragad is on the boundaries of Pune, Thane, and Ahmednagar. This fort is in the Junnar region near Malshejghat. At a distance of 8 KM from Khireshwar village, 5 KM from Bhandardara, 166 KM from Pune and 218 KM from Mumbai. The height of the fort is 4710 feet above sea level, and the height of the Kokankada (cliff) is 3500 feet. Harishchandra has 3 peaks namely Taramati (Highest), Rohidas and Harishchandra. The fort has got an eye-pleasing natural beauty along with diverse flora and fauna. This trek will snake you through forest sections, paddy fields, big rock patches, mighty mountains and small streams.
The region has a hot-semi arid climate year-round with an average temperature ranging from 19-33 degrees Celsius.
April and May are the hottest months are when the temperature reaches up to 42 degrees Celsius.
Winters are extreme, and the temperature can go as low as 10 degrees Celsius at night, but the average daytime temperature is around 26 degrees Celsius.
The annual rainfall in the region is around 763 mm.
Things to do
You can visit the following places along with Harishchandragad:
- Kedareshwar cave - This temple is a marvellous example of fine art of carving sculptures out of stones of ancient India. The river Mangal Ganga is said to have originated from one of the tanks located close to the temple.
- KonkanKada - a huge cliff at Harishchandragad which offers a spectacular view of Konkan and also the sunset.
- Kedareshwar cave- The Shivlinga in this cave is surrounded by ice-cold water. During the rainy season, this cave is not accessible as the surrounding area is submerged with water.
- Taramati peak- Known as Taramachi, this is the topmost point on the fort. It is one of the highest peaks in Maharashtra. Leopards are seen in the forests beyond this peak. We can have a glimpse of the whole range of Naneghat and the forts near Murbad from this location
Nearest tourist places
One can explore Harishchandragad for one day. It has many things to explore. However, there are other forts and places to visit if you wish to. Some of them are:
- PimpalgaonJoge Dam (8.4 KM): This is a dam on the Pushpavatiriver that provides water to areas like Otur, Junnar, Narayangaon and AlePhata. After completing the trek, you can visit the dam and stay beside the lake. Carry your tent and camp there as well.
- Reverse waterfall (15 KM): It is a mountain range where water flows in the reverse direction. This is because of the strong wind that comes in the opposite direction to the water flow. You can visit this place after finishing the Harishchandragad trek.
- Amruteshwar Temple: This is a Shiva temple built by King Jhanj. It is considered to be over 1200 years old. This temple has some of the beautiful rock carvings that are built with black and red stones. This place is known as Kashmir of Maharashtra too. So, one must visit this temple just to enjoy the beauty.
- MalshejGhat (5.3 KM): With mesmerizing waterfalls to beautifully constructed dams and steep, lofty forts, MalshejGhat is a perfect place for nature lovers' delight. A unique spectacle created by gorgeous streams diving from rocky prominence, lush greenery and layers of mist.
Special food speciality and hotel
Maharashtrian food ZunkaBhakar is the speciality of this place, though on the fort the food is not available. One can get food in the nearest hotels.
Accommodation facilities nearby & Hotel/ Hospital/Post Office/Police station
Very few hotels are available in the vicinity of the fort.
The nearest hospital is 93 KM.
The nearest post office is at 12.4 KM.
The nearest police station is 95 KM.
Visiting Rule and Time, Best month to visit
There is no time limit to visit this place as such. October to March is the best time to visit Harishchandragad to enjoy the Fort and sightseeing. However, the rains are stunning here, and one can enjoy natural waterfalls and overflowing dams. Trekking is not recommended on rainy days as the slopes can become very slippery.
Language spoken in area
English, Hindi, Marathi