Rajmachi is another fort near the Lonavala Khandala hill stations in Maharashtra. It consists of two twin fortresses named Shrivardhan and Manaranjan with a wide machi (plateau). The fort is accessible from the Udhewadi village. It falls in the beginners' category for trekking.
Ask any regular trekker to draw up a list of some of the popular destinations for trekking in Maharashtra and Rajmachi will definitely figure on it. Although just a small village in the rugged mountains of Sahyadri, it has been a favorite tourist spot for the presence of two forts, namely Shrivardhan and Manaranjan, both of which are located amidst a green canopy offering amazing views of hills and valleys.
Located just about 15 kilometers from the twin hill stations of Lonavala and Khandala, historically, Rajmachi Fort was a strategic point to control Borghat, the winding pathway between Khopoli and Khandala on the Mumbai-Pune route, used as a trade passage then. The peak of Rajmachi has two fortified structures, Shrivardhan and Manaranjan, and can be reached either by the tough route which is from Kondivade village near Karjat that involves a climb of about 2,000 feet or from Lonavala, which is almost a plain walk. It is during the monsoon that the true beauty of Rajmachi emerges with silvery waterfalls, streams, lush green forests and meadows making up the verdant landscape.
Trekkers usually prefer to pitch their camps near Kalbhairavnath Temple which also allows a stay on its premises if the weather outside isn’t too conducive. There is a tank about 100 meters away that provides water. If you intend to go for an overnight trek, make sure to take your own food. Alternatively, you can buy ‘bhakri’ and ‘chutney’ from the village. The forts are worth exploring, especially the Shrivardhan Fort which has many secret tunnels leading to battlements. The best view of the plains is from Manranjan behind the temple. At the base of Manranjan are some simple rock-cut caves.
Trekkers can also benefit from a camping site developed by Rajmachi Rural Aid and Development Programme (RRAADP), a non-profit organization that has been working at Udhewadi since 1976. The NGO provides free medical aid and school education and has developing projects for the upliftment of the poor and backward community in this region. The camping site comprises two dormitories. RRAADP is also developing a botanical park here by planting and growing a variety of trees. For more details and booking camping accommodation, call 9223579685 or 8108854866.
Distance from Mumbai: 120 kms.
Pune District, Maharashtra, India.
Rajmachi has a history of two thousand years. This defense architecture initially emerged to have a lookout on the Bor Ghats. The fort premise complex comprises grand ramparts, strong and solid walls, huge gateways, residential compartments, water supplies, administrative buildings and secret gates for the exit etc. A dry masonry temple of Kal Bhairav is located in the crevasse among Shrivardhan and Manaranjan forts.
This fort acquired its fame as one of the prominent forts of the Maratha Empire during the reign of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj who did the expansion of this fort by building new structures in 1657. This fort is known as one of the fascinating constructions in the western ghats. Rajmachi Fort has seen many reigns.
The fort was under the control of the Mughal Empire too around 1704 - 1705. After that, Marathas took charge of it. In the due course of time, Rajmachi Fort saw the fall of the Maratha Empire and the rise of the British Empire. The fort fell into the control of the British Empire in 1818. The western side of Rajmachi Plateau has a panoramic view of the Ulhas river Valley. The Kondane Buddhist caves are located on the slopes of the same hill on the path leading to the western Coast. These caves are believed to be carved during the 2nd century BC.
This region gives a different feel of beauty during the rainy season where ample waterfalls, streams and lush green forests and meadows enrich the beauty of the nearby vicinity. The time before monsoon rains explores the beautiful sight of fireflies.
Rajmachi is in the Sahyadri Mountain Ranges in Maval Taluka of Pune District. It is very close to the famous hill stations Lonavala and Khandala.
It 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 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, the average daytime temperature is around 26 degrees Celsius.
The annual rainfall in the region is around 763 mm.
Things to do
The trek to Rajmachi Fort during monsoons is an eye-pleasing experience with many waterfalls, deep gorges and valleys, villages, and waterways. The trek can be enjoyed with photography, nature trail and a group picnic.
Nearest tourist places
There are several tourist spots near this fort. The nearest tourist spots include:
● Bhushi Dam (21.8 KM)
● Lohagad Fort (32 KM)
● Ekvira Temple (27.4 KM)
● Karla Caves (27.4 KM)
● Bhaje Caves (28.9 KM)
● Lonavala Lake Waterfall (18.5 KM)
● Kune Falls (16.1 KM)
● Kondane Caves (2.5 KM)
Special food speciality and hotel
Home food joints like Janai hotel, Hotel Sahyadri Garden, Hotel Mayur Palace, Sai snacks, Azad Hind Restaurant, Shiwar Park offers you various types of snacks and food available in that region.
Accommodation facilities nearby & Hotel/ Hospital/Post Office/Police station
There are various facilities of accommodations like homestay, bed and breakfast, etc.
The hospitals are available at Lonavala and Khandala (18.4 KM).
Khandala Police Station (16 KM) is near to this fort.
Visiting Rule and Time, Best month to visit
The climate during the Summer is hot and humid. Monsoon is the best season for visiting Rajmachi.
Apart from a pleasant climate, Monsoon also gives a mesmerizing view with greenery and many waterfalls around. Winters it is comparatively less humid till December. It is suggested to visit during the day.
Language spoken in area
English, Hindi and Marathi.