Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Visapur - Hiking on confusing trails

Cover Photo: Western Face of Visapur Fort
Visapur fort at an height of 3556 ft from the sea level, is a hill fort located in Pune district, 2.5 km from Malavali Railway station. It is part of Lohagad-Visapur fortification and is higher and larger than Lohagad fort. It was built during 1713-1720 CE by Balaji Vishwanath, the first Peshwa of Maratha Empire. This fort is not easily accessible because of the misleading paths.

I joined TrekRoots group who had organised this trek on 23rd June 2013. We gathered at Shivajinagar Railway station at 6 AM on Sunday morning. Our plan was to catch Lonavala local train to reach to Malavali station and trek our way to Visapur. Since I was trekking with this group for the first time, I introduced myself with few of the members on the railway platform. Local train arrived on time and we reached to Malavali station around 8 AM.

It was a beautiful morning when we reached to Malavali. Once you reach to Malavli, you need to cross a bridge built on top of Mumbai-Pune expressway to proceed to Bhaje.

Start of walk towards Bhaje:

Malavli Bridge over the Mumbai-Pune Expressway
Rain was playing hide and seek while walking. Soon we reached to Bhaje village where we had a breakfast of Poha and Tea. The food joint was very crowded and we had to wait for several minutes for our turn.

Soon, it was time to visit Bhaje caves. Along the way, there is a beautiful waterfall.Many of the tourists flock this waterfall on weekends in the rainy season. Interestingly, local villagers use it for washing the clothes.

Waterfall near Bhaje
After crossing the waterfall, you come across a sign board indicating the direction of Bhaje caves. You need to climb flight of steps to reach to a ticket counter where you need to buy tickets (Rs. 5 per head) to visit Bhaje Caves.

Absolute stunning Bhaje Caves which are a group of 22 rock-cut caves dating back to 200 BC:

Facade, Prayer Hall of Bhaje Caves
There are three to four known routes available to reach to Visapur fort. First goes from Bhaje Caves, second goes from Gaimukh Khind and third goes from the base village Patangaon.

First route which starts from the right of Ticket Counter. You need to climb a hill to reach to a flat terrain from where you need to traverse the hill to reach to east side of the fort.

Ticket Counter of Bhaje Caves
It was lush green everywhere when we started our trek. As we had a large group, we took frequent stops to wait for other members to join us.

I spotted a deer while I was taking some snaps. But it appeared and disappeared in a flash and I missed the chance of taking a snap of it. Nevertheless, it was exciting to spot a deer in the wild.

There was a point from where we got stunning view of Visapur and Lohagad side by side.

Visapur on left and Lohagad on right

After climbing the hill, we came across a flat terrain with an abandoned hut.

Hut with Visapur in the background
Bhatrashi Peak was looking fantastic along the way.

Bhatrashi Peak
After a while, the path led us to thick bushes. There were two paths and our leader, Nirant Sardar confirmed correct path after checking out the both.

Massive Visapur in the background
You need to go to the Eastern face of the fort by traversing the hill and this route goes through dense forest.

This path later joins to a stream with large boulders. You need to climb through this stream to reach to top of fort.


Once you complete your climb through the stream, you come across a beautiful Hanuman Carving along the sides of caves.

Hanuman Carving and the Caves
Once you climb these steps, you can see the top of Visapur.

Once on the fort, you can spot many water cisterns, a big grinding wheel, Hanuman carving, ruins of food granary and Peshawa palace on the fort. Fortification of this fort is still intact. Also, there is a large plateau which you will observe rarely on any other forts.

Water cisterns on the fort
Ruins of a Food granary
Ruins of Peshawa's mansion
Another Hanuman Carving
Fortification of the fort is still intact on the Western side.
You can get stunning views from the top.

Views from the top with Lohagad in the background

Grinding wheel on the fort

Beautiful plateau on the fort
On the South side, you can get spectacular views of Pavna Dam with Tung fort on right and Tikona on left. As it was cloudy, I did not get clear photograph of Tung and Tikona but you can still locate the forts in the picture below.

Pawana Dam with Tung on right and Tikona on left
Soon, it was time for our return and we chose alternate route to descend. This alternate route also goes from the stream.

Route through the Stream
You need to take each step carefully while descending. In monsoon, stones may get really slippery.

After descending from the stream, we took the dirt path from the thicket.This short walk reminded me of the jungle walk while reaching to Vasota fort.

Soon we reached to a little hut where we had our tea.

We walked further and soon joined the road which goes back to Bhaje village.
Some tourists were enjoying the crazy game of Kabbadi. Lohagad can be seen in the background.

After crossing the Bhaje village, there is a beautiful temple.

Beautiful Temple
We reached to Malavali railway station around 4.45 PM and further had tea and snacks as next local train was at 5.30PM. Train arrived almost 20 minutes late and we boarded the train which was very crowded. Probably a lot of people were reaching back to Pune after enjoying Sunday from Lonavala. We were already very tired and we further needed to stand at one place for more than 90 minutes. Finally we reached to Shivajinagar around 7.30PM. We reassembled at Shivajinagar railway station to bid adieu to each other and proceeded towards our homes.

Overall, this trek was one of the most memorable treks. Unusual route to reach on top of fort, strong fortification of the fort, beautiful Hanuman carvings on the fort, stunning views of Tung, Tikona and Lohagad forts from the top and beautiful weather throughout the trek made it a pleasant affair. Add to it, I got some new friends and got acquainted with some amazing trekkers from TrekRoots group.

Tips for the trekkers:
  • Hire a local guide if you haven't visited this fort earlier. There are high chances of getting lost because of misleading paths.
  • There is absolutely no shelter on the fort. Both the structures on the fort are in ruins.
  • No food facility on the fort; carry your own lunch in case you want to have it on fort.
  • Potable water is available in the water cisterns on the fort in case you are short of filtered water.
  • Not recommended for overnight stay because of absence of any shelter and strong winds. If you are adamant to stay, you can stay in the caves which can accommodate 30-40 people.
Thank you for reading the blog!

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Happy trekking!


  1. Mast aahe blog ... :) It seems tula gheunch jawe lagel, can't go alone ...

  2. Nice one !
    - Sushant Divate (via Facebook)

  3. chan aahe blog.. punha ekda trek aathavli...
    - Sameer Kadam (via Facebook)

  4. khup chan aahe blog vachlyavar ase vateya ki plan karava vispur la.
    - Kailas Kawade (via Facebook)

  5. cool blog. We got lost over here due to misleading paths but luckily some villagers helped us.