What an awesome morning! If you read my blog last week you know that I’m recently hooked on weekend motorcycle rides. This weekend we decided to couple it with another thing I love: exploring the local forts around Pune. We woke up before dawn, hit the road by 5:30am, and took the hour’s drive to Malhargad Fort, which is located just off Pandharpur Road, via Kalewadi village. After a simple twenty-minute trek, we ate and hung out over the breakfast picnic I packed, did some exploring, and took plenty of pictures before heading back. It really was the perfect little taste of nature in a compact amount of time, and I’m shocked to be home writing this at 12:00pm on the same day!
The fort itself is in decent shape and, like all forts here, has excellent views for miles on all sides. There are two small temples, plenty of lookout points, and ample flat ground for camping. There are no toilets or water and it seems like aside from a large sign that gives details in Hindi about the fort, it is one of the more forgotten-about places -- which makes it perfect if you want to get a bit of peace and quiet!
Getting there is simple: depart Pune on the south side and get yourself to Pandharpur Road. From there I have seen a few different ways to reach the fort, but what we found was incredibly simple and took us basically to the base of the fort itself. Make a turn to go to Kalewadi village. It’s easy to miss this turn but it’s on the opposite side of the road between Fort Jadhavgah Road and Garva Family Garden Restaurant. Go through the village for about 3km; the road will wind and pass some white greenhouses. After that you’ll see many really beautiful, small farms with everything you can imagine: ladyfingers, pomegranate trees, figs, tomatoes, capsicum, etc. It gets smaller and eventually turns into nothing more than a dirt path, ending in what looks like a rain gut. You’ll see the fort in front of you slightly to the left as you approach.
When you park your vehicle, the footpath is to the right. You can’t miss it. Follow it up through the tiny patch of small trees, it will switch back directions, then you can continue up to the fort. From the footpath we found two separate ways to reach the structure (there may be more). One is to go straight-ish to the far corner and hang a right where you can climb through a doorway. I didn’t see any organized paths but you can kind of wing it. The other is to the right. It’s basically a steep-ascent that leads directly to the structure. A bit precarious, but fun if you’re in the mood for it and have a good pair of shoes!
Like I said, this is the perfect little morning trip out of the city. The village is lovely, the fort is clean (and please keep it that way by taking out whatever you take in!), and the drive is short. We saw a few nice looking garden restaurants too, so if you have a family or don’t want to pack food, that might be a nice option.