Pune is home to a large number of forts similar to how England has its castles. Most of the forts in Pune were built or conquered by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and other rulers from the Maratha Empire.
Forts have hosted royal rulers from different dynasties, protected them during invasions, witnessed ceremonies, and much more. A place of refuge and strategic importance back then, these historical forts have become a nature and adventure lovers' retreat.
There are many fascinating forts in Pune that you must visit; here’s our pick of the top 6.
Trek Grade - Easy
Sinhagad Fort (originally known as Kondhana) is among the most popular forts to see in Pune.
The hill on which the fort is built is at an elevation of 760 meters above ground level. This fort is placed strategically between a line of other forts like Torna, Rajgad, and Purandar.
In the past, its location made it attractive to several Maratha rulers but today, hikers make a beeline towards this fort!
Sinhagad has a glorious past and has seen numerous battles. The most popular is the Battle of Sinhagad. In this battle, Tanaji Malusare, the military assistant of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, stealthily scaled the walls of the fort and engaged in battle with the Mughals. He was successful but lost his life in the mission.
On hearing the news of his friend’s death, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj announced that the ‘fort was captured but the lion was gone’. This is when he renamed the fort from Kondhana to Sinhagad.
The most convenient way to get here is the local bus that runs from Shaniwar Wada that drops tourists to the base of the fort. The fort is just 37 km away from Pune and by your own vehicle, you should reach here in 1 hour.
If you exercise regularly, it should take you an hour or so to hike the fort (one way). It can take more time if you’re hiking after months.
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Trek Grade - Easy
Now luckily, Tikona Fort falls in the easy category for trekking so the climb is not as back-breaking. It’s a great trekking spot and ideal to visit in the months of July and August. These are peak monsoon months when the heat goes down and the scenery is absolutely breathtaking.
Just be cautious to wear the right shoes because it will be slippery. The fort is triangular in shape, hence named Tikona (triangle). So when you see it from far it might look like a huge cone. During the hike, you’ll be greeted with scenic views of the Sahyadri mountain ranges.
When you trek to Tikona Fort, you get short glimpses of history on the way. You’ll spot pieces of history like an old stone grinder that was rotated in circular motions by animals to make a paste of vegetables, grains, and more. So while you trek, you also get to see ancient kitchenware!
The exceedingly large entrance gates, stone-carved water tanks, and caves are interesting to check out as well. The steps you climb to reach Tikona Fort are pretty huge which might seem annoying. But remember that it was strategically built to slow down any enemies trying to invade the fort!
It’s fairly easy to reach Tikona base village from Pune since it’s at a distance of approximately 52 km. The drive is scenic and should take you 1.5 hours via NH48. This makes it the perfect spot to go to if you want a one-day getaway from the city of Pune.
Trek Grade - Medium
‘Lohagad’ literally translates to ‘Iron Fort’. A drone photo of the place makes it look like a lonely castle resting silently at an elevation of 1036 meters above sea level. The climb is not the easiest so your knees might scream asking “Are we there yet?” But remember that it’s all going to be worth it and pretty impressive when you reach the top.
Lohagad easily attracts history buffs to it because it is admired for its architecture more than anything else. It’s also just 5 to 10 minutes away from Visapur Fort that also has an equally rich history. Isn’t it clever that it was strategically planned to be in close proximity to each other?
In its earlier days, Lohagad was a prison ground but later became a fort where rulers from the Maratha Empire stored their wealth. This fort has hosted Maratha as well as Mughal rulers and many others from different dynasties. It had been a favorite fort to capture and almost every ruler had their eye on it including the British. Despite all the battle it’s seen, most of the walls and doors of this fort are intact.
Most people directly take the train to reach Lohagad. The closest station to this fort is Malavli station which is approximately 5 km away from the base village. Once you reach this station, you can take a shared auto rickshaw or cab with fellow trekkers.
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Trek Grade - Medium
Raigad Fort is a grandiose one and was the capital during the reign of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. He was the one who renovated and expanded this fort. He brainstormed a few names, until he finally decided to name the fort Raigad, meaning ‘King’s Fort.’
The fort has witnessed several battles, attacks and is also significant because it’s where Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was crowned.
Today, Raigad Fort is a weekend getaway to get as far away from the city and as close as possible to the clouds. It is perched on a hill that is 823 meters above sea level.
This entire fort is surrounded by viewpoints from where you can see beautiful valleys. One of these viewpoints is Takmak Tok from where enemies were executed by being thrown down the valley.
Another interesting gate to see is the Mena Darwaja. This was built for the royal ladies to enter and also called the Queen Chambers. There are endless things to explore such as the Royal Bath, cellar where ammunition was stored, watchtowers and much more!
You’ll slowly realize it’s more than just a trek but it’s almost like you’re visiting a museum. This fort is a reminder of the glorious past of the Maratha Empire and you can hire a guide at the fort if you wish to learn more about it.
If you decide to hike, it can easily take you 2 to 3 hours to reach the top from the base village. The route is not complicated because it's already sketched out, there are steps to climb and railings to follow. For those who don’t want to lose time, there is a fun ropeway facility at the fort which makes it easier for you to reach up safely within a few minutes.
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Trek Grade - Medium
Torna was the first fort that Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj captured at age 16. It’s hard to imagine how he managed that when in today’s world 20-year-olds are still learning to be adults. The fort was previously named ‘Prachandagad’, which translates to ‘massive fort’ in Marathi.
At an altitude of over 1,403 meters, Torna is the highest fort in the Pune district, the elevation allows you to get majestic views of the Sahyadri ranges.
When you visit the fort, we suggest walking up to the Machi. The Machi is the flat surface of the hill on which walls are constructed so that cannons could be placed.
During the prime days of the fort, soldiers would stand at Machi to keep an eye on invaders and defend the fort. There are 2 such Machi points on Torna Fort namely Zunjar and Budhla. Nowadays, Machi is the point where you’ll get the best photographs and panoramic views of the valley.
Contrary to other forts, the best time to visit Torna Fort is post monsoons. September to February is seen as the ideal time to visit. Why? Because the place turns into a flower paradise.
In the monsoons, the majestic wallpaper material views are also blocked by fog and mist. Like we said, this is the highest fort in the district of Pune so you want to make sure you’re getting unobstructed views.
Trek Grade - Medium
Like the other forts on this list, Visapur has also had its fair share of battles and attacks. It would constantly be a tug of war. Maratha rules have won it over but it’s also been handed to Mughals. Even the British have at some point been owners of this fort.
Visapur lies extremely close to Lohagad Fort. Visapur is believed to be the twin fort of Lohagad. But among the two, Visapur was built much later and is also at a higher elevation.
In the past, everyone knew that Lohagad was treasured by the Maratha Empire. Capturing Lohagad was no easy feat but the British saw the strategic role that Visapur could play to succeed. Due to this enlightenment, the Lohagad-Visapur forts were taken over by the British in 1818. In the battle, despite the British’s efforts, they couldn’t make significant damages to Lohagad.
Visapur Fort is approximately 62 km away from Pune and the drive here will take you 1.5 hours. If you don’t want to worry about parking your vehicle, you can take a one-hour train journey to Malavli Station. From the station, you can take a shared taxi/jeep to the village base.
The entire trek should take you 1 to 1.5 hours depending on how many breaks you stop to take. If your boss has approved your leave for an extra day, you can also consider camping at Pawna Lake which is 45 minutes away from the Lohagad-Visapur fortification.
Visiting the forts in Pune is a great experience but keep in mind that they are places that are highly respected by the locals. Most forts have active temples and are places of worship. It’s necessary to avoid doing anything that is disrespectful to the locals.
Also, make sure you begin to descend before it gets too dark because it can be hard to find your way back. There are rumors that some forts are haunted so you may hear eerie sounds if you stay out too long. All we’re saying is it’s best to have an early start and head back before it’s dark.
Most of the treks have signs like arrows on rocks to indicate the path to follow so stick to that route. Don’t always take support of the railings on these forts as they aren’t always in the best condition.
Overall, these are the things we’d like you to remember when you explore the forts that Pune has to offer.
Which Fort Is Best In Pune?
If you wish to see a fortification within the city of Pune, then the best place to go to is Shaniwar Wada. It was significantly important to the Maratha Empire. If you wish to trek and go further away from the city, Sinhagad is worth a visit.
How Many Forts Are There Around Pune?
There are around 17 abandoned forts in Pune out of which 6 are being taken care of. Lohagad, Raigad, Shivneri, Rajmachi, and Sinhagad are some of the popular ones in Pune.
Which Fort Is Near Pune?
Purandar, Rajgad, and Sinhagad fort are extremely close to Pune and make excellent one-day trips. It takes less than 2 hours to reach these forts.
How Difficult is the Rajmachi Trek?
Rajmachi is a medium level trek. It will take you approximately an hour to hike to the top and upto 2 hours with plenty of pit stops. Beginners can attempt the trek too!
Which Is The Toughest Trek In Maharashtra?
Alang Madan Kulang trek in Nashik district is one of the most beautiful but toughest treks in Maharashtra. Harishchandragad in Ahmednagar and Harihar Fort in Igatpuri are equally tough treks.