The state of Maharashtra in India is a very culturally and historically sound place. This place has a rich ancient background which is reflected through its ancient structures. Every structure has a story to tell. One such structure is the Harishchandragad Fort. This fort is situated in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra. It is one of the popular tourist destinations in and around Bhandardara. A visit to Harishchandragad Fort gives the traveler a wide array of opportunities to explore. One also gets a chance to let go of one’s comfort zone and explore the beauties of this place with great zest.
About Harishchandragad Fort
Harishchandragad Fort belongs to 6th century. This historical hill fort used to serve as a guarding and controlling entity in the surrounding regions. The strategic location of this structure used to help in serving its purpose to a very large extent. Harishchandragad Fort is situated on an altitude of 1,424 m. The area surrounding the fort and the fort atop the hill itself are popular trekking destinations. In addition to this there also exists several temples and caves to explore in this area.
Historical background of Harishchandragad Fort
Harishchandragad Fort belongs to the 6th century and the citadel housed in the fort was built during the 11th century AD. The fort was built by the Kalchuri dynasty. This place also houses the remnants of Micro lithic human inhabitants.
It is said that Sage Changdev used to meditate on the hills of Harishchandragad Fort during the 14th century. The calm environment of this place must have attracted the legendary sage to this place.
Harishchandragad Fort was formerly under the control of the Maratha Empire. Then in 1747 AD it was captured by the Mughals.
Various ancient Hindu scriptures like Matsyapurana, Agnipurana and Skandapurana have several references about the Harishchandragad Fort.
In and around Harishchandragad Fort
Harishchandragad Fort is a popular trekking destination. There exits three peaks in particular where trekkers are mostly go. Rhese include Rohidas, Taramati and Harishchandra. Amongst these Taramati is the highest peak. Various other major structures and peaks are visible from here. The climb up the hill showers trekkers with a panoramic view of the foothills and other areas. This makes the climb worth every drop of sweat. One can go on trekking trips to Harishchandragad Fort during the winter season as summers are too hot and monsoons can be a bit risky.
There exists temples and caves carved out in the complex of the fort. The Harishchandragad Fort has a carved temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu in its premises. The temple is believed to be built by the very Kalchuri dynasty itself. This temple is a fair sight to the eyes. It has a number of idols carved out in it. A visit to the temple is a unique experience in all.
There are other temples and structures of religious importance outside the fort complex and on the way to the fort. This includes Kedareshwar cave swhich houses a Shiva temple, Nageshwar Temple and Harishchandraeshwar Temple. The Shiva Tempel housed in the Kedareshwar cave enshrines a five feet tall Shiva Lingum which is surrounded by four pillars. There also exists Buddhist caves nearby which attract tourists all around the year. Hence, the Harishchandragad Fort is also in a way a full-fledged pilgrimage site.
Harishchandragad Fort is also a wonderful photography site. The myriad of landscapes portrayed by this place is a treat to the eyes. They are worth being captured.
A Tourist’s Guide
The easiest way for reaching Harishchandragad Fort is via the Paachnai village which is at a distance of 48 km from the famous Bhandardara. The trekking route from a village named Khireshwar is a straight path and has steps with railings. The third path is meant exclusively for hikers. This trek starts from Belpada village and is a difficult trek. The other two are easy ones where one can enjoy the beauty of the climb amidst the natural beauty of the forests. So, it is up to the traveler to decide and reach this place.
Harishchandragad Fort is at a distance of 201 km from the city of Mumbai. The nearest railway station from here is the Igatpur Railway Station which is 41 km away. The nearest airport from Harishchandragad Fort is the Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport at a distance of 154 km from here.
Harishchandragad Fort is a beautiful tourist destination for people who love to explore as this place gives a visitor ample opportunities to explore and enjoy. The trekking trips coupled with the presence of some ancient historical structures makes a visit to Harishchandragad Fort a memorable experience.