Monday, 17 December 2012


Harischandragad is an ancient fort located in the Ahmednagar disctrict. Many trekkers have often deemed it as "The Dream Trek" and once you do it, you know why. Here are some of the things you can have a look at when you go there (source: Wikipedia):

Saptatirtha Pushkarni

To the east of the temple is a well-built lake called “Saptatirtha”. On its bank are temple-like constructions in which there are idols of Lord Vishnu. Recently these idols have been shifted in the caves near the temple of Harishchandreshwar. These days many trekkers have been responsible for the sad plight of this beautiful place, as they throw plastic wastes and other things in the pond. 7 years back the water was potable, and now it isn’t suitable even to swim.

Kedareshwar Cave. Local legend holds that when the fourth pillar breaks, the world will come to an end.

Kedareshwar Cave

Going rightwards of Harishchandreshwar temple, we come across a huge cave. This is the cave of Kedareshwar (see picture), in which there is a big Shivlinga, which is totally surrounded by water. The total height from its base is five feet, and the water is waist-deep. It is quite difficult to reach the Shivlinga because the water is ice-cold. There are sculptures carved out here. In monsoon it is not possible to reach this cave, as a huge stream flows across the way.

Konkan Kada (Konkan cliff)

The most interesting point on this fort is this cliff, which has always fascinated many people from many years. The cliff faces west and looks down upon the Konkan. From here, one can have a breathtaking view of the surrounding region and the setting sun. This cliff is not just vertical, it is an overhang, almost like a cobra's hood. It has been climbed many times. Sometimes a circular rainbow (the Brocken spectre phenomenon) can be seen from this point. It can be seen only when there is a bit of mist in the valley, and the sun is right behind the person facing the valley. One amazing phenomenon that can be observed at this place is the vertical cloud burst, in which the clouds nearing the cliff get sucked into the pit fall area below are thrown vertically into the sky reaching more than 50 feet (15 m). It creates a magical wall that is rising straight from the edge of the cliff without entering the landmass area. The fog show and hovering clouds below the cliff complement the season if one visits.

Taramati peak

Also known as Taramanchi. This is the topmost point on the fort (1429 meters). Leopards are seen in the forests beyond this peak. From here we can have a glimpse of the whole range of Naneghat and the forts near Murbad. From this Taramati point,we can have a glimpse of forts till Siddhagad near Bhimashankar in the south and Napta twin peaks,Ghodishep (865 meters),Ajoba (1375 meters),Kulang fort (1471 meters)in the north near the Kasara region

Caves on Harishchandragad

These caves are situated all over the fort. Many of these are situated at the foot of Taramati peak & are the place of accommodation. A few are near the temple, whereas some are near the citadel and some far away in the forests. A 30 feet (9.1 m) deep natural cave is on the northwestern side of the fort, to the right of Kokan Kada. Many other caves are still said to remain undiscovered.

Nageshwar temple near Khireshwar

This is a great antique construction, and diverse artistic works are seen on this. On the ceiling of the temple are beautiful carvings. The main attraction of the carvings here is the 1.5 m long sculpture of Lord Vishnu in the sleeping posture, popularly known as "sheshshayi Vishnu" in Marathi. It is rare and hence holds a lot of importance. There are a lot of legends told about this sculpture. There are caves near the temple.

Temple of Harishchandreshwar

This temple is marvelous example of the fine art of carving sculptures out of stones that prevailed in ancient India. It is about 16 m high from its base. Around this temple there a few caves & ancient water tanks. The river Mangal Ganga is said to originate from one of the tanks located close to the temple. The top of the temple resembles construction with the north-Indian temples. A similar temple is situated in Buddha-Gaya. Here we can see many tombs, in which a typical construction is seen. These are built by well-finished arranging stones one on top of the other. There are three main caves near the temple. The cisterns near the temple provide drinking water. A short distance away, another temple called Kashitirtha is located. The fascinating thing about this temple is that it has been carved out from a single huge rock. There are entrances from all four sides. On the main entrance there are sculptures of faces. These are faces of guards of the temple. On the left side of the entrance is a Devnagri inscription, which is about saint Changdev.

District -Ahmednagar

Height above mean sea level - 3963 feet (Temples and cave), 4695 feet (summit)

Base Village - Khireshwar

Duration of trek - 2 day.

Time to reach the top - 1 hour to the base village from Khubi Phata, 4 hours from base village to the top.

Water/Food Availability - Water is available on the top and along the way from streams and lakes in winter and monsoon.
Best season to visit - Winter, in the months of November, December and January.

Sights to visit - Nageshwar temple, caves with inscriptions, Taramati summit, Konkan kada offers a great view, Kedareshwar temple, Harishchandreshwar temple.

Difficulty Rating - Medium.

Endurance required - 5/5.

Shelter - Caves near the temple.

How to get there - Mumbai to Kalyan by local train, Kalyan to Khubi Phata by S. T. bus, Khubi Phata to Khireshwar is a 5-6 km walk.

  • Konkan Kada is a must watch, do go during sunset and sunrise.
  • It is said, that the first rays of the sun hit the Shivling in the Kedareshwar temple, so that is a must watch.
  • There are two ways to the top, once you climb the rock patch. One goes left and through the citadel and skips the trek across the seven hills. The other one is the one which I have tried, you go right and follow the path up and down seven hills. Though you will miss the Citadel if you go through this path.
  • There is ample accomodation on top, with 5-6 caves each having a capacity of atleast 10 people. Some caves can hold as many as 30. Caves are clean and well maintained.
  • Water is available on top and on the way in streams during and post monsoon.
  • Try to get to Konkan Kada during sunset.
  • The trek starts at Khireshwar and its a 5-6 km walk from Khubi Phata to Khireshwar. There is motorable road from ahead of Khubi Phata going along the dam to Khireshwar. You might want to take that and skip the 6 km walk if you have a vehicle with you.
  • The trek is marked with arrows right uptil the end, so hiring a guide isn't necessary.
  • There is also a way from Pachnai village straight to the main temple on top, but I don't have more information on that. 
  • Do not miss the Nageshwar temple, near Khireshwar.
Khubi Phata

The base village near the horizon, as seen from Khubi Phata.

The trail starts from here.

Nageshwar temple.

Caves near Khireshwar.

First look: Harishchandragad.

Kedareshwar temple.

Looking down Konkan Kada.

Konkan Kada - towards the right.

Konkan Kada - to the left.


1 comment:

  1. Very nicely penned down Vinay!

    I have also tried to integrate all the info about Harishchandragad on my website