Aarya Ghotikar


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Fort Rohida

One of the best advantages of being a Puneite – a combo of nature and history at your doorstep. Best example of the combo I mentioned? – undoubtedly – Forts. Pune surroundings have abundance of forts at its best. Speaking of forts, I’m gonna put a limelight upon Fort Rohida – definitely known and climbed by the trekking enthusiasts but otherwise a comparatively less crowded fort in the region.
Located about 2 hrs drive from Pune and about 4 hrs drive southeast from Mumbai is the route to the fort via a town named Bhor – a place still nourishing in its heritage since the Maratha rulers. Another accompaniment alongside the drive is the Bhatghar Dam – one of the oldest dams in India, built by the Britishers in 1927. Just as you proceed further from Bhatghar Dam, you are┬ájust 30 minutes close to the fort.
The more you leave the village settlements behind, the more the fort seems to get your attention peeking by the trees you left behind. As much as you seem to notice that the fort wants your attention, you too can’t resist flirting back! Once you reach at the foothills of the fort, the rightmost watch tower openly dares you to climb it. Taking up the challenge, you start climbing it. So you come to know that the slopes of the fort are divided into 3 parts – 1st : easily approachable as it takes just climbing. It is like a warm-up session you do before your workout. After a short warm up, the fort treats you with sparsely spreaded green landscape at your foothills and a stunning 360 degree views of the surrounding hillocks. Now you’ve got these views as your companion, you move further to the 2nd part : pretty steep and oh, extremely windy. So just letting the storm-wind pass and then moving further will make your climbing moderately easy. But not to worry, as I said – the fort has succeeded enticing you so storm-wind or not, it will help you climb it. Moving towards the 3rd and last part : a twisted and rocky slope. This might sound a bit difficult but trust me, it’s not as having been through the last two parts made the last one easier for you. The rocky climb sets your heavy breathing to normal. Also now it’s not the only rightmost watch tower, the second one shows up which had been hidden at the leftmost. It seems like the two watch towers are like dimples on the fort’s face. Oh and sure this luring smile is just for you! Now that you’ve reached the top – the old wooden door has already been opened for you.
As you’ve won in the dared challenge, the fort agrees to have a date with you and opens up to you – its building completed in 1656 by the then Mughal Ruler named Adil Shah. It also shares with you that it was basically built to keep an eye on the surrounding area including Bhor due its 360 degree vision. Taking you through its premises, it shows you about 8 watch towers and you’ve been watching only the of the them since your climb. Each watch tower has its own name and mostly referring to the name of caretaker Maratha knight. Strolling through the watch towers, it shows you the place its name was derived through – Rohidamalla Temple. Finally sitting down for a bit, as you glance up, you see 2 natural drinkable water ponds. The fort reminds to take some water to carry with you on your way back. Taking a moment, you breathe in all the soothing effect it has to offer. Filling your bottles with fresh water and mind with mesmerism, you begin to climb down. Fort has promised to drop you down and it does so. You’ve already dealt with 3 parts earlier so don’t have much to worry except setting firm feet on the grounds bending your knees a little while controlling the downward speed. Better not to play with storm-winds, you think, letting the fierce winds behind and moving downwards carefully. Finally seeing the lower landscapes at your glance you easily reach at the base. The date is over now.
Still peeking through the trees as you move apart, the fort seemed to be sadly blushing till its last peek, just as it has put its lingering effect on you. Trekking enthusiast or not, you should visit this place. Your long drive will be worth the fling!


Aarya Ghotikar

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