I like the mountains because they make me feel small,’ Jeff says. ‘They help me sort out what’s important in life.
If you are’nt a dead rubber, somethng extremely uninteresting, you wont sleep late on a saturday. You will rather be on the saddle of a motorcycle, in search of truth, solitude or pure euphoria! If not on the wheels you can be on your foot, exploring unadultrated finesse of nature. Away from your one thousand squarefeet concrete box.
Trust me there isn’t many better places to be at than Torna, on a weekend, if you live anyware near Pune.
It was Abhijit Parkhi‘s idea that we should go for a trek at Torna Fort. I must admit that wasn’t a bad idea at all. In fact, it turned out to be a rewarding experience.
What is special about Torna?
Young Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj conquered this largest fort in Pune at 15 (or 16?)!
At that age, all I knew was about dual nature of light and some trigonometry. And of course, I could grab some decent catches at point with all limbs in the air. That’s that.
I thought that was pretty decent because the internet wasn’t that popular back in the days.
Shivaji was such a man who could dwarf the best of the best with his legendary heroics. Experiencing the sheer size and difficulty of Prachandagad (another name for Torna) will help you understand the prowess displayed by the man at that age.
How to reach
Torna is 60 Km away from Pune. Hit the highway 4 (This one is very special for me) and drive south. Turn right towards Khed Shivpur or continue on highway 4 (now NH 48, that is weird right?) until Nasrapur and take right. Either way, you will take under 2 hours if you can keep a decent pace.
You can have some Maharashtrian breakfast on the way. There are few restaurants on the highway and one on SH 65.
When to go
June – September. In the monsoon when the Western Ghats in this region looks most glorious.
A remarkable experience
We started climbing from 678 m (above sea level) the highest point was at 1323 m. My watch says that was 2.34 km of total ascent. This is an intermediate difficult trek.
Keep your hydration pack full with some electrolyte / ORS in it.
Our ascent through the lush greens with shorter intermittent trees was straightforward. We had a pack of fit and not so fit people. Despite the difference in fitness levels, we made good time up to the summit.
As we approach the upper reaches, clouds are waiting to embrace you!
Rain is an integral part of monsoon treks, however until we reached the top, there was no hint of the shower. But worry, not there was it waiting at the top of the Sahyadrilet, for us.
The sheer size of this fort means, you need plenty of time to explore it. An experienced guide is invaluable in such circumstances. Abhijit made light work of it as he added some rock climbing to the blend and made it more challenging.
Torna is such a trek that you can tailor it to various difficulty levels based on your ambitions 🙂
No amount of words or photographs can do justice to the breathtaking views from here. You have to experience this first hand. Or just die flicking trough the netflix.
Reaching the base village Velhe early, say 7 in the morning will be excellent. Later in the day more and more people will join the trek and that can take away a slight bit from the pristine experience and result in delays in climbing up and down.
Another reason to leave early is the time required to explore this vast fort. Simply, you need a lot of time.
- Kriega Hydro 3 hydration backpack
- Samsung Gear S3 Frontier smartwatch
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8 phone
- Quechua Hiking Waterproof Rain Jacket
- Nike Free training shoes
Things to remember
- Don’t wear shorts. Wear full sleeve shirt or jacket. There is a kind insect that will bite you all over and you will end up with itchy libs for one or two weeks otherwise.
- Consider carrying insect repellent creams.
- Climb down as early as possible. Late in the afternoon, there will be jams as traffic in both direction will increase.