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Old 11th February 2015, 10:50   #1
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Default Drive from Pune -> Purandar Fort

Some days back, I got frustrated with Pune traffic and felt the sudden urge to take on some rural roads.

I opened google maps, contemplating my destination. I chucked out obvious ones like Mulshi, Sinhagad etc. (though Mulshi - Lonavla section is quite abandoned and a good drive, inspite of bad roads) Being a weekend I knew these places would be full of people who wanted to 'get away from it all'. Suddenly I noticed PURANDAR and I thought, perfect!

First, some background for those who are not aware.

Purandar fort http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purandar_fort is renowned and dear to all Maharashtrians mainly for two reasons. One is the brave stand (to death) by Murarbaji Deshpande against Diler Khan when Mirzaraje Jaisingh was sent down to Deccan by Aurangzeb. The second is that it is the birth place of Sambhaji Maharaj, who succeeded Shivaji Maharaj to the throne and managed to not only successfully fight off Aurangzeb himself for 8 years but to even expand the Maratha kingdom during that time.

On a related note, those who have heard/read contrary stories about Sambhaji, I personally recommend Sambhaji by Vishwas Patil. It is written in Marathi, though there might be translations available.
Get it
here or here
Definitely worth a read.

After 1818, when the British took over India, Purandar (along with some other forts as well) was actively used by them till 1947. During WWII it even housed captured German POW*. After independence, it was retained by OUR Army and till date it still has an Army base.

*These POW were the reason for my first visit to Purandar around 20 years back. People of Christian faith who died on the fort were buried on the fort itself. One day, one of my friends who had a German friend was told that the German friend's grandfather was buried on Purandar. Was it close by to Pune? Could my friend manage to get some photos of the grave? These were college days and we were just itching for a reason to bunk class. We bundled into his 4x4 Maruti Gypsy and drove off. Those days, one can actually drive to the fort top, like Sinhagad, though the road was not in a good condition. We did, found the grave yard and managed to locate the grave we were looking for.

With all these refreshed memories, I wondered if the road was still drivable and decided to find out. The route I chose was Pune - Bopdev ghat - Purandar.

Since I was driving alone, I could not take many photos enroute. But I still managed to stop and click some.

Also, photography on the fort is severely restricted. Lots of our jawans on top of the fort with weapons. In fact the are boards put up everywhere, citing this restriction but the jawans are extremely understanding and helpful. Once I explained I wished to photograph only the base area where the statues are and I was not even planning to go on top of the actual fort they let me in. Else one is expected to deposit cameras and even cell phones with cameras at the gate itself. Considering this, please excuse the lack of lots of photos.

Concrete jungle which I was so happy to leave behind
Drive from Pune -> Purandar Fort-civilization1.jpg
Drive from Pune -> Purandar Fort-civilization2.jpg

Bopdev ghat
Drive from Pune -> Purandar Fort-3enroute0.jpg
Drive from Pune -> Purandar Fort-entoute1.jpg
Drive from Pune -> Purandar Fort-enroute2.jpg

After Bopdeo ghat, the road turned rural (1+1 lane, and even 1 lane in some places) with quite a few villages on the way. Many villagers nowadays sell fresh fruit and vegetables by the road side. I passed them by, but on my way back I did stop for a refreshing glass of fresh sugarcane juice, and was it delicious! Yum!

A fork and the road was almost non existent. Gravel, stones, dust. No problem for my Terrano. Onward we went.

Suddenly we burst forth onto the Pandharpur road and a few feet away was a board, welcoming us to the fort region. Drive some distance, and we reached the base of the fort.

The mountain road leading to the fort door was in a very good condition. Tarred almost till the top, except patches where repair work is going on. A very enjoyable drive (though I wished it was longer). You can see the road to the left in this photo
Drive from Pune -> Purandar Fort-ghatfromfort.jpg

At the main gate,you need to register with the Army security, (photo ID required), and you drive in right inside till the actual fort base. Sufficient parking space, proper boards put up all over the place, and of course our jawans always around, alert and helpful.
This is how it looks from the top
Drive from Pune -> Purandar Fort-viewfromfort.jpg

Further down, I encountered this church, which I remember being in an abandoned condition all those years back.
Drive from Pune -> Purandar Fort-church.jpg

I removed my shoes and went inside.
Drive from Pune -> Purandar Fort-churchinside.jpg

I was glad it was cleaned up, repaired and in use (most probably by the Army) Even though it was built by the British, it is a part of our heritage and history and I was happy it was not left to rot.

Outside the church, there is a cement map of India (you can see my baby there)
Drive from Pune -> Purandar Fort-mapandterrano.jpg

I parked my baby, walked some distance and was greeted with this awesome statue of an awesome man!
Drive from Pune -> Purandar Fort-11murarbaji2.jpg
Drive from Pune -> Purandar Fort-murarbaji1.jpg

Signboard detailing out his heroic and epic battle
Drive from Pune -> Purandar Fort-murarbajiinfo.jpg

There was a jawan posted near the statue and I asked if I could photograph him with the statue, explaining I wanted to compose purane fauji and aajke fauji. Unfortunately he declined for security reasons.

Moving on, Shivaji Maharaj statue
Drive from Pune -> Purandar Fort-shivajimaharaj1.jpg
Drive from Pune -> Purandar Fort-15shivajimaharaj.jpg

To the right of this statue, there is an ancient building which houses Sambhaji Maharaj's statue
Drive from Pune -> Purandar Fort-sambhajimaharaj.jpg

I was glad to see quite a few people on the fort, especially youngsters. Many of them had climbed the fort on foot from the base.
One look at them, another at my belly and I decided to head back to Pune, thinking for the nth time, "This is it, I am joining a gym from tomorrow" (and we know what happens to that one!)

Overall it is an enjoyable drive. Around 1.5 - 2 hours from Pune one way. Total ~4 hours commuting and add the time you wish to spend on the fort itself.
Visiting our forts is always a big deal for me. I would really recommend this to everyone. Short and sweet. Less crowded. Learn about our history, heritage and bravery as well as recharge your batteries with the fresh air. If nothing else, you will enjoy the drive.

Last edited by Aditya : 13th February 2015 at 11:15.
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Old 11th February 2015, 14:01   #2
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Default Re: Drive from Pune -> Purandar Fort

Superb travelogue RedTerrano. This makes up for a good one-day trip around Pune. How much is the actual distance to and fro? Are there any eateries around for good local cuisine?
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Old 11th February 2015, 17:12   #3
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Default Re: Drive from Pune -> Purandar Fort

It's really refreshing to find a traveller these days who knows his history and is able to view everything in its context. Good job- and your Red Terrano must have made the trip to the fort easy pickings!

Sweet little travelogue and a good one to add to my places-to-visit-around-Pune list.
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Old 12th February 2015, 00:20   #4
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Default Re: Drive from Pune -> Purandar Fort

Quote:
Originally Posted by moralfibre View Post
Superb travelogue RedTerrano. This makes up for a good one-day trip around Pune. How much is the actual distance to and fro? Are there any eateries around for good local cuisine?
Thanks moralfibre. I am glad you enjoyed my small writeup.
Unfortunately I did not keep a detailed log of the KM reading. I had to stop at MG Road camp to drop off some stuff. From there I took the Golibar maidan road - Kondhwa - Bopdeo ghat route.

One does find quite a few eateries post Bopdeo ghat, especially around Saswad. These are typically the kind named xxx Dhaba but I doubt they are the genuine (as in trucker, Punjabi cuisine) type. Sadly as I did not stop at any, I cannot provide more details. Sorry about that.
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Old 12th February 2015, 13:55   #5
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Default Re: Drive from Pune -> Purandar Fort

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedTerrano View Post
Also, photography on the fort is severely restricted. Lots of our jawans on top of the fort with weapons. In fact the are boards put up everywhere, citing this restriction...
Looks like a recent rule in place. Last time I went up there few years back there was no such rule.

Didn't you visit the topmost point Kedareshwar temple? You get fantastic views around and if the weather is clear one can even spot around 6-7 nearby forts .
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Old 12th February 2015, 14:25   #6
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Default Re: Drive from Pune -> Purandar Fort

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Originally Posted by Dodge_Viper View Post
Didn't you visit the topmost point Kedareshwar temple? You get fantastic views around and if the weather is clear one can even spot around 6-7 nearby forts .
No I didn't. Like I mentioned earlier, that would have meant surrendering my cell phone which I was not really keen on doing. Also, I had arrived late in the day at the fort and I had wanted to get back before 6 as I had some other stuff to attend to. It was a last minute whim I did, not really planned.
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Old 12th September 2016, 11:58   #7
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Default Re: Drive from Pune -> Purandar Fort

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dodge_Viper View Post
Didn't you visit the topmost point Kedareshwar temple? You get fantastic views around and if the weather is clear one can even spot around 6-7 nearby forts
You are right. Excellent view from the temple on top. It is an exhilarating climb - from down below it looks tough, but not really so, except for one or two spots.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedTerrano View Post
... that would have meant surrendering my cell phone which I was not really keen on doing. Also, I had arrived late in the day at the fort .....
Thanks, RedTerrano. Going through your post, I decided to have a ride and enjoy a tranquil evening there. I must say that it was worth every moment. The awesome view from the top and clouds drifting by.....

(Planned another trip - an early morning climb , probably in the winter??)

The jawans were strict, but polite. So had to surrender my camera and mobile at the base, where you start climbing.

A few pictures of the route and mountain....

Drive from Pune -> Purandar Fort-enroute.jpg

Drive from Pune -> Purandar Fort-below.jpg

Drive from Pune -> Purandar Fort-peak.jpg

This is where the trekkers reach, when they climb (as opposed to driving up) and the church...

Drive from Pune -> Purandar Fort-entrance.jpg

Drive from Pune -> Purandar Fort-chruch.jpg

A few snaps of the fort - after I climbed down, I understood that it was OK to click pictures from the bottom...

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Drive from Pune -> Purandar Fort-fort2.jpg

Drive from Pune -> Purandar Fort-fort3.jpg

Drive from Pune -> Purandar Fort-fort4.jpg

Drive from Pune -> Purandar Fort-fort5.jpg


I was the last one out. One of the jawans was shooing away the stragglers, stating that the time is over... dusk made the whole area seem ethereal......

Drive from Pune -> Purandar Fort-ethereal.jpg

And a tribute to the warrior & the fort....

Drive from Pune -> Purandar Fort-warrior.jpg

Nice cloudy weather, with sprinkle of rain, no crowds, chirping of birds.... it was heaven!
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