Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Something New Avandh Patta Fort near Nasik

Edited my post and placed the description at bottom of this article
New photos posted at the bottom of this page
*************************************************Basically in my school and college days when I was in Nasik,I had one favorite spot called Pandavleni 4 kms from my home which I used to regularly climb twice/thrice in a month.Whenever I use to climb this mountain and view from its top,I used to see the whole Igatpuri,Trimbakeshwar and Bhandardara region and the Darna valley.Along with Kalsubai,AKM(Alang Kulang Madan) one fort always fascinated me and that was this one"Avandh Patta" beyond the Darna dam standing next to Darna valley.
I always use to see this fort beyond Deolali but was not able to visit it till 2 days back.
Finally I planned for this fort but from Pune,it was a very interesting and long journey because I was not going to travel on highways very often.
Around 6:15 am,I started from Pune and reached Sangamner around 9:30 am and took the road going towards Bhandardara and from Akole,I took right towards road going to Sinnar.The road is very nice almost all the times hence no problem of slow moving.I just halted at Akole for few minutes and started again.The road was plain but was little bit narrow.15 kms from Akole was Devthan village from where I took left towards Samsherpur village which goes till Igatpuri/Ghoti via Taaked.
After leaving Samsherpur, the hilly journey started with streams flowing all the way green pastures everywhere and clouds sailing in the sky and sometimes sunshine followed with rain.
I reached the base village of this fort "Kokanwadi also called PattaWadi" around 12:00 pm

From this village,Patta is not very huge.From this base village,Patta is hardly 300 to 400 meters in height(Little less in height than what Raigad is from Pachad village) and it takes hardly 30 to 45 minutes to reach the top through a easy way in the rock carved stair cases.
and it takes almost 2 -3 hours or even more to see the fort completely.
There is nothing to stay on the top

Patta fort has three to four base villages.
1)From Akole Sangamner side,the easy route is via Pattawadi(400 meters easy climb).You can climb this fort even if you are alone due to courtesy of very very helpful villagers.
2)From Nasik/Igatpuri via Aswali/Lahavit railway station near Deolali till Base village Taaked via Girwadi(800 meters exhausting climb of 2 hrs takes to the Dilli Darwaza on top of fort)
3)From Aswali/Lahavit near Deolali via Ninvi village(Not recommended in rainy seasons due to steep and exposed rock faces)
4) From Igatpuri/Mumbai/Kalyan/Bhandardara reach Taaked and follow the route mentioned earlier

From Pattawadi village,beyond small hamlets to your right,the track starts climbing up.
in 15 to 20 minutes,you can see caves in front of you and in 5 more minutes and one steep climb,you reach the caves
These caves remind us of a big cave at Shivtharghal where a waterfall falls on the mouth of the cave and falls in the valley but since this area is in rain shadow zone,hence the waterfall is not big
15 to 20 years back one Sadhu called Laxmangiri Maharaj used to stay in this cave.He built his ashram here and educated the local tribal people.He had set a tradition.He never accepts anything from his devotees and people visiting him.But he only believed in giving to the people.
Even today if you visit,once you visit the cave,you will get some fruit/food from the ashram and that too without giving anything.If you try to give them anything,your offer will be politely rejected.In the current selfish world,this concept seems amazing where people think "what will I get".
People here only believe in word "Seva" means give service in return of any service.No help by means of money or any other things.

Laxmangiri Maharaj meditated in one cave with door closed and only opened the door on the day of Poornima else his door used to be closed and the sadhus were in meditation in the cave.
He died few years back and his Samadhi is in the cave but this cave is locked forever and nobody is allowed to go there.
But currently his disciples are carrying this tradition.
hence near Pattawadi and surrounding villages,you will find people who will only help you without expecting anything from you
Well after spending some near the cave,I headed towards the summit.From the cave,I took right and started heading further.After climbing ahead,again I encountered one small waterfall and from here dont cross this waterfall,instead take right and one stair case takes you towards the temple of Pattaidevi temple.
Thus the summit is almost reached here.
Further walking,you will see huge flat area on the top with water tanks and you will see Dilli Darwaza when you proceed towards north.
But unfortunately the weather started getting very very foggy and suddenly nothing was visible .After reaching the top you see the remains of a palace/ambarkhana but it seemed far away.
It started to rain hence I decided to come down because I forgot my rainwear in my vehicle parked down.Thus quickly I descended down in 15 minutes and again took shelter in cave for 2 hours because it started raining very heavily(Yes this cave opens only on the day of poornima and I was lucky to get blessings of Laxmangiri Maharaj's disciples.But mind well when you are in the cave, do not to speak a single word unless you are asked to.Just remain quiet.It is better not to interrupt their meditation).The cave is very dark even with the door opened.I guess how these sadhus stay inside with doors closed for one month.
I took blessings,got few bananas as prasad from the ashram and once rain stopped,I changed my clothes and decided to take a move because it was already 3:30 pm hence seeing this fort will take 2 more hours plus on top of the fort there is no suitable shelter hence in case of rain again,now I was not having spare clothes.The ruined palace on top cant protect you from heavy rains plus there are no big trees nearby on top where you can take shelter. hence I decided to come once again(Maybe on the day of Anant Chaturdashi).

Though not good sign but I was satisfied that atleast I reached the summit of the fort trekking alone plus It was a good thing to meet people who were providing selfless service in tribal areas and are trying to preserve our original and rich tradition Hindu culture.

Again I headed towards Igatpuri road.Now climbing down the ghat called Mhaiswalan Ghat is one more interesting thing.
Valleys from both side of flat mountain,lots of windmills from Kalsubai till Sinnar follows you plus you are on top of a mountain hence you get experience of sailing on the clouds
After climbing down this Mhaiswalan ghat,you reach Taaked village famous for temple of Jatayu.It is believed that in Ramayan ,Lord Ram met Jatayu at this place where he was breathing his last.
Further,this road joins the road going to Igatpuri to right and Kalsubai/Bhandardara/Sangamner to your left.
I took right and further again from Darna dam,I took right towards road going to Sinnar-Shirdi
Reached Sinnar on Pune Nasik Highway in 1 hour and from there reached Pune till 10:30 pm.

History of Patta Fort:
After war at Jalna,Shivaji Maharaj reached Sangamner.But at the same time,Mughal army came in large number till Sangamner.Maratha army defeated them in a huge battle and On 16 November 1679(6 months before death) Shivaji Maharaj arrived on this fort and stayed here for 1 month to recover from prolonged illness hence this fort is also called as Vishramgad.After that Shivaji Maharaj proceeded towards Raigad via Kunjargad and Kaladgad(neighbours of Harishchandragad).
Hence Patta was the only fort where Shivaji Maharaj stayed for long time after Rajgad and Raigad.

Geographical location
Patta is situated in Kalsubai range having height of 1390 meters and spread in north-south direction.Its one base village is located in Akole taluka in Ahmadnagar and other base villages are located in Sinnar taluka Nasik.
Patta has a long flat top plateau connecting its neighbours Bitandgad,Mahankal and Kalsubai to south and Avandh and Aad fort to north

From top of this fort,one can see the whole Nasik-Deolali region and the Darna valley and region right from Kalsubai till Trimbakeshwar.Thus this fort was used as a watching tower because the whole Nasik Region can be viewed from here.

Other places to see

From here one can visit the Avandh fort famous for its pinacle and proceed to Sinnar from Avandh via Girwadi.(It is believed the grand and majestic view of Patta fort can be seen only from Avandh fort)

Proceed to Igatpuri from Pattawadi via Taked and visit Kavnai fort near Igatpuri(just 45 minutes trek) and proceed to Mumbai/Nasik/Pune

Proceed to Indori via Taaked and visit Kalsubal/Kulang fort and proceed to Igatpuri

Here are few photos taken from Mobile camera

Edited my article from here

*************************************************As said earlier in my blog,I planned trek to this location on Anant Chaturdashi regardless of anyone joining me or not..Hence fulfilling my promise given earlier one month back.
On Anant Chaturdashi morning,I started around 8:30 am in morning and this time I followed the malshej Ghat route till Otur village and from Otur ST bus stand,I took right towards Brahmanwada-Kotul-Akole.By doing this,my distance was saved by around 50 kms instead of going via Sangamner on Nasik highway.
I reached Pattawadi the base of fort around 1:30 pm and started the trek.In 15 minutes I reached the cave near Laxmangiri Maharaj Ashram and from there I followed the route towards Pattai Devi temple by taking right on top of the cave.
After the temple,I started climbing up towards left.I was able to see few water tanks during Satvahan era.From these tanks,I took left and started heading further through trees and bushes and in 5 to 10 minutes,I reached the top of fort.
For a novice trekkers or someone who is trekking alone on this fort,here is one useful information
If you feel like getting lost during trek,always look for electricity poles and wires which are coming down from the fort summit till the cave and further down till Pattawadi village.These poles and wires are visible from almost 3 to 5 kilometers also.So by referring these poles,you can easily reach the cave where you will always find somebody with whom you can ask the route/any help.
But since the route is easy one plus there are not too much dense trees,hence chances of getting lost is almost impossible(even in case of a alone trekker)

On reaching the top, you will see huge flat area everywhere and around 30 meters small hill which is the summit of fort and a small palace to your right side.
Last time I was able to reach the reach the top but had to retreat due to dense fog and very heavy rains.
This time though weather was cloudy but it was not raining that much hence I comfortably reached palace.
This palace is ruined from inside and use by local villagers for sheltering their cows and buffaloes for the whole rainy season.Hence the palace is not suitable to stay now(atleast in rainy season).
This palace from inside is like Palaces of Pavagadh in Gujrat and Gingee in Tamilnadu.But these two palaces are well maintained and they are big whereas this ambarkhana on Patta fort is not well maintained.But still this palace is worth watching.You need a good camera and a powerful torch because inside is very dark and hence photos are not clear(So instead of watching photos of this palace,its good to visit this place and watch it with your own eyes)
Further from the summit and after the palace,if you keep walking in north direction,you will reach a place from where you will be able to see whole deolali camp,Nasik area and adjoining villages and neighbouring Avandh and Aad forts.
Further northwards,you will find huge water tanks with crystal clear water called as Sapta-Teerth of seven water tanks.Water is always clear here.

But moving further north was not possible because ground surface was too much muddy.My shoes were already 6 inches high with mud by walking just few feets.Local people said that there are two more small palaces after the sapta-teerth but they were not visible due to cloudy weather and too much mud on surface.
Now it started raining.It was not that heavy like what I experienced before.I again had shelter in that palace for 10-15 minutes till it stopped raining.There are no trees for shelter literally on this mountain.This whole top is grassy.
Patta fort was used as hill station by royal families right from ancient times till Peshwa rule.Even Shivaji Maharaj stayed here for more than a month to recover from illness hence it is also named as Vishramgad

There are lots of windmills from suzlon on nearby mountains right from Bhandardara till Sinnar on this Patta-Avandh pleateau

I came down till 4:30 pm and headed towards Taaked village via Mhaisvalan ghat.
Again at Taaked,the Sarvateerth is a worth watching place.Last time I missed it out due to heavy rains
In Ramayana,it is believed that when Jatayu was breathing his last ,Prabhu Ramchandra shot an arrow in this ground and one water spring orignated from here by which he quenched thirst of dying Jataayu.
This sarvateerth is the water source which orignated from arrow of Shri Ram.Taaked has got temple of Jatayu build on the edge of the kund.
Also one interesting thing is seen here.There is a 4 to 4.5 feet pit in a shivlinga and one stone at the bottom.You have to lie down on that shivling,put your hands in that pit and try to take out that stone.
As per local belief,it is said that if you are lucky,you will be able to take out the stone outside the shivlinga.
Believe me or not but the stone which was heavy and bigger than my palm size,while lifting it,I felt that I was lifting a small piece of thermocol.surprisingly I was able to take it out without any problem whereas before me I saw around 25-30 or more people who tried to take taking it and out of them only one person was succcesful.Some people were saying its too heavy/Too slippery/doesnt fit in the palms/hands not reaching there etc etc whereas the other person who took it out also said that it is very light in weight and surprisingly that person was very short in height and his arms also were shorter and yet he was able to take it out whereas I saw persons with longer arms also failed in taking out that stone.
Quite miraculous
Also those who are succesful in taking out that stone,it is their duty to wash it in the sarvateerth water and again put the stone in its previous place.
After having prasad at this place,I headed further towards Igatpuri road.
But my mind was travelling more fast than my car towards Nasik, hence headed towards Nasik and reached Cidco area on Mumbai Agra highway where I stayed earlier..After many years I was able to taste the best sweets from famous Atul Dairy near Cidco.
I had dinner in Nasik and further I started my journey towards Pune and reached home in around 3.5 hours

Edit ends here


The trek starts from above Pattawadi here

reaching nearby the cave

Cave on the fort samadhi of Laxmangiri Maharaj

heading towards summit of fort

way to the caves on fort

approaching summit

Entering the fort

Vastness of fort nearby Dilli Darwaza route

Patta fort from halfway

Inside the fort before entering the summit

View of Patta(Right) and Avandh(Left) from Igatpuri-Shirdi road nearby Sinnar

Edited: Added few more photos


Pattai devi temple.This cave is believed to be from Satvahan period.Also it has got water tanks nearby

Entrance of the fort from Pattawadi

   Palace from Inside(This is just a 25% view.Actual palace is big but its photograph cant be taken due to dark)

   View from Patta fort Summit(High point 1390 meters above sea level)