Visapur is one of the near about hundred trekking spots on the Pune region (Karjat – Lonavala belt). It is a huge ‘butterfly’ shaped fortified plateau said to be used as an open prison during late Mughal era (source: locals staying in nearby villages). One can easily understand what kind of tortures the inmates (or out mates) must be going through just because of it being open prison. There is no good shelter to protect you from fierce winds, heavy rains or scorching heat.
However there is no mention of this fort being used as a prison anywhere on the web. Wikipedia says that it was fortified by English to attack the twin fort of Lohagad which was then the treasury of Maratha kingdom.
It was my 2nd trip to Visapur Fort during the first weekend of September. We had planned to go directly from office on Saturday evening and climb the fort during night to save time. Tosh (aka Bear kaka) knows the route like the back of his hand. So it was not difficult to find our way in spite of it being dark due to cloudy sky. Visapur is Tosh’s pet fort. He has been coming here since 2005 when he first came here. Solo. At night. By now he has lost count of how many times he has been there.
We were four of us and the remaining two people had almost zero experience of trekking. So after starting out at 12:30 am with full vigour, our pace kept slowing down as we walked further. At the halfway point where routes for Visapur and Lohagad splits there is a tea shack which is shut during the night. We
took had to take a rest there for half an hour. After that our pace was excruciatingly slow due fatigue of previous day’s office, mucky road and darkness.
Final patch of the route is a climb from a dense forest and a dried waterfall. On your way up if you take a moment to look back you will get the most magnificent view of the civilization in the plains below. In one sweep of eyes you can see Lonavala, Khandala, railway line, old highway and expressway all together. After a point this view accompanies you all the way till top.
We generally go there at night from this route and come back next day from another route. There are several routes for coming back. Tosh says he has never come back twice from the same route. During monsoon, you encounter lots of streams of clean water on the way back. Drink it, soak your tired feet or have bath in it – the choice is yours. The route is slippery during monsoon; in other seasons it’s a cakewalk and you can reach malavli station within an hour if you walk like locals.
How to reach
Being so close to Railway station as well as the Mumbai-Pune expressway, it is really easy to reach here from either of the cities. You can reach Malavli railway station by taking Pune/Lonavala local trains. It is hardly a 6 km walk from the station.
You can also take express way and get down at the Malavli flyover. You’ll have figure out a way to get on the flyover in this case.
These are the must have’s on a Visapur trek
- Windcheater / sweatshirt (you are bound to shiver at nights without one)
- Light snacks
- Torch (for night climb)
- Fire starting tools (if you plan to light a fire for cooking or keeping warm)
- Sleeping bags (if you intent to sleep)
- Shoes with good grip
- Pair of slippers / sandals (you’ll need them on the way home)
- Towel and extra clothes
What to do
There are many places on the walls of fort to pitch your tent or open the sleeping bags. It is advisable to sleep on the walls to avoid rodents, snakes and wild boars. If you are a fan of camping, this place is a must-go on your list.
If you are camping here for more than a couple of days, you might as well cook your own food. There are quite a few spots where the wind gets cut and you can easily light a fire. Fuel is not readily available, so better pick up dry wood on your way up. Also it’s good to carry a small portion of kerosene to start the fire. It’s really difficult to find dry wood in monsoon. Even if you don’t want to cook starting a fire is a great pastime.
There are many water cisterns up there filled with water all through the year.
Selfies and groupies are always good to flaunt on your social networks.
Feel the furious winds against your bare torso (only for boys)
Because of it being a vast plateau at a respectable altitude (as per Sahyadri standards), fierce winds blows here. It is crazy if you stand near one of the windows on the fort wall and there is a big risk for lightweight people to just fly away in these winds. This is a perfect opportunity to bring out your inner Salman.
Listen to your favourite music while watching sun rise / set
You can enjoy sunrise as well as sunset at Visapur. I prefer Floyd / Nusrat doing their magic while I take in these majestic views. What better way to do a bit of soul searching.
What to expect
There is nothing much to be cautious of in this trek during day. If you are going for a night trek then don’t tell any villagers that you are going to Visapur. Instead say that you will to go Lohagad next morning and heading to base village for night stay.
Also there are savage dogs on the first half of way and they can really get the better of you if you give them a chance. Best way to avoid them is keep moving at a swift pace and scaring them with torches. On the second half you may encounter wild boars and they are usually not bothered about humans except when they feel threat to their young ones. Better to beware of them as well.
Best time to visit
Visapur is lovely all through the year. It’s never too hot due to continuous blowing winds. Tosh says he has seen all the six seasons here and it has never disappointed him.
Share what you think of this article and what are your favourite things to do on a trek in the comments below.