The Hindu meaning of “Mahuli” is “Melodious, a musical Raag”. May be someone in the history named this mountain with many pinnacles as “Mahuli” with mesmerising picturesque landscapes that sparkles with raindrops.
During July 2017 our trek team left Mumbai around at 7 am, which was bit late for a trek but the weather was on our side with the July clouds and rains. We travelled by road on the Mumbai-Nashik Highway. While decoding the “Mohan Joshi Hazir Ho” made the journey fun filled, The Green house café on the way served some palatable breakfast to satisfy our hunger. Near the famous Manas Mandir at Asangaon we took a left turn towards the Mahuli Base village which is approx. 4-5 km from the Highway.
We started our trek from the base village around at 11 am. With the rain playing hide & seek and the clouds giving us the kiss , it was an adventurous trek with the hills above almost invisible. All the pinnacles were covered with clouds. As if someone has just painted the clouds over the lush forest, we explore different shades of nature the more we step ahead in clouds. Many wild flowers had blossomed along the plateau. It is the bliss of greenery, the smell of forest, the sweeping whistle of the flycatchers amidst the passing clouds invigorate the minds…the more steps you take forward to climb the hills, you find a different meaning to the lush green forest that seems to expand with falling clouds and the waterfalls multiplying in numbers.
About Mahuli Fort: The Mahuli fort is the highest fort in the Thane district, situated at a height of 2815 feet above the sea level. It is surrounded by dense forest, which is also declared as a natural reserve. Mahuli is divided into three parts – northern one is Palasgad, Mahuli in the middle and Bhandargad on the southern end. The fort created by Mughals , came under the rule of Nijamshahi dynasty during 1485. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s took this fort from Mughals during 1658. In 1661 it was given back and was won again by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s. In treaty of Purandar, in 1665, Marathas lost these forts again. The Moghal sardar Manohardas Gaud was the in charge of this fort. He did much construction on the fort. During 1670, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s tried to conquer Mahuli, but failed. Thousand of Marathas were killed by Moghals. Even after this victory, Manohardas Gaud, the chief of the fort gave up his position and a new chief Alveerdi Beg was appointed. After few months, Moropant Pingle conquered the forts and Mahuli, Bhandargad and Palasgad became part of Swarajya. The fort came under the rule of the British after 1817.
Finally we could spot the saffron flag just few steps ahead. After that the path towards the fort was surrounded with lush green meadows . It took around 2 hrs for us to reach the Fort which was completely on the ruined stage… remains with few caves and the broken entrance gate of the fort. The statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj & a pot hanging on the top of shiving offers a tranquil and pleasant atmosphere along with the soothing sound of waterfalls from the fort walls. After spending sometime at the fort we returned back to the base village to have our lunch at around 5:00 pm. May be during rainy days they don’t arrange for any food on the top. But during other seasons, the local villagers makes the arrangement for food at the top on payment basis with advance intimation. The trek route was moderately tough with approx. total distance covered by us was 12 km .