Just 110Kms from Mumbai near Lonavala, stand the twin forts of Lohagad & Visapur. While Lohagad is a very popular destination along with 2200 yrs Old Bhaja Caves, Visapur, its twin brother almost stands neglected. Lohagad is almost a picnic location due to its easy access & basic amenities provided by the locals. It's Visapur that attracts us the more. What brings this fort to our itinerary?
When we walked up Lohagad fort a few years back, we realized that though this was easy & popular, almost no one talked about neighbouring Visapur. While both plateaus stood shoulder to shoulder, the crowd seemed to be only on Lohagad whereas the top of Visapur almost looked abandoned. With forests, geometrical walls & of course its height, Visapur looked more promising than Lohagad. We resolved & a few months later were spotted across by hikers who had climbed up Lohagad. The divide between Lohagad & Visapur was now obvious. While Lohagad has a lot of fortification intact & a few monuments often visited like pilgrimage by hikers & local alike, Visapur with similar top was isolated, pristine & devoid of any soul. While Lohagad was well supplied, Visapur fed the true spirit of a self-sufficient trekker.
Simple, exciting & a walk that appeals to all the senses, is what truly describes the hike up to Vispaur. Ideal for early mornings or late evening walks, we choose this fort for the isolation, accessibility, views & appeal to all age groups. The walk is on steady gradient for a short while until it reaches a small hamlet called Dhangarpada after which we enter a small forest at the base of the fort. This trail then gets us over a waterfall & the entrance of the fort. There is a large cave here & a temple dedicated to lord Hanuman. A flight of steps gets us into the forts where a set of water cisterns welcome us.
Towards the end of monsoons, the top grows to be a carpet of yellow & green. Tiny Sontikli flowers sway in abundance adding colour & life to the top. The wind greets us with much enthusiasm, our mind runs amock amongst this beauty & we forget that we are so close to civilization. The fort has walls that have stood the test of time & elements. Geometric in construction & design, the walls add a unique character, sense of strength & formidability to the fort.
Exploring the top in all its direction may take a couple of hours. We take a break at one of the various interesting places for a quick snack & walk around the ramparts that have cannons, hidden entrances, water tanks, & doorways. There is no closed shelter to stay, but spending a night in the large room made of rock, will be an out of the world experience. We resolve to come back to spend a night & enjoy the raw beauty of this fort. For all the efforts, this fort is worth a day’s visit as well as an overnight experience.