Location: Mahuli, Tal. Shahapur, Dist. Thane, altitude 762 m.
Things to see:
It is actually a group of three forts viz. Bhandargad, Mahuli and Palasgad. It offers views of backwaters of Tansa in the north and Bhatsa in the south. There are also some nearby peaks such as Navra, Navari, Chanderi in the south and Chhota Mahuli in the North. There are remnants of fort walls and main entrance, the way to which is now eroded and washed away. It is on the eastern side of Mahuli fort. On Bhandargad which is on the sourt of Mahuli has a cave tank and offers view of Kalsubai peak and Kulang fort in the east. Palasgad offers view of Tansa lake.
The fort surely exists from the ancient times but who was the first to build that fort is not known. The earliest record mentions of its ownership in the hands of Malik Ahmed who was ruler from Nizamshahi of Ahmednagar in 1485. It was then Shahaji Raje, father of Shivaji Maharaj who came to this fort and made into his home for an year in 1636 when Adilshahi of Bijapur attacked this fort on the call of Delhi Mughals. Shahaji had to surrender to him and got into Adilshah's service and went to Bengalooru. In 1658, Shivaji won this fort from Moguls but was again lost to them as part of one treaty in 1661. Shivaji again captured it in 1670 and then it remained in Maratha rule till its end.
Very little remains of the old fort. The fort offers a very good thrill for a hiker due to its height and straight rock faces. The last part of the trek involves climb on ladder. The surroundings of the fort are forested but a lot of it is being cut illegally and it has resulted in high soil erosion in the area and subsequent washing away of many of its hill paths. The main way to enter the fort which was used in the past has already washed away and trekkers and local people have to go through very difficult climbs. There are some sculptures and stone inscriptions on the forts of Mahuli and Bhandargad which are not yet understood.
Temple in Mahuli village at the base of the hill.
How to reach:
With your own vehicles:
Mumbai/ Pune- Thane- Shahapur- Mahuli village
With Public transport:
Mumbai/ Pune- Thane- Shahapur (by ST buses)/ Kalyan- Asangaon (by trains)- special or shared autorikshaws or taxis to Mahuli village
Nashik- Kasara- Shahapur
Nearby Places for stay:
Shahapur, camping on fort.