Christened as Sundargad by our very own Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. A lesser known trek with beautiful views, easy climb and a perfect family outing experience. The Dategad Fort Trek should be on your monsoon bucketlist.
Enriched with deep rooted vibrant history and culture, surrounded by the mighty Sahyadri, Pune has numerous forts a couple of hour's drive away. With most of the famous ones like Rajgad, Raigad, Sinhagad, Torna, Rajmachi, Lohagad and Shivneri being overcrowded on weekends and holidays, one can't really soak in the beauty and heritage with the hoardes around. One such fort trek is the Dategad-Vasantgad Trek.
How to get there you ask?
Take the Pune Bangalore Highway and towards Karad from Satara, take the exit at Umbraj towards Patan. From Patan drive towards Tolewadi, which is the starting point of the trek. A mere 45 minute long trek from the base will bring you to the top of Dategad.
Fortified by natural wall of rock on all sides, the fort is nestled in the south of the Bamnoli range. The fort is located at an altitude of 1027m from the sea level. The type of architecture and structure of the fort suggests that it was built in the 12th century.
The fort was under the control of the Shirke clan in the 15th century. It later came under the rule of Bahmani Sultanate as a result of a long battle.When the Bahmani Sultunate was broken into pieces, the fort came under Adilshah's rule. When Chhattrapati Shivaji Maharaj won the battle against Afzhal Khan and gained the control of this fort, he named it as Sundargad. He gave the responsibility of this fort to a Sardar named Salunkhe . With it being in the Patan reigion the clan or family was then known more popularly as Patankar. After the demise of Chattrapati Sambhaji Maharaj, the fort was lost to the Mughals. It was later recaptured by Rajaram Maharaj.
There's quite a lot to explore once you reach the top, apart from the over the top beautiful views in all four directions. The steps chiseled in the rocks make you wonder how they managed to do all this back then with their primitive tools, something that might seem impossible with new age power tools. It starts with a flight of about 20 steps carved in one single piece of rock, followed by an entire room done in the same way. Just a few steps ahead there is a 6 feet tall beautiful statue of Lord Ganesha carved in the rocky wall. In it's vicinity there is a 8 feet tall Maruti Idol made in a similar way. The highlight though is the unique sword shaped step well. With about 44 steps, the well decends in the rocky darkness. The water though is non potable.
Keep in mind to carry your food and water along, with no facility available on or near the fort, the closest shops and restaurants are in Patan. The best way to reach here is by car. And last but not the least carry everything to bring here. Let's keep these pristine wonders clean!