Out of the two peaks, Madhu peak is inaccessible to the common trekkers. Makarand peak was converted as a fort.
Location and getting there
This fort is near Pratapgad. Makarandgad can be reached only from Ghonaspur village on the machi of the fort. It cab be reached by multiple routes.
a) Hatlot: From Mahabaleshwar, proceed towards Pratapgad. On the way, turn to Par village. From there reach to Hatlot village. From Mahabaleshwar, the journey can take approximately one hour. From Mahabaleshwar, there are buses plying to Hatlot. By this route, we reach the northen ridge of the fort.
b) Chaturbet: From Mahabaleshwar, one can reach Chaturbet directly by the route Mahabaleshwar->Par->Hatlot Naka->Chaturbet. By this route, we reach the Southern ridge of the Makarandgad fort.
c) Pratapgad: From Pratapgad, directly start walking along the western ridge. This route takes directly to Hatlot village.
d) Mahabaleshwar: From Bobbington point in Mahabaleshwar, descend to Birwadi village. From this village, one can walk to either Chaturbet or Hatlot.
e) Chakdev: Start walking along the Western ridge in the Northen direction to reach Ghonaspur village.
This fort does not have any significant recorded history. After construction of Pratapgad, this fort became redundant.
Madhu Makarandgad has steep cliffs from all sides. Hence no fortification was necessary. From Ghonaspur village on the machi of the fort, one ascent takes us to Makarandgad. There is minimal fortification on this way. This route is full of scree. Hence the ascent is little tricky.
The top of fort has a small Shiva temple constructed. There is no other construction on the fort. On the North side, there is one descent to a water tank. This path is tricky.
We started from Pune by a private bus from Pune. The route to Hatlot takes about 3 and half hours via Mahabaleshwar. When we reached Hatlot village, it was around 2:00 AM in the morning. It was very cold as compared to Pune. The sky was clear and full of stars. We had a difficulty in locating Orion constellation - the most visible constellation in the city skies. We quickly went in a school and slept in the corridors of the school. The cold made it difficult to sleep.
Woke up early in the morning. There was a water tap in the premise of the school. The village turns up to fill the water. The school has a couple of toilets constructed. This served our purpose well.
|From Trips - Madhu Makarandgad Oct 09 Madhu peak is on the left|
The morning was beautiful. The winter was not even started and still it there was mist all around. Droplets were everywhere. By the time the Sun had risen, some of that magic just evaporated.
7:40 AM Started the trek
We started for the trek. The beginning path is through the fields. The water in the stream is crystal clear - untouched by the city pollution. For us the city dwellers, it is impossible to imagine the early morning in the fields. It is an enchanting feeling. Soon we hit the jungle patch and the ascent started. The jungle is thick. Sunlight was able to reach the ground in few places.
The route ascends and then circumvents the peak above on a level. The level path is for about 30 minutes mostly through the forest.
9:30 AM Ghonaspur village machi
We reached a Shiva temple on the machi. Ghonaspur village is on the machi. After keeping our bags in the temple, we immediately started the ascent to the fort. The route is just beside the temple. The further path is full of scree. The ascent is not very steep. One has to be careful. After some climb, we reach the broken entrance of the fort. The view from this place is very good. This is the only construction on the entire fort.
|From Trips - Madhu Makarandgad Oct 09 Entrance of the fort|
|From Trips - Madhu Makarandgad Oct 09 View from the entrance|
A further climb takes us to the top of the fort.
10:15 AM Top of the fort
There is a small Shiva temple on the top of the fort. Villagers from Ghonaspur take care of the temple. The top of the fort is very small. Apart from the Shiva temple, there is one stone pillar. It was almost covered by the tall grass. There were lot of butterflies on this small top.
|From Trips - Madhu Makarandgad Oct 09 Shiva temple|
|From Trips - Madhu Makarandgad Oct 09 Ghonaspur village on the machi as seen from the top|
|From Trips - Madhu Makarandgad Oct 09 Madhugad as seen from Makarandgad|
One can see Pratapgad towards North West; Madhu on the West; Koyna backwaters on the South East. Raigad and Rajgad should also be visible on a clear day. Mahabalwshwar plateau is visible on the North East. Mahipatgad, Rasalgad, Sumargad can be seen on the West.
A small path just behind the temple is takes us to a water cistern. The path is tricky. But the water is worth taking this risk. From this water cistern, one can directly come near the broken entrance.
After spending some time on the top, we started to descend. Soon we were back to the Shiva temple in Ghonaspur. We soon had our packed lunch under a tree in the temple premises. Dumped all the waste in a carry bag to be taken back. All extra food was offered to a cow.
12:30 AM Temple
After having lunch, every one was tired due to insufficient sleep. Hence most of us took a quick nap in the temple premise. The temple is very beautiful and serene. There is no fancy construction in the temple. One must visit such temples to understand that God can be perceived in such simple, elegant places. There are several old vessels in use in the temple. The arrangement for light is also very peculiar. There is one square on the top covered with a transparent glass.
|From Trips - Madhu Makarandgad Oct 09 Shiva temple in Ghonaspur|
The outside wall of the temple are covered by paintings. There are several tall trees in the premises of the temple.
1:00 PM Started the descend to Hatlot
We started for Hatlot again through the same route. We hoped to spot some jungle fauna. But except some sounds birds, we could not hear much.
|From Trips - Madhu Makarandgad Oct 09 Jungle around the fort|
2:30 PM Hatlot village
We were back in Hatlot village. Now we could appreciate the beauty of this village even more. Lush green fields, crystal clear stream, no pollution. I wish one can settle down peacefully in any such village.
8:00 PM Back in Pune
Back in Pune little early. With the memories of a cool atmosphere, lush green forest, clear starry sky, and no pollution at all.