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Friday, March 4, 2011

Fort Vasota (Vyaghragad) +Tracking Places in Maharastra/India

Vasota is also known as Vyaghragad (fortress of the Tiger).
About the Fort:

A trek to Vasota is one of the most thrilling and enchanting treks in Maharashtra. Located about 350 Kms from Mumbai, it is a protected natural reserve and a national treasure nest. The blue-green expanse of Koyna backwaters, the evergreen forests of Koyna wildlife sanctuary, hike to Vasota fort hidden in thick jungle, the spectacular view from top of the fort along with the beauty and serenity of the place leaves one spell bound.

Experience nature at its best!! Serene wilderness and mesmerizing surroundings. Add to it the adventure of climbing Vasota and learning about our history, life and times of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and the association and contribution of Marathas to the fort.

Historical snapshot - Vasota fort is attributed to the Kolhapur Shilahara Raja Bhoja II (1178-1193) of Panhala. Vasota always remained with Marathas, Shirkes & Mores in 16th century & then incorporated in Swarajya by Shivaji Maharaj in 1655 during the conquest of Javli. Shivaji Maharaj named the fort "Vyaghragad" (Vyaghra - means tiger), owing to its difficult natural defense. After Shivaji Maharaj, the brave Maratha Bajirao Peshwa carried on the Swarajya mission of ousting the Mughal invaders from our country. In 1818 however, British bombarded the fort with heavy artillery thereby destroying many buildings on Vasota (Chandika mandir, Daru-kothar, etc) & looted property worth 5 lakhs. Today the fort stands in a dilapidated condition in a thick jungle with remnants of Shree Mahadev mandir, the plinth of a huge "sadar" (discussion place), the fallen ramparts & spectacular view of Nageshwar peak & Shivsagar lake (Koyna backwaters)

There are two entrances to the fort Vasota. The first one lies in a dilapidated state. On entering the fort we see a Hanuman temple, now devoid of a roof. Three ways go ahead this temple. The path straight ahead takes to the remnants of the fort. The one on the left takes to 'Kalkaiche Thane'. On the way is a Mahadeo temple which can accommodate 2-3 people. Moving along the path you will reach 'Machi'. The view of the surrounding region is simply spectacular.

The path on the left of the Maruti temple takes to the joint water cisterns. Water in these cisterns was not potable in December 1st week. The way proceeds to a fascinating cliff named Babukada, shaped like the letter 'U' that reminds us of Konkan Kada of Harishchandragad. From Babukad one can see Old Vasota towards south. No way exists now that takes us to this fort. In addition there is an acute shortage of water. Also presence of wild animals(especially Bears) in the area keeps the trekkers away from this fort.
How To Reach

Proper forest permission needs to be seeked before entering forest of Vasota region. Permission can be seeked from Forest office at Bamnoli.

There are 2 main ways to reach the fort, one via Nageshwar and the one directly to Vasota.

Via Nageshwar :
It can be said that a visit to Vasota is incomplete without visiting Nageshwar. On our way to Vasota a distinct pinnacle catches our attention. This pinnacle is named Nageshwar. A cave is carved in this pinnacle with a Mahadeo temple inside it. Thousands of devotees crowd this place on Shivratri. Water droplets fall on the Shivling from the rooftop of the cave throughout the year. Most of the trekkers generally visit Nageshwar on their way to Vasota; the only constraint being a walk for a few miles.

Directly to Vasota :
a)From Satara: One can reach Vasota from Satara by three different routes.

i)Via Kusapur: Board a bus at 9 a.m. from Satara and reach Bamnoli. From here one should come to Kusapur by launch. From Kusapur 2 ways go through dense forest, the left towards Vasota and the one on the right towards Nageshwar.

ii)Via Met Indavli: Catch a bus from Satara and reach village "Bamnoli". You can arrange Boats from Shivsagar Boat Club (Max 12 ppl allowed in each boat. Per boat charges - Rs 600 \ boat). Then crossing the Shiv sagar lake (1pprox 1hr 20 min) by launch take you to village Met Indavili. From Met indavili tracks can be identified to reach Vasota Fort. There comes a junction in between, Left side take you to Fort Vasota and right side take you to Nageshwar Caves. The journey from Satara to Bamnoli is around 1 hr 15 min. Bamnoli to Met Indavili - 1hr 20 min. You can reach the fort of Vasota from this village after a climb of 4 hours approx.

iii)From Mahabaleshwar: From Mahabaleshwar get to Tapole village and then further arrive at Kusapur by launch. From Kusapur one can reach Vasota as described above.

b)From Chiplun \ Chorvan:
i)Board a bus from Chiplun at 8.30 a.m. and alight at village Choravane. It takes 5-6 hours to reach Vasota from this village. It is to be noted that there is no water on the way and one has to carry his own supply. After climbing for some time one comes across a plateau from where the path on the left goes to Nageshwar and the one on the right to Vasota. As we move ahead along the way to Nageshwar we see another path below that goes to a well through dense forest. We can cut short the total time to Vasota to just 2 hours if we take this path.

ii) Arrive at Tivre village from Chiplun. From here we can reach Vasota via the Rede Ghat.

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