The Torna fort or the Prachandagad, situated in the southwest of the Pune district of the western part of the Maharashtra state, is a the major tourist attraction of Maharashtra tourism. The village base of Velhe is situated 50 km. from the city of Pune. This was the first fort to be captured by the Shivaji Maharaj in the year 1643, when he was just 16 years old and this formed the nucleus of Maratha Empire. This fort is perched at a height of 1403 meters above the sea level. The name of the fort is derived from the words, Prachanda, which means huge and gad, which means fort in Marathi. This hill fort Torna is known as the highest fort perched on a hill top in the district of the Puna Satara Highway at Nasarapur. Traveller need to take the road Nasarapur to reach the Torna Fort. It takes about 2 hours to see the fort properly. Various places can be seen around the fort, such as Budhla Machi, Zunjar Machi, Kothi Darwaja, Kokan darwaja, Menghai Goddess temple, Bini Darwaja, Sadar, Toranjai Goddess temple etc. This fort is now a heritage site.
Trekkers should avoid trekking in this region during the rainy season. The ideal time to trek here are the winter months. This is a popular camping ground for the trekkers, who carry their own camp equipment while going for camping there. The Mengai temple is a good place for staying inside the fort.
HISTORY OF THE ATTRACTION
This fort is of considerable historical importance as it was the first fort to be won by the Maratha ruler Shivaji at the age of just 16 years. This Torna fort was captured by the Mughals in the 18th century after assassinating the great Naratha warrior,Shivaji’s son Shambhaji. The Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb renamed the fort as Futulgaib. By the “Treaty of Purandar” this fort was given to the Maratha confederacy. This Torna fort is an architectural marvel with a host of towers and monuments built inside the fort. It is a popular attraction of a Maharashtra tour.
The Torna fort is about 50 km from Pune and 220 km from the state of Maharashtra. Tourists can take a train or flight to Pune or Mumbai as these cities are well connected to major cities all over India. The trekkers can follow two routes to reach the Torna fort, such as the Torna trek from the Velhe that is return on the same day after a one day trek. The other trekking route is from the Rajgad fort, which is a 2 day trek and requires camping overnight. This is where things get interesting. Usually, most of the treks happen in the day time, but a few daredevils who have mustered up the courage and embarked on an overnight stay at the fort have some interesting tales to share. Some haunted stories reveal that a group of trekkers decided to stay overnight at the deserted fort and heard loud banging on the door, asking them to open up. The sounds were of a 60-year-old man and each time the bangs got louder. Soon after that a lady (maushi) in a mellow voice, started calling out the trekkers by their name! Scared yet? We don’t know if this was entirely true or not, but many trekkers who have dared to stay overnight at the fort have similar stories to tell. Some have also seen a lady dressed in a red saree and felt tugging on their legs while they were sleeping, enough to creep them out.
Torna Fort, the highest fort in Pune. It is to the south-west 75 Kms from Pune. The fort can be divided into four different parts based on geographical terrain and fortification. Torna is one of the most favored treks around Pune. Being the tallest mountain of Pune district, this trek becomes a challenging one. Those who want to shift towards slightly tough treks, Torna fort trek is ideal. From the historical point of view, this fort is important because it was the first fort won by Shivaji Maharaj. Also, it is said that during repairs of the fort Shivaji Maharaj found pots full of gold coins.
This money helped in the construction of the Rajgad fort. Torna Fort, also known as Prachandagad, is a large fort located in the Pune district, in the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is historically significant because it was the first fort captured by Shivaji Maharaj in 1643, at the age of 16, forming the nucleus of the Maratha empire. The hill has an elevation of 1,403 meters (4,603 ft) above sea level, making it the highest hill-fort in the district. The name derives from Prachanda (Marathi for huge or massive) and gad (Marathi for fort). The way to the top is moderate to difficult, with some precautions to be taken in the rainy season. It is a two- or three-hour climb to the ‘BiniDarwaaja’, the main entrance to the fort. Britishers said “If Sinhagad fort is lion’s den then Torna is Eagles Nest. Two machines namely Budhla Machi & Zunjar Machi are the main attractions.
- Type: Hill Fort
- Height: 1403 m.
- Base Village: Velhe
- Difficult level: Medium.
- Endurance level: Medium.
- Category: Trekking.
- Duration: 01 Days.
- Assembly Point for Pune: Fergusson college main gate, F.C. road, pune.by 6 am.
- Participants from other cities have to join the tour/trek from Pune.
The entry to the fort is free.
THINGS TO DO IN AND AROUND
Some of the best places for sightseeing near the Torna fort are Toranjai Temple, Mangai Temple, Balekilla of Torna fort, Devi Kadjai Mandir, Maruti Mandir, Somgai Mandir, Rajgarh Fort, Rajgad Fort, Kalubai Temple, Ram Mandir, Bhairavnath Mandir, Madhe Ghat, Ajmai Lake. These are some of the best places to visit around the awe-evoking Torna Fort.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The best time to trek is in the winter months from September-March. Tourists can enjoy winter holidays trekking in this region.