|The Imposing Tung Fort|
Last week when we were going towards Korigad fort,I noticed this mountain top which looked quite imposing, upon inquiry I was given to understand that It's Tung Fort. "Bas ab kya tha, Dil ne soch liya ki bahut jaldi is kille ko bhi fathe karna hai !! (My heart was set to conquer this fort soon) but believe me even in my wildest dream I wouldn't have thought that the next Sunday I would be on the Tung Fort.
It all started when my friend Avinash called and said "Aashish bhai, chalo yaar kuch program banao, I said yaar last sunday Tung fort dekha tha , kare kya ? and he immediately agreed and the best part was that Avinash offered his car for the trek,We set out early from Panvel the common meeting place,Driving down the expressway we proceeded toward Lonawala, It was a cool morning and sun was just peeping out of the fog making our journey all the more pleasant.
|Morning sunrise on the way to Lonawala|
Our drive from Panvel to Lonawala took around 45mins, It was 8 am when we reached the Kumar Resort junction at Lonawala, Here we were to meet our friend Shashi who was coming on motorbike and from here we all proceeded towards the Amby valley. In case if you are not having your own vehicle than in that case one can take Sahara bus or bus going to Bhamburde village from Lonawala ST stand and get down at the Ghosalkhamb bus stop and from here there is a road going toward left side to Tungwadi the base of Tung Fort.Its a 8-9 kms long journey from here to base.
|8-9 kms stretch of road leading toward the Tung Fort.|
The only problem is that there is no local transport available from this point, trekkers often trek this 8 kms route till the base or hitch a ride from passing by Tempo. Actually for this trek one should have own vehicle, the road as you can see is not in a very good shape but manageable. Driving down the road you can have the glimpse of Tung fort.
|Glimpse of Tung fort|
The rough road ensured us the rattling drive passing through few villages and few Green houses. Soon we were seeing the Tung Fort ahead, the sight of the imposing fort right in front of us made us all excited. Here please note that one need not go till Tungwadi, You must take a little diversion to your left before the Tungwadi which will take you to the Hanuman Temple.
|Hanuman Temple at the base|
|Information board put up by Sahyadri Prathishan|
We parked our car here and started walking towards the Tung. There is this tar road which takes you to the start point of this trek.One can see the fort on the right side from here.
|Tar road leading towards the start of the trek|
One look at the top of the fort and you may say "Arre baapre itna upar jane ka hai " In fact at first glance the fort true it's name looked Kathin ( The marathi word for difficult, hence aptly also named as Kathingad).
Just 2 minutes of walk on the above tar road and we reached the stone stairs which is the start point of this trek.
|Stone cut stairs at the start of the trek|
Climbing on these stairs you realise that the ascent is quite steep but however the advantage of this is that you quickly gain height.
The view was very beautiful as we climbed from here.Though the climate was hot but the breeze was cool. Most of the climb is on the edge of the mountain and route is quite narrow, hence we are always exposed toward the valley.
|Exposed climb with lovely mountain range all around|
within 25 minutes we were near the small cave and next to that there was this water tank. We rested for a while and enjoyed the breathtaking views of Pawna back waters.
|Enjoying the beauty of Pawna Backwaters|
|Pawna Back water behind us|
|Tung ki Toppe or Banana trees|
|Main entrance of Tung Fort|
|Main entrance of Tung Fort|
|View from fort wall with overgrown bushes and ridge across|
on your right side from here there is this stone stairs leading towards the second gate of the fort.
|Stone stairs leading to the second entrance|
|Enclosure before the second gate|
|View of main gate from the top of stairs|
with pawna backwater
On entering this enclosure area you will notice the carving of Hanuman on the wall.
|Carving of Hanuman on the enclosure wall|
|Second entrance with the stairs behind ,leading to top.|
|Stairs leading to the top plateau|
Once you climb these stairs you come across open top, just turn around at the top of this stone stairs you can have a terrific view of Tung fort on top along with the inside view of second gate.
| Terrific view of Tung fort on top along with the|
inside view of second gate
Coming out of this route we moved towards the right side, As one can see the towering fort ahead so there is little scope of losing your way here. Little walk ahead and you come across a small Ganesh temple with a water tank just next to it.
|Ganpati Temple with water tank next to it|
|Yours truly checking out the water|
Just opposite the Ganpati Temple you see a stone boundary. I was told that in olden days this was kind of assembly hall. There is this board called Sadar which I assume in marathi means assemble hall.
|Sader or the Assemble area|
|Base of the hill with sign board|
As the sign board suggest that on your right there is a water tank and on the left the route leads you to the BhalleKilla
|Narrow path with serene Pawana waters|
Walking towards the top of Tung ,on your left ,on the far horizon one can see Lohagad Fort and Visapur Fort behind the Pawana waters. The view all through this ascent is simply amazing.
|Pawna waters and on the right side of picture on far end |
Lohgad and Visapur Fort
|So finally on the top of Tung Fort|
Upon reaching the top we noticed that the top is not very large, As you touch the top deck on your left side you notice a small temple of Tungi devi.
|Tungi Devi Temple on Top|
Standing next to this temple you get amazing view of the Pawna backwater and the Tikona fort.I was completely mesmerized by this out of the world view in front of me.
|I can stand for hours to watch this lovely view of|
Tung Fort surrounded by sublime water.
Standing at the top we were able to have perfect view of the base where we had parked our car,the temple and even the diversion of road going to Tungwadi. I must say this top indeed provided a perfect Watch Tower.
|View from the Top , showing the temple and |
our parked car outside it
Next on the top we noticed this small cave kind of thing, so naturally the explorer instinct of mine got activated and hence I went to check out the same.
|The explorer instinct prompted me to jump|
into that cave formation
|There is a cave on the left side once you enter this|
Thankfully I can say Kathingad was not at all kathin.(Difficult).
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