Rajmachi: To Go or Not to Go

Just a forewarning: Whoever said that the trek difficulty level of this fort is easy; they were bullshitting. If you are a person who is not used to trekking (someone like myself) or walking or climbing, then this fort is not for you. Two words: Don’t go. I tell this from my experience. If it wasn’t for my friend (who is a professional trekker), I wouldn’t have made it home alive.

Okay, let’s proceed to my story.

I left Pune on Saturday morning at 6.15 am and went to the railway station. Me and my three friends caught a train to Lonavala at 8.15 am. After reaching Lonavala at 9.45 am, we had some breakfast at a local restaurant.

Now, there are two ways to go to Rajmachi. Either go from Karjat (that is, actual trek) or go from Tungarli village. Avoid the Tungarli village road if you can (you have to walk 20 kilometers!!!!) because I did not and believe me, it’s way too difficult to walk all that distance. It will probably dehydrate you. I advice you to carry plenty of water with you because there is not a single shop on the way.

Having made the huge mistake of going by Tungarli village road at exactly 10:40 am, we walked until we reached the dam in the village at 11.20 am. The dam water was cold and nice. We passed some time there, taking pictures and resting a while.

We left the dam in 20minutes and started our journey ahead. The road from the dam to the village is completely flat. I can’t remember much of the rest of the journey, just that we were walking and the road never seemed to end. There were times when three of us wanted to turn back mid way and just go home. All I remember is we reached Udhewadi at 4.30pm. How exactly did we manage to walk all that distance is still a mystery to us.

On reaching the village of Udhewadi, we rested a while at a house where we were staying. We had tea and lunch. After two hours or so, we went down to the lake in Udhewadi and an old temple. And after roaming a bit, we got home and chatted for some time with the locals. We then proceeded to find a place to set up our tents. We had two tents. When we finally found a place, it was not far from the house we lunched at. At 9.30pm we set up our tents and started a bonfire. It wasn’t so cold there. Definitely less colder than it is in Pune. We had ordered dinner from the same house that we lunched at. They sent us our dinner and blankets and pillows at 11.30 pm. After eating our dinner and chatting for a while, we finally slept in our tents. It felt nice since it was my first time camping. Although, my friend who was familiar with the place asked us to be careful since there may be wild animals roaming about. That did give us a fright but the night was uneventful except for some people who stole our liquor that we forgot to keep inside the tent.

Next morning, a Sunday, we wanted to leave as early as possible. The three of us were so exhausted, we didn’t even go to the actual fort. We wanted to, desperately, but we knew we definitely couldn’t manage to walk all that much again. At that time, our sole aim was to go home and just sleep for days straight. So we suggested our friend to take us the other way. That is, the Karjat way. And believe me, that way is much easier and will get you down or up the village pretty soon. We left Udhewadi at 9.30 am and trekked down to the village of Kondivade at 1.30pm. From there, we took a rickshaw to Karjat in order to get to the railway station. It took is around 20minutes to get there. Having reached the station, we got the tickets to Pune.

After reaching Pune, we made our way to Swargate. And then, home.

Conclusion: For me, Rajmachi is a place where I will not go again. Never. My body aches still after a week. And to be honest, I really didn’t find it that pretty. I would just warn you though, never visit the fort in summer or monsoon. It will be a nightmare.

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