After doing several treks together, Ruzbeh and myself, we were contemplating on organizing a 1 day trek. Finally, we decided to go to Sargargad, one for it's easy proximity and secondly it was also our first trek in the Alibaug region. After spreading a word amongst our close trekking friends, we were quite amazed to get a good response for this trek. Other than Ruzbeh & myself, 15 other trekkers joined us to Sagargad.
Sagargad also known as Khed Durg lies in the Alibaug Region. The Sagargad fort can be accessed for Alibaug, a prominent town on the konkan coastline. This fort can be seen from the Alibaug-Pen road and is identified by Vanartok Pinnacle which stands adjacent to the fort. A prominent pinnacle, Vanartok is a quite a regular climbing spot amongst the Sahyadri climbers. Sagargad, which is situated on a hill can be approached by three different routes. They are : Khandala route, Vaghede route & Bail Khind route. We decided to take the Khandala route.
History wise, not much is known about this fort, except that this fort was one of those give by Shivaji Maharaj to the Mughals in the Treaty of Purandar.
The meeting point was fixed at VT local platform and everyone assembled there by 5:15am. We all then proceeded to the jetty point at Gateway of India, from where we took a PNP catamaran to Mandwa. The boat ride was amazing as we were cruising at a good speed and within an hour or so we reached Mandwa Jetty. From Mandwa we boarded the courtesy coach of the catamaran services to Alibaug (catamaran tkt charges included boat & bus journey upto Alibaug town) and reached there in about 1 hr ie. Roughly around 9am. After having a quick breakfast and a nearby restaurant in the market area, we hired 2 autorickshawa and proceeded to Khandala, the base village for Sagargad.
After about 45mins we reached Khandala village. We told the auto guys to return to the same point by 5pm to collect us for the return journey. Usual introduction and briefing sessions were carried out. Dharmesh and Ruzbeh were the trek leaders and route finders & I stayed in the end. Tejas was the accountant for this trek.
We started our trek towards a hill that could be seen to the east of Khandala village. The Sagargad fort lies hidden behind this hill. We walked on a cart track (water pump enroute) for about 20min and then reached the base of the hill. Following a prominent foot track we started climbing and after about an hour we reached a junction. Route on the left leads us to Sagargad and the right takes us to Siddeshwar Ashram. We decided to go to the ashram and take some rest. From the bifurcation, it takes about 10mins to the ashram. Inside the ashram, there is a well and a temple dedicated to Lord Shankar. There was not a soul in the ashram whilst we were there. After about ½ hr, we returned back to the bifurcation and proceeded straight towards the top of the hill. The route here is quite misleading and initially we lost our route. However, after some routefinding we got back on to the actual path. Enroute we passed a Maruti Temple, Siddeshwar village, and finally reached the top of the hill in about 1 hrs time. We could now see Sagargad in front of us. The hill which we were on is connected by a common ridge to Sargargad. We traversed and finally reached the fort entrance after a 15min walk. Near the entrance, another path coming from Vaghede village, joins our path on the left.
The main entrance of Sagargad is in complete ruins. There are partly ruined bastions on either side of the fort. On entering the fort we settled down in a good shaded area where there is a Shivling & a Ganesh Temple and is just above the artificial water tank. We filled up our water bottles and had our lunch there. Quite a varied and sumptuous lunch! Post lunch, we proceeded onto explore the fort. From the temple we walked for about 20min to the end of the fort towards the south side. Vanartok pinnacle stands adjacent to this end of the fort. After taking a few photos here, we returned back and reached a hump kind of area. The balekilla is situated here and is surrounded by fortifications and bastions. There is a small pond & a temple on the balekilla. However, due to dense vegetation around here and it was not advisable to investigate or go deep into the area for the fear of reptiles. About midway on the hump of the balekilla, on the side of the Vaghede village is a small cistern. This cistern holds water throughout the year and is known as Pandavkund. On the southern side of the Machi there is a place called ‘Saticha Mal' were nine tombs are supposed to be there. However, we found none.
We finished our fort tour by around 3pm and it was time to turn back. On our way back we again lost our way. Nevertheless, we reached the Siddeshwar village down the hill and filled up our water bottles from the village well. We then proceeded further down the hill, passed Siddeshwar Ashram and reached Khandala village by around 4:45pm. Exactly at 5pm our auto guys returned to pick us up.
We returned to Alibaug, took the courtesy bus to Mandwa and finally the catamaran ride across the Arabian Sea into Gateway of India. All the participants had a good snooze after the tiring trek. We reached Gateway at around 8:30pm and all the participants disbursed after the thanksgiving.
Ruzbeh & myself, we thoroughly enjoyed this trek. logistics, finance, etc.. everything went of so well, that we were proud for having organized the trek. We also thank the support fellow trekkers Dharmesh, Tejas, Gopal & Harshad in making this trek a successful one.