December 2, 2022
Sondai fort

Introduction

The Sondai Fort trek is situated near Karjat in Raigad district of Maharashtra. Situated at an altitude of 1200 ft, it is one of the easiest treks in Maharashtra. Sondai Fort was built more of a watchtower and less of a fort. It acted as a watchtower in order to keep an eye on the nearby areas.

The Sondai name was derived from name of a divinity called Sondai situated over the hill fort. The path to the Sondai temple is forged with rocks. Fort has four water tanks and two of them provides portable water. From the fort crest, beautiful views of Songiri, Morba Dam, Prabalgad, Rajmachi and Irshal forts and the Matheran mountain range can be seen and enjoyed.

The trail to Sondai fort trek is effortless and takes only almost an hour to reach there. Sondewadi village and Wavarle village are the two base villages of this fort trek. Sondewadi village stands at one fourth height from the fort. Also, Sondewadi village route is more favourable rather than Wavarle as it passes through a dense forest. As most of the trek routes, the trail becomes slippery and dangerous during Monsoons. 

Sondewadi Village route

Sondewadi village is situated at a distance of around 10 kms from Karjat station. Climb to this trek will take around 45 min-1 hours depending on one’s speed. 

Wavarle Village route

This village is situated at a distance of around 12 kms from Karjat station. A bus or an auto can be taken from the station in order to reach the village. However, if you start the trek on this route, it will be more time consuming as it is going to take around 2-3 hours. Plus, the route is not very favourable for travel. 

Remember to freshen you up at the small hotel located at the stop when you get down from the bus or auto. When you start with your trek from the Sondewadi village, a rough road patch full of small stones will mark your way to the right which is the actual start of the trek. 

the beginning of the Hard Part

Your walk would be easy until you reach a plateau. From here you will have to take a way left for the fort. A quick slow down can be taken here under a tree depending upon you. Restart the trek and a way the left again has to be taken and from here you can easily see the fort sighting. 

Soon you will see the most interesting part of this trek, i.e., the two iron ladders which are being put up by the villagers in the area just to make the route a bit easier. When you reach the first ladder, you will come across two reservoirs on the trail extremity. The water in both the tanks is not at all favourable for drinking in fact is home to small creatures. You can easily make out just by looking at it. 

When you pass this ladder, you soon will reach the second ladder which will take you directly to the fort top. And there you are!

You will be able to enjoy the beautiful views from there. Take pictures or eat if you are carrying something with you but yes, it’s very important to keep your surroundings clean after you finish eating. If you are carrying packaging food, make sure that you carry back all the plastics along with you and dump it responsibly once you reach back.

what you will get to see?

You will get to see the Sondai devi idol there. But you won’t find any temple construction in which the divinity idol is placed so please don’t look for that. In fact, there is a big tree below which the idol is placed and the tree only act like a Mandir to them. The tree and the mandir is well taken care by the local Sondewadi villagers. Thanks to them.

You will also find that the top area of the trek is very small and has very less space.

You can start to descend whenever you want as there is nothing much to do up there. Obviously, stepping down will take less time than ascending. Make sure that you carry enough water along especially if you are travelling in summers. 

Travel in Monsoon and travel in Summer will be opposite from each other. The views will be different, the difficulty of travel will be different. Monsoon travel is not advisable but is not also prohibited. Routes will be slippery but if you are a trained mountaineer then you can consider this trek on your bucket list. Summer, obviously will be more humid and have other challenges of its own.

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