Visit Manikgad Fort: History, Structure, Tourist Experience, Places to Visit Nearby and How to Get There (2021)
Manikgad Fort is a hill fortress in Maharashtra. The Manikgad fort is in the Maval area and near Vashivali. It is at about 27 KM from Panvel. The Manikgad fort is a famous trekker’s destination because it is a simple trek and offers a great view, something that you get only if you trek to a high point at the other forts. If you are planning to visit the Manikgad fort, read this article first.
History of Manikgad Fort
The Manikgad fort’s history goes back to the 1700s when Sarkhel Kanhoji Angre built it. The Manikgad fort was a point to keep an eye on the trade route from the Maval to the West Coast. This Manikgad fort was one of the several that the Marathas handed over to the Mughals under the Treaty of Purandar.
Structures Inside the Manikgad Fort
The Manikgad fort does not have many structures to see today. The remains inside the fort are a stark difference from the other forts we have seen in Maharashtra, which still have entire structures, including granaries and stables standing. There are some structures along the way and on the trek. For example, when you begin your trek, you start it from a Maruti temple.
In Manikgad fort, you only see a plateau that has the first gate, but that gate is now in ruins. You will start noticing the water cisterns and lakes as you go ahead. From this point, you will be able to make out the top of the fort. One of the few props remaining from a bygone era is a limestone crusher. You will also see a small doorframe that has the carving of Lord Ganesha, and a small stone temple is nearby. As you venture upwards, you see large water cisterns. Up the road, you see a Mahadev Temple and more water tanks. A while later, you finally reach the top of the fort, but there are no fortifications or bastions. The view is beautiful, and you can see other famous forts of the Konkan area, like Kalavantin, Prabalgad, and Irshalgad, at a distance.
Tourist Experience of Manikgad Fort
The visit to Manikgad fort is a medium-difficulty trek. There are no steep slopes or crumbling steps. The trek is long, and you need five hours for ascent and descent. You will get tired while trekking up to the fort, so plan to take rest whenever you can. However, make sure you return to the village by sundown. There is no commercial activity once you leave the village at the basecamp, so make sure that you pack well. The trek is through a forest, so you need to wear clothing that covers your arms and limbs. One thing to note is that even though the trek is through dense greenery, there are enough natural landmarks to guide one to the top of the Manikgad fort and down. Carry some insect repellent. There is no amenity to spend the night at the Manikgad fort, so plan to return the same day. The best time to visit Manikgad fort is during the monsoon. This trek could be a fun, chilling visit for a group or a couple, as there is no steep climbing involved.
Manikgad fort is a perfect visit for nature photographers as well. Because the cliff is not that steep, you can carry your camera gear, even the tripod, and get some excellent shots of nature and candids of people. The journey up has several plants, flowers, and insects. If you can get them in a frame, it is the perfect photograph. The excellent photography opportunities that this fort gives makes it part of fort tourism in Maharashtra.
The Manikgad fort is one of the few locations that you can read by a bike and is on a hill. So, it is the favorite destination of the bikers as well. The path from the village to the fort is open for two-wheelers only during the summer and the winter season/
Places to Visit Near Manikgad Fort
Manikgad fort is near Panvel, a trekkers and casual traveler’s favorite spot. There are several places near Manikgad that allow you to spend a quiet weekend, but a bit far. So, if you wish to explore other destinations, you will need a weekend with one day dedicated to the ascent and descent and the next day dedicated to other destinations.
If you have time on your hands, you can visit the Karnala Bird Sanctuary, one of the few places in Maharashtra that puts you in the lap of nature, where you can see exotic birds, animals, and insects. The Karnala Bird Sanctuary is at about 45 minutes from the fort.
And then, when you are the bird sanctuary, you can visit the Karnala Fort, another important part of fort tourism in Maharashtra. The visit is a trek, so you need to plan whether you wish to visit the fort or spend some time at the base village.
At an hour’s distance is the Prabalgad fort. The fort is another favorite trekking destination, and you will find many trekkers going to and fro this fort.
And just at an hour’s drive is Lonavala, the hill station that everyone wants to go to but never find time. If you have reached Panvel and Manikgad Fort, it makes sense for you to head over to Lonavla and spend some time there.
How to Reach Manikgad Fort?
To reach Manikgad, you first need to travel to Panvel. Your next stop then will be the base village, Vadgaon. It is from this village that you start your trek towards the Manikgad Fort.
Panvel is well-connected with Mumbai and Pune. You can take a direct train from both places to reach Panvel and then take private transport from Panvel to Vadgaon. Pune to Panvel is a 2-hour journey. The journey from Mumbai to Panvel is less than an hour.