Pandavgad lies between Bhor and Wai and supposed to be built by the Kolhapur Silahara chief Bhoja II of Panhala. In 1673 it was taken by Shivaji and was surrendered in 1701 with Chandan Vandan to Aurangzeb. Chatrapati Shahu Maharaj recaptured it and in 1818 it was lost to British. Now this fort is a private property, owned by Mapco Company. The caretaker here is Mr. Sarvodaya Wadia who probably lives there.

We started at around 6.45 am and had oily pohe and vadpav for breafast in bhor. The drive was pleasant and roads for a change were in excellent condition. There are 2 routes one is from Menavali (after wai) and another from village Gundewadi. We decided to climb from Gundewadi. Gundewadi can be reached from Wai or from Bhor. From Bhor, after you pass the crossing for Rohida on right, you need to take a left to Wai (35Kms) via Ambade ghat. Ambade ghat is wonderful surprise and offers awesome view of lush green valleys and picturesque surroundings. Please see more details in this blog. While climbing down the ghat you are able to see majestic view of Pandavgad right in font of you. Gundewadi is tiny hamlet at the place where this ghat ends. All you can see is 3-4 houses and a temple on the right. You will need to go slightly further around 500mts and there lies a small house on the right.

The trail starts from behind the house. Its a small trail that gets lost in the teak forest and a bit dense jungle. The fort top is mostly not visible. As you climb the first plateau you start getting view of the ballekilla. The variety of flowers, especially small white bunches of flowers look beautiful. All the cows trails mislead you now and then but all you have to see the peak and climb straight. Its a 1.5-2 hours climb. Towards top, last 10-15 minutes you reach a flight of stairs. The topmost plateau is almost flat with Ballekilla hidden in the rocky center surrounded by bushes. The trail leads to the right towards Mr Wadia bunglow.

After crossing the bunglow, it turns towards right and the route takes you through a traverse round the fort beneath the balle killa. It’s a beautiful walk with huge boulders above with dripping water and enchanting valley to the right. The muddy waters of Dhoom Dam looks amazing and you can see the doors of the dam. All over you would see beautiful wild flowers basking in warm sunlight and moving to the tunes of the gentle breeze.

Accessing Ballekilla is difficult and all you are able to see is only huge boulder above you. The access road to Ballekilla is hidden on the immediate left of fist water cistern after passing the Mr Wadias bunglow.

You pass 2-3 huge and beautiful water cisterns and a very small main door with a lone buruj welcomes you. The curvy road takes you to the plateau with beautiful yellow colored flowers. To the left there is temple of Lord 'Hanuman' and to the right is the temple of Goddess Pandjai.

Right infront of Hanuman temple there are three grinding wheels, which were probably used for grinding a mixture of limestone and lead. The citadel is quite smaller in shape. It is said that from the eastern side a trail leads to Dhawadi village and on the way you can see Pandava Caves. We didn’t have time for this venture so we decided to return back.

On the way back we went to Mandhardevi temple. Please see more details in this blog. After Mandhardevi we started back.

Had yummy meal in Kailash Dhaba on Satara Road. This place is slightly inside and a narrow lane leads to it just few minutes (before the first toll naka) on Pune-Banglore highway. Look on the side right side, after you cross the new tunnel if you are coming from Katraj-Somatane Bypass or if you are coming from old katraj ghat this is few minutes after the ghat ends and it joins the main highway. They offer a hearty lunch and dinner and the speciality is Zunka-Bhakri and a very tasty Kadhi. They give small vati of peanuts as a starter. The 80 rs Thali offers 2 sabjis, salads, and various types of things like lasun, danyachi chatni and kharda. Curd and Chaas as add-on will do wonders for a tired traveler! The freely roaming white ducks and cute rabbits outside the hotel makes your day. We were back to Pune by 3.30 PM.

- July 18, 2009