The year is officially coming to an end, and so are the long days of mundane routines. With temperatures dropping, and excitement for the new year rising, why not do something spontaneous and take a giant dose of adrenaline to end the year with a bang? Long Christmas and New Year weekends are just around the corner, and it’s about time you ditch the crowded malls and cities to take a hike to some of the best forts for your next weekend getaway around Mumbai!
Aptly named ‘Iron Fort’, the structure was once almost impenetrable, and definitely explains how it’s still in pretty good condition, withstanding the test of time. With waterfalls scattered across the route, the trek to this fort is an enjoyable one, best experienced in the coldest weather in the region.
Where is it: Few kilometers from Lonavala
How to get there: You can take a road trip right up to the fort, or get down on the closest railway station - Malawli, or a local on the Pune-Lonavla train line
Where to stay: Hotel Sabar for Rs 1,000 per night
Considered one of Maharashtra’s top tourist spots, the Bassein (or Vasai) Fort is a reminder of the Portuguese reign in India. Due to the architecture and diverse varieties of flora and fauna, the fort has made an appearance in several movies including Josh, Aag, and Khamoshi.
Where is it: Vasai
How to get there: From Vasai Railway station, you can get an autorickshaw or hire a taxi to the fort, or you can get down at Virar terminus and take a bus that will take you to the fort. And of course, road trip is a great option as well!
Where to stay: Galaxy Vaibhav for Rs 925 per night
Mahuli Fort is situated at the highest point in the district of Thane, and it is advised to be equipped with plenty of nourishment and water while on the trek route. Legend has it that the Mughals won the fort in the treaty of Purandhar, but Shivaji Maharaj tried to win it back and lost around 1,000 Marathas while trying to do so.
Where is it: Assagaon
How to get there: Asangaon is the nearest railway station to Mahuli, from where you can walk it up to the fort for a good stretch of trekking road, or you can drive up to the base of the fort in pleasant weather as well.
Where to stay: Once you reach the village, ask around for homestays and other accommodation that the residents will be eager to help you out with
Historically prominent, Korigad is one of the earliest forts known to have been captured by Shivaji Maharaj and dates back to 1500 years. The Mulshi Dam can be found on the site, at the base of which is a beautiful lake that is a must-visit for all nature lovers!
Where is it: 20 km from Lonavala
How to get there: By road, it’s a 30-minute drive from Lonavala, or you can take the intercity express from Mumbai to Lonavala, and take a bus from the station to Aamby Valley.
Where to stay: Hotel Omkar Residency for Rs 1,600 per night
The perfect spot for all nature lovers, the fort houses the renowned Karnala Bird Sanctuary, which is a whole day’s trip in itself. The majestic structure that used to overlook one of the main trade routes on the Konkan Coast is now in ruins, but beautiful ones at that!
Where is it: Around 12 km from Panvel
How to get there: Get down at Panvel station, on the Harbour Line of the Mumbai railways, and take a drive up to the fort, which is not more than 14 km from the station.
Where to stay: Hotel Sai Samrat Inn for Rs 999 per night
Another important trade route between Mumbai and Pune, Bor Ghat, was monitored by Rajmachi, and now the trip to the fort is dotted with secret pathways and mini caves that you’re definitely going to love.
Where is it: Kondivade (Karjat)
How to get there: You can take a 15 km drive from Lonavala, or if you wish to come via Karjat, you can take a tough 4-5 km climb along well-marked routes. Karjat and Lonavala are also the two closest railway stations that you can travel from.
Where to stay: Girivihar Holiday Club for Rs 2,250 per night