The Rajmachi trek is one of the best trekking destinations in Maharashtra, especially in the monsoons. It is located close to Karjat, amidst the rolling hills of the Western Ghats. During the rainy season, the whole region is green and misty. Trekkers can enjoy the streams, waterfalls, and lush paddy fields. If you’re lucky, you can even spot crabs and fireflies along the way.
A variety of packages for the Rajmachi fort trek are available to suit different tastes:
Just before monsoon begins, there is a short window of about 3 weeks, during which fireflies can be spotted at a few locations in the Western Ghats. Glowing fireflies fill the air, performing their bright mating dance in time with each other. The Rajmachi night trek is a perfect chance for you to witness this rare and beautiful phenomenon.
In the rainy months, the trail is absolutely stunning. You’ll enjoy waterfalls, streams, misty views, rain-drenched forests. This is undoubtedly one of the top monsoon treks in Maharashtra.
During winters, this trek offers a firmer trail and clear views. It is very popular to go camping during this time. The weather is cool and pleasant.
You can leave in the evening and trek to Rajmachi village, where you can stay in a village home or camp in tents nearby. The next day, climb up to explore the forts and then begin your descent. This is a popular option during summer when daytime temperatures are too warm for trekking.
Some itineraries include a visit to the nearby Kondane Caves, where adventurous waterfall rappelling takes place in the monsoon. The trek usually starts from Lonavala, which is 16 km away, or you can drive half-way and then walk the remaining 8 km to Rajmachi Peak.
The peak has two forts – Shrivardhan and Manoranjan – built by warrior-king Shivaji. Rajmachi fort trek might be long but it is rewarding, thanks to the spectacular views all around.
This Rajmachi trek itinerary begins sharp at 09:00 hrs at Lonavala station where you will be greeted by the operator. Meals and refreshments will be provided based on the package selected, post which you will be transported to Fanasrai Village. The trek will commence at 11:30 hrs.
You should be there by about 15:00 hrs. You can rest your tired feet before moving towards the mighty Shrivardhan Fort, just in time to catch a mesmerizing sunset. When you return, you will be greeted by locals and served dinner. Post a hearty meal, you can go stargazing near a lake. Overnight accommodation is in a homestay.
Wake up feeling refreshed to a misty morning at around 06:00 hrs. Trek to Manoranjan Fort to witness the rising sun and travel back to Fanasrai for a warm morning meal. After breakfast, you will descend towards Kondane and build up an appetite exploring the ancient caves. Lunch may be served based on your package inclusions and the trip will come to an end at Karjat station.
Rajmachi Fort trek includes transportation from Lonavala station to Fanasrai village by a local 4-wheeler. Transport is also provided from Kondane caves to Karjat station by SUV or jeep. Meals and refreshments will be served based on the packages selected. Please check with your operator for final details. Accommodation will be provided on sharing basis in homestays or similar. Services of an experienced trek leader, crew and all camping and trekking equipment are inclusive. All taxes are inclusive of the package costs.
Transportation from your home to pick up point and from the drop off point to your home is not included. Any personal expenses such as beverages, extra meals, tips etc. are not included in the meals, nor are any kind of expenses arising out of unforeseen circumstances like landslides, roadblocks, strikes, etc. Lastly, anything that is not mentioned in the inclusions will be charged on an additional basis, as used.
The meeting point is at Pune railway station, where the operator will wait for you at 14:00 hrs. You will travel by train to Lonavala station, from where provided transportation will take you to Tungarli Dam. At about 17:00 hrs, the Rajmachi trek will truly begin.
Watch the sunset on the first day of the trek while darkness takes over. At 22:00 hrs, dinner will be provided to you at Rajmachi village. Having indulged in the delicious local cuisine, you will ascend to the peak, aiming to get there by 23:30 hrs.
If you are lucky, you might find the fireflies light up the way. You will be free to roam about while you enjoy the breaktaking views from the top. Overnight stay will be in the caves near the forts where you can give respite to your weary body.
Start day 2 of the Rajmachi fort trek on a great note by watching the sun rise above the towering Sahyadris. Make the morning even better as you savor some local breakfast and a hot cup of tea.
The return trek commences at 08:30 hrs. You will find transport waiting for you at Jambhul Phata, bringing to an end the 4 km trek. They will drive you back to Lonavala station by about 11:30 hrs. From there on, you can take the train back to Pune reminiscing about the trip while you reach the city by 13:00 hrs.
Rail transport to and from Lonavala is part of the deal. Note that this is only from Pune. Jeeps will also be made available from Lonavala station to the end point as well as the starting point of the trek. Meals and refreshments will be served as per the packages selected. The charges also cover trek guide and expertise costs, first aid expenses and all applicable taxes.
The trip does not cover transportation for adventurers from Mumbai. No camping gear will be provided by the operators and this will have to be self arranged. While meals will be provided during the treks based on the packages, no food is included during transit. Any personal expenses, including snacks, cold drinks etc. are not included. Anything not mentioned in the inclusions will be additional.
The monsoon is a good time for the Rajmachi fort trek, when the entire route is covered in a blanket of eye-soothing green with patches of wildflowers everywhere.
You will also enjoy the cool weather and a beautiful orange-pink sunrise if you try the night trek in summer.
In winter, you should try the Rajmachi trek and camping packages to make the most of the cool and pleasant weather.
The nearest city to Rajmachi, is Lonavala. Being a famous hill station between Mumbai and Pune, it is well connected by road and rail to both these metros. State and private buses as well as outstation trains pass through Lonavala Station.
Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai is the nearest airport to the destination. From there on out, one can take the road or rail route to reach Lonavala.
Some of the packages include transportation from Pune city, making it extremely convenient for those planning their hikes from there.
A pair of synthetic tracks is a must for the Rajmachi fort trek. Quick dry t-shirts are also highly recommended to combat the weather. A raincoat or windcheater is a necessity should you undertake the trek during the monsoon months. Most importantly, you need sturdy shoes and cotton socks as we will be covering a respectable distance.
Do not wear expensive jewellery or carry expensive gadgets to the trek. Also, an umbrella is ineffective against the lashing rains. Do not wear slippers, floaters and heels as the correct trekking footwear is a must for your safety during the trek. The terrain is difficult and rocky and gets slippery during monsoons
Your guide and operators will provide you with a list of things to carry. A government issued ID card should be on you at all times. Of prime importance is a robust backpack with raincover. Fill the backpack with water (2 litres), a sun-cap, sunglasses, scarf, dry clothes. Remember to carry suitable rain gear in the form of a raincoat or poncho.
Personal toiletries along with insect repellents should be part of your gear. Energy bars, nuts, biscuits constitute the dry snacks to be brought along. Glucon D powder and Enerzyl powder for that instant burst of energy. Carry a camera and torch with extra batteries. Remember to carry your personal medicines and a small first-aid kit.
Rajmachi fort trek is not recommended for beginners. It is a high-endurance trek and is suitable for experienced trekkers, or very fit first-timers. The overnight trek is a challenging one, suitable for those with some experience, or for fit beginners who can manage long stretches of walking. The trek gets more tricky and challenging during monsoons making the terrain slippery and risky that requires experience to navigate safely.
The trek can be long and challenging, depending on the route and itinerary. The shorter version may be attempted by fit adventure-seekers or those with some experience, but it is not recommended for complete novices with no fitness schedule
The most important thing for a trek is to have comfortable shoes and a sturdy backpack. If you’re going in the monsoon, carry a raincoat/poncho and a raincover for your bag. Always carry sunglasses, cap, insect repellent and sunscreen in your bag, whether you’re going for a day hike or an overnight trek. You’ll find a complete packing list in our blog, What to Pack for Trekking in the Sahyadris.
If you enjoy the rain, you should go for a monsoon trek to Rajmachi. The grey rain clouds and mist are the perfect backdrop for the bright greenery of the Sahyadris making it one of the most scenic monsoon treks in Maharashtra.
Wildlife lovers should go for a night or fireflies trek to witness all kinds of nocturnal animals and insects. In the winter and summer, overnight treks to Rajmachi with camping or homestays offer a chance to see local life here.