Manikgad is a mountain fortress and temple in Gherakilla Manikgad, India.
Don’t be fooled by the mountain’s pretty face – it’s a tough one! You’ll need some serious endurance to conquer this fort! But trust me, it’s worth it. On your way up, you’ll come across a few small rock-cut cisterns and even a tiny Shiva Linga. And if you’re lucky enough to have clear skies, you’ll get to witness some stunning views of Karnala, Prabalgad, Chanderi, Malang gad, Irshalgad, Sondai, Lohagad, Visapur, and Sankshi from a distance. Phew, that’s quite a list!
The fort is in complete ruins, except for the Ganesh Darwaza – the only standing structure on the fort. Oh, and there’s a big rock cut cistern called “Darya take” that you’ll come across too. And get this, there’s even a circular trench cut in the rock meant for lime mixing! How’s that for cool?
But let me tell you, this fort is not easy to conquer. It’s impregnable from three sides, except for the southern side. And it’s 507m high! So make sure you’re well-prepared before you start the trek. And by well-prepared, I mean carry lots of water, because there’s no water available on the way or on the fort itself. Oh, and don’t forget to bring a local from the base village to guide you – you don’t want to end up on a cattle trail instead of the fort!
Speaking of the base village, you can reach Vashiwali from Panvel station by shared auto-rickshaws or state trransport buses. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even take the longer trail from Vadgaon (another base village). But trust me, the shorter trail from Vashiwali is tough enough!
And last but not least, let me drop some history on you. Manikgad was built by Sarkhel Kanhoji Angre, who was so badass that the fort was ceded to him by the Peshavas in 1718. And the fortress was named after Goddess Manikadevi, who is the patron deity of the Mana Nagas. It was built to oversee the coastal trade route.
So, there you have it – Manikgad in all its glory. It’s a tough trek, but the views and the history make it totally worth it. And hey, if all else fails, at least you’ll have a funny story to tell about getting lost on a cattle trail!