The Sondai Fort of Karjat is a real gem. It is not a famous place, but you will undoubtedly get accolades! This fort is included in the Matheran range. This is one of the best treks to visit near Mumbai during the monsoon season. It takes 15-20 minutes to reach the plateau from Sonwari base settlement.
The water is stored in two adjacent cisterns.There is a good view of Gawri Hill from here.After climbing the carved stairs, a dry pool as well as a staircase to the right can be seen.Because the Sondai temple is considered sacred,Therefore visitors should take off their shoes before continuing the journey.Two pools can be seen after climbing the rock.After climbing the carved stairs,a dry pool as well as a staircase to the right can be seen.Because the Sondai temple is considered sacred,Therefore visitors should take off their shoes before continuing the journey.After scaling the granite patch,two pools can be seen,each with a massive pillar.The Matheran mountain range can be clearly seen from above.During monsoon,expect lush green scenery and misty peaks too!Sondai is not a famous fort,near Karjat Chowk Phata.Karjat railway station is nine kilometers away from Sondai Fort trek.
Morbe Dam,Prabalgarh, Irshalgarh,Rajmachi,Songiri Fort,Karnala Fort and Matheran mountain range can all be seen from here.To protect the trade routes,Sondai Fort Karjat was used as a watchtower.The base villages of Sondai Fort are Sondewadi and Vavar.Shindewadi village is situated at one-fourth of the height of the fort.At the top point, where there is an idol of Sondai Devi,there are several watercourses and steps made of rocks.Two more freshwater pools with potable water are on the way.Waverley is another settlement from where it is a bit difficult to reach the fort due to the extensive woodland. An iron staircase,Sondai Hike,has been installed.It has climbed to the summit to take the blessings of the Sondai Devi temple making it safe for both hikers and pilgrims.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO DO BEAUTIFUL SONDAI FORT TREK:-
The Western Ghats also known as the Sahyadri Hills cover a long stretch of mountain.Sondai Fort is one of them,And Sondai Fort Trek is the activity that can be done in this area.This place is located in the hill range of Karjat,Matheran in Maharashtra,India.The name is derived from the goddess Sondai Devi,situated on the top of Sondai mountain. Sondewadi is the base village to reach the top of the fort.Sondai is not a fort,it was used as a watchtower for the surrounding area.A lesser known place from the Sahyadri mountain range.The beauty of the place is that it is surrounded by forts like Prabalgarh, Irshalgarh,Rajmachi,Karnala Fort and the grand Matheran hill range.One cannot miss the view of the stunning Morbe Dam from above. It adds flavor to the trek to Sondai Fort.Though it is an easy trek for beginners,it has its own adventure and like other forts,it has its own story.
SONDAI FORT TREK ROUTE:-
Sondai Fort Trek route to the top of Sondai Fort is easy and well marked. Sondai Fort Trek starts from Shindewadi village.Sondai Fort Trek passes through jungle,rock patches,many iron steps and muddy ground.Sondai Fort Trek is the best one day trek near Mumbai and Pune.Monsoon season is the best time to visit Sondai Fort.Sondai Fort is the best and ideal trek for beginners and first time visitors.
THINGS TO SEE ON SONDAI FORT TREK:-
MULTIPLE WATER TANKS
1.GODDESS SONDAI Temple
2.TWO IRON LADDERS
3.VIEW OF MATHERAN
The top area of Sondai Fort is very small and hence it is not possible to camp at the top.There is an open plateau just before the first iron stairway and this plateau is the best place to camp.
There are no hotels near Shindewadi Village. However,only the people of Sondewadi village can make arrangements for food and water.There is no water facility at Sondai Fort.Carry enough water with you.
HOW TO REACH SONDAI FORT TREK:-
Get down at Karjat railway station.Karjat is easily accessible from Mumbai,Pune and Thane. There is no direct bus available till the base of Sondai Fort.Catch ST bus from Karjat or Tum Tum to Borgaon Phata share (fare Rs 10 per person).To reach Sondewadi village from Borgaon Phata,walk 5 km or if you are lucky, take a lift.If you are coming in group then book a vehicle till Shindewadi village.The distance between Karjat and Sondai Fort is about 10 km.
DIRECTION FROM BASE VILLAGE:-
From Sondewadi,turn right and continue on the unpaved path until you come to a wide rocky path on your right.Climb this trail to reach a clearing with a huge tree in the middle.The southern route from Waverley village connects to the Shindewadi Trail at this point.From the tree,continue along the main road in the direction of the fort.An easy rock patch and slightly exposed traverse lead to the base of the peak.Two stairs placed on slightly difficult sections help trekkers to reach the flat top with the idol of Goddess Sondai.Go down that route.
PLACES TO VISIT NEAR SONDAI FORT:-