Salher Fort is the highest fort in Maharashtra and second highest peak in Maharashtra after Kalsubai in Sahyadri range. According to me, I would rate this is as a medium difficulty fort. It is a part of Dolbari range and is 5140Ft. high, which is only 260Ft. less than Kalsubai peak. This is one of those forts which leave significant mark in Maharashtra history and is one of most celebrated forts of Maratha Empire.
According to myths, Lord Parshuram, who is the sixth avatar of Lord Vishnu in Hinduism, did his Tapascharya at Salher Fort. There is a small temple of Lord Parshuram at the highest point of the fort.
Salher Fort, an ancient and magnificent fort like this has a great impact in Maratha Empire history too. The battle of Salher is looked back as a milestone in building Maratha history. Back in 1672, when Salher was under Shivaji Maharaj rule, the Mughals attacked the fort with an ambition of capturing this magnificent fort. Almost one lakh soldiers fought in this battle but it was Shivaji Maharaj who turned out victorious.
Lot of brave soldiers laid their lives in this battle. Some names worth mentioning are, Surya Rao Kankde, Sardar Moropant Pingle and Sardar Prataprao Gujar.
Salher Fort is located in Waghamba village which is situated in Satana town of Nashik district. This fort is difficult to reach as frequency of transportation is very low. But it’s not that you cannot reach. So if you are using public transportation, Satana is the basic and common destination where you have to reach.
Salher Fort trek can be done from two base villages depending on your trekking preferences. If you want to do both Salher and Salota trek, you should start your trek from Waghambe village. On the other hand, if you want to do only Salher, starting the trek from Salherwadi will be good option according to me.
How to reach Salher fort from Mumbai:
Salher fort is 300km from Mumbai by road. Please do not consider reaching Salher by train because it is just not right option.
So catch a bus to Tahrabad via Nashik-Satana route. It is about six hour journey from Mumbai to Tahrabad. Once you reach Tahrabad, you can catch local jeep or buses which go to Waghambe village. Depending on from where you want to start your trek, you can get down at that place.
How to reach Salher fort from Pune:
Salher Fort is 340km from Pune by road and same suggestion again implies for this route also – please do not consider train transportation. It’s a rather long journey from Pune all the way to Taharabad and finally to Salherwadi near the Gujarat border.
First board a late night bus from the Shivaji Nagar Bus Stand in Pune for Nashik to reach there in the early morning hours. Then hop onto buses heading to Satana and Taharabad to get to Salherwadi or Waghambe. It should take six hours to reach Nashik from Pune and further it is a three hour journey to Salher Fort.
Things to carry:
So, you are about to trek the highest fort in Maharashtra, what you must carry with you?
It is not like climbing Himalayas, but you should carry all basic things that are important. Wear good trek shoes that have good grip because the path is quite slippery at the top.
Carry lots of water. Salher Fort is like a desert, there are no stalls, shops what-so-ever on the way where you can purchase a bottle of water. There isn’t any drinking water source available on the fort either. So carry lots of water with you.
There are no good hotels or shops in either of the base villages, so it’s wise to be prepared with some food also. Snacks that are good source of glucose might be good choice to carry with you.
If you are planning to camp, night camping can be done on top of Salher fort or in forest camping at Salher. Again, carry cooking equipments and food that can be cooked quickly.
Finally after cancelling this plan week after week, we decided to conquer the almighty Salher Fort in the month of June. June is such a fine month as the summer heat is decreasing and the rain clouds are gathering in the sky.
My buddy from Pune had joined with me for this trek. We were going to start from Nashik so my bike was the mode of transportation for this one. Our route was going to be like: Nashik> Dindori> Vani> Nanduri> Kanashi> Salher. It was 112km journey which took us approximately four hours to reach there.
It was first time my friend was trekking throughout his lifetime and he was about to do it on the highest fort in Maharashtra. It was his lucky day!
We started from Nashik at seven in morning. Although, it is a three hour drive from Nashik, it took us four hours to reach Salherwadi. The drive was pretty pleasant yet tiring as the road is not that good. I mean, yes, the road is great till Vani, but after Vani, the road is terrible. So, your speed decreases according to the potholes and pits.
You get board signs showing directions to you after passing Kanashi village. The chances of confusion are very low. We took couple of halts on the way at Vani, Arjun-Sagar Dam and in the Ghats on the way. Finally when we reached by the foot of the fort, there it was, it was actually quite gigantic.
Mostly for all the forts, there are trails or paths that lead to foot of the fort and then the trek starts. But, the foot of Salher fort extends right up to the main road. The road on the perimeter of the fort leads to Salherwadi and Waghambe which are located on either side of the fort.
We wanted to trek only Salher Fort because we did not have two days and two days are required to trek Salher Fort and Salota Fort. We reached Salherwadi at eleven in morning and immediately started our trek with almighty and energy.
Trek to the doors of Salher Fort:
The trek starts with a small trail which leads to a forest. The forest is not that dense or nothing to worry about. After walking for a few minutes we reached the starting point of the peak and our adventurous trek started. As I have mentioned earlier, wear shoes having good grip because the terrain is quite slippery and you do not want to fall off from into the valley.
After trekking for a while we looked down and noticed a while temple hidden in the forest. Unfortunately, we did not get a chance to visit the temple, but it is said that the local villagers visit the temple every day.
The path is very well directed with steps made of stones which assured us that we are going in the right direction. Climbing the steps seems easy but is very tiring and it takes a lot out of you. we took four bottles of water with us and I had consumed two bottles of them within half n hour of the trek. So please carry lots of water with you while doing this trek.
After trekking for half n hour, we reached the first gate of Salher Fort. The door stood strong and so did the walls. You will find lot of carvings and scripts engraved in the walls of this fort. We took some pictures and moved on ahead. We encountered the second door in no time after passing the first door. There we met our buddies that we stumble upon on every trek, the monkeys. I immediately took a tight grip of my backpack because if I’d have lost my water, I was done with the trek.
Trekking those stone carved steps:
We dodged the monkeys with a thick and deadly looking stick and moved on with the trek. Further, we came across a patch of flat land. We walked where the trail took us because we were confident that we will get the right path. You will come across many shepherds and cowherds, so do not worry about getting lost.
We were against a race with time and we had to move fast but all we could see was the peak of Salher Fort. The question that puzzled us was how are we supposed to reach the top? Then suddenly my eyes caught up with a dark line on the mountain which looked like carvings. We rushed up to the point and we were so delighted to see steps. The stone cut steps continued right into the peak and we were confident now that it led to the top.
As we climbed higher, we observed that the path was built on the edge of the mountain. The view was worth watching as we could see Salota fort right beside us. Although the view is more pleasant in monsoon as the mountains and terrain wear green cloak. There were some patches on the way where the steps were inclined to very higher degree and the wind was pretty strong. We had to hold the steps and climb like a baby.
We encountered some caves carved within the mountain where one can camp at night. The height is very less so you cannot stand in the cave. Although, it is a good option if you are planning to camp on the fort.
The entrance that led us to the top of the peak:
After following the steps, we reached another entrance that led us on top of the peak. That’s what we thought. We could see another mountain standing before us and a small hill on top of it. There was a white temple of Lord Parshuram on top of the hill which is supposed to be the highest point of Salher Fort.
Now reaching the top is little tricky and little risky. There is no specified path which would lead us to the top. So again, we followed the trail. We came across some ruins on the plateau which I guess was the place where the residents of the fort lived. Further we came across a lake, it is called Gangasagar Lake. There is a square shaped rock in the center of the lake. There also is a temple of Goddess Renuka beside the lake. We saw there were essence sticks lit up in the temple, which shows that residents still visit this temple to worship the Goddess.
We had covered about 270degree of the peak since we started the trek still the temple of Lord Parshuram looked far away. Again my eyes caught up at something. I saw some people climbing the hill leading to temple of Lord Parshuram far away.
We reached the spot and saw that path was full of small rocks which are very slippery. The worst part is there is nothing else to hold on to while climbing. We ascended the hill very carefully and finally reached the top.
Temple of Lord Parshuram and view from top:
The temple of Lord Parshuram is very small. There is a platform built in front of the temple where we sat for some time and looked around. The Salota fort stood right beside us holding a massive structure. We also saw the entrance which could lead us to Salota fort.
We were so tired that we ate our snacks, had water and took a nap of twenty minutes. It took us almost four hours to reach the top. Later we took pictures of the surroundings, although it not possible to capture scenes like this, we tried our best. Soon we started descending by the same path we came. We reached Salherwadi in three hours and drove back home.
Salher Fort is one of the must visit place to visit if you are a trek enthusiast. It is one of the best places to visit near Nashik and the trek will never disappoint you. It is a medium level trek, but I suggest you not to go alone or at least have an experienced trekker with you.
The trek can be done from two base villages: Salherwadi and Waghambe. If you want to trek only Salher Fort, you can start ascending from any village. On the other hand if you are planning to do both Salher Fort and Salota Fort trek, starting from Waghambe would be ideal option.
This trek can be done in any season, but I think monsoon and winter would be the ideal time to visit this highest fort in Maharashtra. The trek takes about seven hours to complete and is very tiring. Take lots of supplies like food and water because there are no shops on the route where you can buy these supplies.