Korigad is one of the easiest for to climb in the Lonavala region. It is popularly clubbed with Ghanagad, another fort to the south. A marathon trek weekend can include visits to Korigad, Ghangad, Tel Bailya, Sudhagad and Sarasgad – all in 2 days. The fort affords a great view of the Aamby valley set up. I’ve seen many a planes take off from the runway inside that facility. You can also club this trek with a half a days’ visit to the adventure centre in Aamby valley –19 Degree latitude. Pre booking is apparently required.
How to reach and back:
While using a public transport from Pune, you can take the local or ST bus to Lonavala and further an ST bus that takes you to Aamby valley and beyond. From Lonavala you need to be on the bus that goes to Bhamburde, Ambavne, or Salter. You will need to alight before the turn for Aamby valley at a place called Peth Shahapur, a small village at the foothills of the fort. Bhamburde is the base village for Ghanagad and some distance further is the Tel Bailya village. Ambavane is at the foothills of Korigad to its east but the way to climb is from the west, via Peth Shahpur, just so that you know. There are not too many jeeps that ply this route so I would rule out that option.
Or you can drive there in a private car. Once in Lonavala, turn left at the Kumar Water Park and that is the road you need to follow. There are sign boards for Aamby valley all along. On the way to Peth Shahapur, you’ll pass Bushi Dam, the Airforce base station, and Tiger valley view point. The village is hard to miss as the fort looms large in the background. Korigad is characterized not by height, but by its expanse – the top is a huge wide plateau. The roads are in excellent condition for the VIPs who visit Aamby valley. Once the road leaves the Aamby valley area though, it is fairly pothole ridden. Obviously, no VIP movement beyond Aamby.
If you are going by private transport, you can park your cars in front of the temple in the village. They are safe there and I have not encountered any damage in all my visits to Peth Shahapur. The public transport vehicle will drop you on the main road, just a couple of minutes walk from the village. Follow the road inside and ask the villagers for directions to the point where the climb to the fort begins.
The actual climb for the fort begins some distance from the village. There is small thicket you’ll need to cross and gain some height before you spot it. A lot of flower bearing shrubs and bamboo groves are also along the way, which make it a pleasant walk. There is rusty sign board at the start point and most of the way up is via a stone staircase with occasional rocky patches. The villagers will direct you to the exact point where the climb to the fort starts.
Almost half way enroute, you’ll arrive at a nice resting spot. There is huge tree with a foundation around it and bang opposite that is a rock cut cave. There are three or four sections there and a couple of them used to have water, but not anymore. So remember to carry plenty of water with you. There is a single route up the fort and you will not go off track anywhere. The steep steps start after this cave and it’s a mere 20 min climb to the fort from there.
You will take not more than 40 minutes maximum to summit this fort.
On the top:
As soon as you climb from the main door you’ll notice that the whole fort is a big plateau. The only standing modern constructions are 2 temples. One is too small to accommodate a group and the other has its roof blown away. There are no trees to speak of on the top plateau so shade is hard to come by. The ramparts of the fort are in a fairly good condition and it is possible to walk along those to cover the entire periphery of the fort and enjoy views from all directions. To the east is the view of Aamby valley, its structures and the runway I mentioned earlier. Much further in the same direction you can see Tung and Tikona on a good day. Right at the eastern base of the fort is Ambavane village, full of fields and pretty meadows. To the south, if you know the terrain well, you will see Ghanagad, Sudhagad and Sarasgad. However, I have yet to see Tailbailya from Korigad. The walk all around the fort will take you a good hour or more depending on how much stops you take to enjoy the views.
One of the highlights of Korigad is the presence of 3 evergreen water bodies. Though swimming or drinking from these is not advised, they make a wonderful sight amidst the dry rocky soil around. There are a lot of birds visiting these ponds, so just sitting around watching is a great way to spend time.
Food and water:
The base village has no canteen/shop to speak off and I have not seen a tea stall either. Carrying your food and water or packing some from Lonavala will be your best bet. There are a few restaurants along the way and you can always troop back to Tiger Valley point to eat at the stalls there.
Difficulty Grade: 1/5