Tikona is one of the easier and quick to access forts in the Lonavala region. It has scenic and has sweeping views of the Pavana valley, the lake ahead and a few forts in the same region, prominently Tung.
How to reach and back: From Pune, take the morning 6.30 AM local from Pune station to Kamshet. You will reach there in about 80 minutes. From Kamshet station, take the road that goes straight to the market place. This is apparent by the jeeps and buses standing there. Hop on a jeep taking you to Pavana village. That is not all though. A new jeep will take you from Pavana to Tikona Peth, the base village.
While coming back, you can wait at the village bus stop for any bus that takes you to either Pavana or directly to Kamshet. Else, the jeeps are your best bet. Same route back to Kamshet station and there are trains every 45 min to Pune Station.
The alternative to jeeps is the state transport bus. Not too much information exists on their timings though and the locals may mislead you to ensure that the jeeps are in business.
By road, and you can make it there just as well road, the route takes you towards Mulshi/Tamhini from Chandni Chowk. You will first need to cross Pirangut (Ghat) and then reach Paud Village. Look for a right turn going towards Pavana dam in this village. There is a prominent sign marked as Tikona/Pavana at this turn. If you are on the right track, you should start seeing Pavana dam on your left. Here you will see a signboard for Tikona. You have to take a right towards Tikona Peth, the base village. the distance is approx 70 kms and should take you roughly 2 hrs to reach there.
The climb: Any kid in the village will direct you to the exact point where the climb to the fort starts. The route there from the main tar road meanders along houses, small fields, farm houses and grazing cows. You will most definitely see crabs scampering along and the buzz of insects will be in your ears.
Durg Savardhan has done laudable work on the fort in terms to adding safely ropes at steep points, cleaning, direction signboards at turns or diverging paths and placing a full time guard on top of the fort. You can donate something for this cause while on top.
Once you see the sign board, the route starts there. It is easy, gentle and singular, you will not get lost. Midway, you come to a pass, and the path diverges. To the right, the path goes to the fort top and to the left, it goes to a ridge. Feel free to explore the ridge before you go on to the fort. After this point the climb becomes a tad steeper, but not difficult. you encounter a huge Hanuman carving, a cave temple on you way to the top. At the temple, paths diverge again, but stick to the step like structure immediately in front. The final challenge is the steep staircase. Once you are over them, you are on top. The only higher point after this is the balekilla.
You will take not more than 50 min maximum to summit this fort.
Views from the top: The sharp peak immediately in from of Tikona, to its west, is Tung fort. Further away, if the light is good, you can see Korigad as well. Rest is all Pavana dam and its back waters, as well as the further shores of Mulshi lake.
Food and water: A lone hut serviced by a village woman stands near the cave temple. Other than that, you have to carry your own sustenance. Water though is plentiful and available nearer to the top at 3 different cisterns. Its cool and refreshing.
Difficulty Grade: 2/5
[gallery link="file" orderby="title"]