One of the lesser known trekking routes on the Gujarat-Maharashtra border, a trip to Hatgad Fort is a must, especially if you are visiting the hill station of Saputara in Gujarat. Situated at a distance of about 5km from Saputara, Hatgad Fort was built in the 16th-century by the Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji on top of the highest plateau in the region. It was primarily used as a watch tower by the forces of Shivaji, owing to its location. One can trek uphill to find the remains of the fort that once boasted of Maratha pride and glory.
The plateau which houses the ruins of the Hatgad Fort is easily accessible by road. From the base it takes about 30 minutes to reach the narrow, uneven flight of 200 stairs that leads up to the fort. It’s not a very difficult trek and can be completed by families travelling with kids. However, the steps can be a bit slippery, especially during the rainy season, so exercising caution is recommended.
On reaching the top, one can find a water reservoir that stores stagnant water and remnants of the fort. There are some small cisterns, ramparts and a tower which was used to store grains. Since it’s supposed to be the highest point in the region, the view from the top is supremely spectacular. During the monsoons especially, you will find yourself amidst the clouds with a breathtaking view of the valley on all sides.
The total duration of the trek uphill and then back to the base is about two to three hours. The best time to go for the trek is before 4 am so that you can catch the changing hues of the sky at sunrise. In case you miss the early morning trek, you can always aim to be there by dusk to witness the sun going down in all its glory.