Rajmachi trek via Udhewadi/Fanasrai is a easy difficulty grade trek in the Sahyadri – Lonavala region of Maharashtra, India. The highest point of the trek at 2999 ft (914 m).
Visit this trek for its beautiful sunset, fireflies during early June, ultimate experience of rural lifestyle, and the beautiful waterfalls along the way.
- Want to go for an easy and pleasant trek
- Love waterfalls
- Want to watch fireflies
- Love sunsets
- Wish to experience village lifestyle
Rajmachi Fort Trek is a combination of hiking 2 forts, namely, Manaranjan and Shreevardhan which are twin forts. These forts are easy to climb with minimum exposure at all points. The difficulty of the trek depends on where you start this trek from. The route from Lonavala is fairly simple and involves long, flat, patches to walk. The Karjat route, on the other hand, is shorter in distance but involves a lot of incline climbing and is really difficult to navigate through.
The base village for Rajmachi trek is Udhewadi village. This village is 16 kms from Lonavala railway station and it is possible to drive all the way up to this village. Since the second half of the route is a dirt road, it becomes really challenging (and sometimes impossible) to reach to this village in a vehicle. You should plan your stay (whether in tents or in local homestays) and meals at Udhewadi - The village has vast, beautiful plateaus overlooking layers upon layers of mountains. The locals are loving and the food is delicious. Do not miss the “Matki chi Bhaji” at Maruti Vare’s residence.
How to reach Udhewadi village with Local transport via Lonavala?
The best way to reach Udhewadi village via Lonavala from Mumbai or Pune is by travelling to Lonavala railway station in an Express train (if travelling from Mumbai) or a local train (if travelling from Pune) and hiring a Jeep from there. Try to get your reservations done as soon as possible if you’re traveling from Mumbai. Although the journey is just for 3 hours, the general compartments of all Mumbai-Lonavala-Pune train are usually crowded.
From Lonavala station, you need to catch a jeep to travel till Udhewadi. Please note that not all vehicles can go all the way up to the village and it’s always best (and cheaper) to pre-book your transport for Rajmachi. For the cost of 1200-1800 INR, you can book a 10-seater car that will drop you all the way up to the village. In monsoons, these vehicles can cover only the first half of the journey since the remaining road in filled with mud. You would need to walk another 8-10 kms (depending on how far the vehicle is able to go) to reach Udhewadi village.
The entire route is filled with breathtaking views of mountains and valleys. On top of this, if you plan to take this walk between late September to October, the fields are filled with Sonki (Senecio bombayensis) flowers giving the entire route a bright yellow colour.
How to reach Udhewadi village with Private transport via Lonavala?
Once you reach Lonavala, there are 2 ways to reach Udhewadi village. First way is the default route that is shown in Google Maps which is via Della Adventure Park. For the second route, you will specifically need to put “Upper Deck Resort” as an additional point in your route in Google Maps.
Although both the routes are in a bad condition and it’s more or less a dirt road after the first leg of the ride, the first route is better. It is shorter and there’s a concrete road till Della Adventure Park which keeps expanding on every visit.
This road is difficult to manoeuvre through, especially during monsoons. Try going all the till Udhewadi only if you have a 4x4 Car or a powerful Bike. In monsoons, it’s best to park your vehicles in Fanasrai and walk from there. Always talk to a local regarding the condition of the road before starting the journey. (Find this in the local contacts section)
There are water sources on both the forts but none of them have potable water. You can get your bottles refilled at Udhewadi and carry at least 2 litres water when you climb Manaranjan and Shreevardhan.
Traditional maharashtrian food, packed food, maggi, etc. can be found in Udhewadi village at multiple stalls at slightly higher prices than the MRP. The locals in Udhewadi can arrange a delicious home-cooked meal (approximately 130 to 180 INR for unlimited food) at your request.
There is one stall at the base of Shreevardhan fort selling Lemonade (Nimbu Pani), bottled water, maggi, etc.
Camping on the forts is possible but since there are no water sources on the top, it’s best to camp at Udhewadi which has huge meadows surrounded by a dense forest. You can rent the tents from the locals if you haven’t carried your own tents.
Alternately, you can choose to stay in a homestay at Udhewadi. This is the best option if you’re going during the monsoons. Surprisingly, the cost of staying in a homestay is much cheaper than renting tents at Rajmachi. If you go there during off-season, the locals might not even charge you for the stay until you’re buying all your meals from them. (Or they might charge as little as 50-100 INR per person). Please note that you won’t be getting any personal rooms here. These are the cute little homes with huge verandas where locals stay themselves. During the peak season, you might have to share this house with 20-30 other trekkers and sleep in the verandas - this feels really fun and beautiful if you ask me (until someone starts snoring during the night).
During peak season, it’s usually difficult to find a place to stay in Rajmachi. Thus, make sure you talk to the locals well in advance and make a booking.
Transport from Lonavala to Udhewadi (Sumo):
Sangam Vare: +91 9762266987 / +91 9765816294
Guide at Udhewadi Village
Subhash Maruti Vare: +91 9158413493
Food and Refreshments at Udhewadi Village
Maruti Vare: +91 7798661850
Homestay at Udhewadi village
Maruti Vare: +91 7798661850
Late May to Early June: (Fireflies Festival)
Udhewadi is popular for the sightings of fireflies towards the end of summer. Thousands of fireflies gather on the trees and emit light to attract their mates. The humid climate facilitates their growth and thus they thrive in this small window of a few weeks.
Hundreds of people gather here to witness the magical experience. If you are planning to visit Rajmachi in this window, be prepared to witness a lot of crowd. Additionally, ensure that you do not cause any disturbance to their mating process.
Blazing speakers at full-blast, car horns, loud noises, pointing torches towards the trees where fireflies are present, damaging the grasses around the mating area can all be destructive for the fireflies and might cause a fall in their population.
Be a responsible trekker and explorer and respect the nature. Observe the magic in silence, refuse to stay in campsites that are within 500m of the mating area, opt for homestays, and avoid causing any kind of disturbance. Your efforts will ensure that your future generations get to witness this magic as well.
June to January:
Rajmachi is a pleasant place to visit pretty much throughout the year. The monsoon for the waterfalls, greenery, and magical clouds; the winter for the chilly climate (which you do not get in Mumbai) and fun camping; and the summer for its beautiful sunsets. Hiking up the forts might not be as pleasant in summer due to the scorching heat. Thus, you can avoid going to Rajmachi in between late February and early May.
Bhairav temple and the lake besides the temple - a beautiful forest walk leads you to this behind Udhewadi village. During Shraavana, the fifth month of the Hindu calendar, people from all nearby villages come to this temple to get blessings from Lord Shiva. Similarly, there’s a huge gathering of people during the Mahashivratri Festival.
The Schedule for the trek can be as follows:
08:00 AM - Reach Lonavala (Indrayani Express 0540 HRS from CST)
08:30 AM - Leave for Fanasrai in Jeeps
09:30 AM - Start the hike towards Rajmachi
12:00 PM - Reach Rajmachi, rest and have lunch
04:00 PM - Start trek towards Shrivardhan Fort - watch sunset from there
06:30 PM - Back to Rajmachi, have a hot cup of tea, and Poha.
09:00 PM - Dinner followed by a visit to a nearby meadow
05:30 AM - Wake up and freshen up
06:00 AM - Start the trek to Manoranjan fort
08:00 AM - Back to Rajmachi, breakfast and tea.
09:00 AM - Start the journey towards Fanasrai
11:30 AM - Reach Fanasrai, move towards Lonavala
- 3 Liters of water (compulsory)
- Torch with extra batteries (Do not rely on your phone’s torch) - preferably buy a headlamp
- Sun hat or cap
- Blankets and sheets (if you plan to camp or if it’s a night trek)
- Warm clothes during winters (Temperature could drop below 10° Celsius)
- Sports shoes or trekking shoes (strictly no sandals or chappals)
- Comfortable t-shirt (preferably dry-fit and full sleeves)
- Comfortable trousers (no jeans or shorts)
- Extra pair of clothes and a hoodie (weather gets chilly before sunrise)
- Electrolyte powder (such as Electral, Enerzal, etc.)
- Light snacks to munch on during breaks
- Fresh fruits / Dried fruits such as dates, figs / Nuts mix, etc for eating along on the trail
- A small day pack to carry all the above (Kindly avoid handbag/sling bag)
- Personal medications, if any
- Optional items: sun goggles, wet tissues, hand sanitizer, cameras, etc.