Indrai Fort Trek Maharashtra India

Indrai fort


Maps and technical information
My experience

Indrai fort is located in the Chandwad Taluka in Nashik District in Maharashtra, India. It is an ancient fort and the history of the fort is little known. The base village is Rajdher wadi and Indrai wadi. The forts nearby are Rajdher, Koldher and Chandwad. It's a great place for trekking enthusiast since you have an array of hills to climb at this location.

Indrai fort Chandwad
Chandwad Indrai fort

Chandwad is the nearest town at about 10 km from the base where you can find lodges for stay or you can also do camping at the location as it has many awesome caves. It is a great spot for camping as well. It has 2 large cisterns on the top and few small ones. The view from the summit is simply awe-striking with waves of hills and the shawl of clouds around it. It's a heaven for nature photographers and filmmakers. The top of Indrai fort has a large cattle population as the shepherds leave them there for grazing in the morning and the herd goes back to the base in the evening.

Maps and technical information:

Altitude above sea level :  4458ft [1359m]
Approx. height from the base  : 550m
Trek difficulty : Easy
Approx. dist from base to summit : 3km

Lodge to the base
Base to the summit
Approximate total distance
My experience: 
                                    So this was the first time I was going to go for a long ride. The month of August and the rain had calmed down for a while so I seized the opportunity to trek to this awesome place which I found out on google maps and images. It was well planned but wasn't executed perfectly from the schedule point of view. The plan was to climb two forts. I took leave from work on Thursday and Friday was holiday anyway; so I had 2 days. So the plan was to reach there before noon on day 1 and complete one trek which was Indrai fort and then do the Rajdher fort  on day 2 early morning. I was researching the place on google and maps after I came from work on Wednesday. The research went on till the late night up to 1AM. I had to wake up at 4 AM to leave home at 5 AM according to plan so that I reach Chandwad on time. It was 01:30 AM and for me its too late to wake up early so I decided to not sleep. Because, for me, sleeping late and waking up early would mean headache. So I didn't sleep instead. And planned to sleep at the lodge in Chandwad. I was overestimating the speed of the scooter in which I had to ride 250 km. I passed time watching movie and I left home on time. On the highway I stopped for petrol. It was there I encountered a strange hitchhiker. He asked me if I was heading north. I replied yes and asked him where he wanted to go. He strangely replied where ever the road takes. I didn't like the reply so I asked him again where his destination was. Because if somebody doesn't have a destination how can you trust that person. He replied till where ever you go towards north. Again I didn't like that reply and my suspicion grew but since I already told him that I was heading north I told him I can leave you till Manor. Manor was the point where I was going to have a coffee and head towards east. 
[Never lift a hitchhiker if he doesn't reply the destination in first attempt]
I gave him a lift anyway because he looked some what genuine and I didn't want to regret by saying no to the person to whom I initially said yes. But I was very cautious and stayed suspicious. It was getting uncomfortable as the large backpack was putting pressure on my back because of the hitchhiker and I wanted to alight him as soon as possible. After 30 km I dropped him at manor near the Taj Inn where I had my coffee. {Recommendation: Taj Inn hotel in Manor; Lunch; Kaju Pulav} Coffee was supposed to help my sleeplessness but it didn't. The road was clear in the morning. I was horrified for a moment while on the long straight road when my eyes dropped for a second. I stopped by the side of the road and decided that after every 30 km I will stop and have a power nap for at least 2 mins. I followed this routine till I reached Chandwad. It helped. [It is very important to keep yourself as well of others safe while on the highway. Never ride with a dozy brain]

Actually my route plan was flop as I expected the road through Wada to be good which was why I avoided the the road through Vajreshwari even though it being shorter route. I learned a lesson; always head Nashik through Vajreshwari route. 

National Highway towards Nashik

                              I made it through the jungle and obscure location impatiently to make it to the national highway towards Nashik. I was relieved. It was now just long road towards Nashik. The time was passing and I always ride in economy. But on scooter it was difficult to get to the speed of 60kmph in economy. I was already thinking of rescheduling the trek as I was about to reach Nashik and it was still a long way to Chandwad. My assumption of reaching Chandwad before noon was wrong after all. I was just 15km to Chandwad and I thought of rescheduling. There was no other option as I was also very tired. So the plan was to scout the place on that day and try to complete both the trek in the day 2. I reached Chandwad at 2 pm and got a cheap lodge. Thank God they allowed a single man. The cost was Rs.500. I refreshed myself and left to have lunch outside. 

Lunch at Chandwad

                        The place was so different from my place. Low humidity, plain lands with hills bulging, windy and pristine air refreshing your soul. Any guy coming from polluted cities would get sick breathing this unfamiliar air. I was excited to trek here. I had lunch and headed towards lodge for a much needed sleep. The plan was to scout the location in the evening after a sound siesta. The location was just 9 km from the lodge. After a good sleep I left in the evening for the scout. The landscape was stunning. The Chandwad range was imposing and the view was breathtaking. The scouting was successful as I found the exact starting point of both the treks.

Indrai Fort base
Indrai fort base
Rajdher fort base
Rajdher fort base
Rajdher fort
Rajdher Fort

 I returned to the lodge, rested till the dinner, had dinner from the highway and slept early to wake up early for next day's trek. Woke up at 5am and the reached the base and 6:30am where the kind people living near the base in a hut gave me the space to park my scooter.

It was a pleasant morning and I was very optimistic about the weather. Initial section was a bit steep and rest of it was easy hike.

Indrai fort first section
Indrai fort initail steep section

                       I found the most coolest cave before entering the rock-cut stairs. What made the cave so cool was that it was dry unlike other caves. You can spend the night here without any worry. The rock-cut stairs is something amazing. I can only imagine how much time and effort would have been endured to complete this great work.

Caves at Indrai fort
Cave at Indrai fort
Caves at Indrai fort
View from inside the cave

  Carving a stairs out of a large rock wall to make it easy to reach the top otherwise almost impossible for non-climbers.  Then came the rock-cut stairs and it also had entrance cave which I think it was meant for the fort guards/watchmen. 

Rock-cut stairs
The side view of the rockcut stairs looks like the side face of moustache man
Rock-cut stairs at Indrai fort
Rock-cut stairs
Indrai fort Rock-cut stairs
Indrai fort Rock-cut stairs
Indrai fort Rock-cut stairs
Indrai fort Rock-cut stairs

I was loving it. It was already gonna be the trek of the year. After you make through the stairs, it's easy hike towards the summit. History of the place is little known and the fort is in dilapidated state. Hardly any fortification is left. 

Indrai fort
Ruins or the fortification

Before the summit you will come across the large cistern and a cave temple of Lord Shiva with another cistern.

Cistern at Indrai Fort
Largest Cistern at Indrai fort
Cistern at Indrai Fort

Indrai fort Mahadev temple
Indrai fort Mahadev temple

  You have to climb a little again to get to the summit where you will get the complete view of where you came from. You can also view the rock-cut stairs very clearly. The plain land on one side and the wave of hills on the other side. The imposing Rajdher, Chandwad and Koldher fort is easily visible. 

Rajdher fort from Indrai fort
Rajdher fort in the North-West

Since it was foggy I couldn't get the view of the whole array of mountains on the Ajanta-satmala range. I had to explore more but I had little time. Trekking and filming simultaneous is not easy. It takes a lot of effort and time. It was an easy trek. You can complete the trek in under 1hour. But photography and filming of this place takes longer time because of so much of content for creators. 

Indrai fort summit
View of the plains from the Summit of Indrai

                    The time was 12:30PM and it was time to return. Obviously trekking Rajdher was now not possible. If I could have completed trekking and filming by 10AM I could have attempted Rajdher fort as I had to reach home before night to be on safer side since the road near Vajreshwari are dangerous in night time especially for scooters. I wished I had one more day. Now I know, so I will be better prepared for next trek with long travel time. I returned home happily with a souvenir; a shark tooth shaped marble which I found near the Indrai summit. 

                Not completing Rajdher trek wasn't that big of a regret compared to the main caves of Indrai that I missed which I suppose was located near the Shiva temple; a couple of minute down towards the south east.

               This time while returning I took the Vajreshwari route as it was shorter route compared to other 2 routes although there is rough patch near Vajreshwari. On the long ride back home I stopped at 2 location for lunch and tea. The heavy rain also followed. The time was passing and the sun was about to set when I reached near the Kasara junction where the highway transitioned into the narrow rough road. After around 15 to 20km I reached Vajreshwari but the sun already descended in the west and I had to ride through the rough roads of Vajreshwari. I was initially careful on the potholed road but then for a moment I lost some patience and paced up a little, not too much but around 30-40kmph and on a turn I moved towards a deep pothhole; I knew I couldn't break and I knew the inevitable was gonna happen. I was airbourne, the scooter ahead of me. All I remember was that my upper lip hit the pavement and then I slided on the rough pavement giving me minor wounds on all the limbs; which was surprising. Thank God major accident was averted. I had the first aid kit and also the certificate of first aider which I just got a few months back. Now was the time to apply that knowledge on myself. I first had to find the right place in the night in the rural village where the street lights are rare to administer the first aid. I found the place; the light wasn't enough. So I had to you the mobile light to first aid myself. Somehow I did it and when I reached Virar I decided to go to the hospital as I had a doubt about the moustache area wound. Turned out, it needed stitches. Got 3 stitches because of the complicated way in which it was cut.   

More pictures

Indrai fort
Indrai fort
Indrai fort
Indrai fort
Indrai fort
Persian Inscriptions
Indrai fort


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