How to get to there?
Brief history of Salher fort
Salher fort is a hill fort located in Satana(Baglan) taluka, Nashik district near the north western border with Gujarat in Maharashtra. Standing at a height of 1567m (5,141 ft) Salher fort has a great historic significance and is mostly visited by trekking enthusiast and historians. It is the highest fort of Maharashtra and second highest peak in Maharashtra after Kalsubai.
How to get there?
Nearest Railway station:
It is one of the remotest fort; about 70km from nearest railway station which is Navapur(The railway station is literally on the border of Maharashtra and Gujarat. One half of it is in Maharashtra and the other half is in Gujarat) which itself is remote from major cities. So the nearest railway station from Major cities remain Manmad which is 100km from Salher fort.
The nearest airport is Gandhinagar airport which is about 122km from Salher.
Best and the safest mode to get there:
Since the place is very remote I would highly recommend getting your own vehicle or renting a vehicle to get there to be on safer side. The base village is Waghambe. If you are visiting from north Mumbai or from Vasai-Virar region best road to take is Gujarat- Ahmedabad highway through NH48 into Gujarat and moving towards east into NH360 through Chikhli-Hanumanbari-Vansda national park. Although the distance is little higher than Nashik route, it is the safest, traffic-less, most scenic and route with best roads. You will reach earlier even though the distance is higher compared to Nashik route. Even the google maps recommends this route.[The route from North Mumbai] If you will go through this route you will be able to witness the Vansda forest and rivers along the road. You will go through beautiful villages and array of hills and mountains left and right will make your journey more awesome. And one important thing is that if you are thinking of spending the night in a lodge before next days trek then there is only one option which is Hanumanbari Circle (where I spent the night) [Hanumanbari circle to Salher fort is 96km] Waghambe is the base village. From waghambe, there is an obscure trail which locals might help you find. Once you get the trail, rest is easy. Watch the video to get the idea.
Brief history of Salher fort
Salher fort was initially under Mughals. In 1671, Shivaji Maharaj captured the fort during his campaign in Baglan region. In 1672, Mughals attacked the fort in an epic battle of Salher in which Shivaji Maharaj’s outnumbered Maratha soldiers won against Mughals. Of all the face to face battles between the Mughals and Shivaji’s troops, the battle of Salher takes first place. The bravery and strategy used by the Maratha troops in the battle spread far and wide and increased Shivaji’s fame much higher. [Ref: wikipedia]
It was Diwali and I was preparing for the special trek of the year. The day was nearing and I was ready for the longest ride I have ever done. It was about 300km to north of Nashik, the land of mountains. The historic Salher fort filled me with suspense and eager. The eagerness to get there made my ride even awesome. The plan was to get near the base, Waghambe by night but after the sunset I reached around Hanumanbari in Gujarat where I checked with a hotel and asked if there were any lodges further on the road. They said that there were no lodges or hotels further. I didn’t want to take risks as the maps indicated no lodges near Waghambe which is a remote village so I decided to spend the night at Hanumanbari circle in a lodge which costed me Rs. 400. I had a good night sleep and I woke up at 4:30am and left the lodge at 5am. It was a cool morning and I enjoyed the ride as the road was empty and all mine. The road was great and I thoroughly enjoyed the scenic beauty around me. The route passes through Don hill station which is a great location for picnic and peaceful vacation. I was enjoying the cool breeze on the ride and suddenly I saw the massive mountain of Salher from the north. It looked humongous from where I was. Only a mountain lover will be able to comprehend the feeling looking at the large mountain. I immediately stopped and took the picture of the mountain. It was so beautiful that its image will never be washed away from my memory.
I was actually close to the mountain but due to hills in between I had to take a long U-turn to get to the base of Salher. Finally I knew I was close when I saw Salote and Salher right in front of me. Wow! What I beauty, I said to myself. Now I had to find the base. The Google maps made it easier for me. I just had to confirm from the locals. I asked a kind gentlemen and he confirmed it. I asked him about a safe place for parking and he welcome me into his abode to park in front of the veranda of his house. I felt very lucky as everything was going good. I thanked him and he asked me the common question that everyone asks that if I was going alone and I replied yes. He asked me whether I knew the way and I replied no but I will find out through maps. He told me to just follow the trail and move up the hill instead going side ways. That advice was helpful it later turned out. I thanked him again and left for the trek. I followed the trail and just after less than half a kilometer I could see the 2 imposing mountains. I hiked up the hill to reach the col taking pictures in between.
Once you reach the Col you will above to witness Salherwadi in South. Taking right, making way up you will come across a ‘cool-down tree’, which is what I like to call it as when I sat inside it I felt like I entered a refrigerator. The morning cold air was trapped inside that tree which removed all the heat from my body. I sat there for 5 minutes to regain my energy as the outside temperature was warming up and I needed to refresh. Leaving the tree I came across few people who came from Gujarat returning from the trek. They stayed overnight at the fort.
After them there were nobody on the fort. I enjoy the peace of human-less treks. Three to four treks this year has been human-less. After few minutes of hike there is the start of rock-cut stairs and gate.
Moving further I reached a cliche photography point of Salher fort where the view of Salota fort was awe-inspiring.
Obviously how could I not take pictures of myself with this awesome background.
There is another gate after the stair climb which will take you to an array of caves.
The beautiful caves and unique cistern of Salher fort are some awesome rock carved structures. Yes, night stay in one of the caves is possible giving an excellent view of the Waghambe region and the beautiful wave of hills and mountains. Walking on, there was another gate which took me to the plateau. I guessed it to be the main part of the fort as there was large cistern. The view was fabulous. The water in the large cistern wasn’t potable since water remained idle for long time. The water definitely had to be boiled for drinking.
Cisterns of Salher fort
Now only the final stage was to be climbed before the summit. The exquisite view was helping me get to the top as fast I could after a grueling climb.
Final climb of Salher
After climbing to the top I experienced cool wind blowing over my sweaty face. The pristine air just refreshed my whole body re-energizing me. The Parshuram temple is on the top. I rested on the wall facing the north enjoying the awesome view and feeling the cool wind. I cannot put to words the joy of watching such an awesome view. Only a mountain lover will be able to comprehend. I rested there for a while before fast-tracking the return.