About Sondai Fort
Sondai Fort, located in Maharashtra’s Karjat district, is one of many lesser-known attractions. This hillfort is part of the Matheran mountain range. Sondai, the name of a goddess called Sondai Devi, is how the name Sondai was derived. A temple dedicated to Sondai Devi can be found at the top of the fort. To reach the top, you can use steps made from rocks. To make it easier, the village has also provided two ladders.
One ladder reaches the top, while the other reaches the water cisterns at Fort. Apart from the water cisterns, there is no other fortification. The fort was built to serve as a watch tower, presumably for the protection of nearby villages. It stands at the base of two villages, Sondewadi & Wavarle. It is approximately 365m high. The fort offers a great view of Songiri and Rajmachi, Karnala forts, Prabalgad, Irshal, Prabalgad, and the Matheran mountain range, which are all very beautiful. This fort holds the monsoon rainwater and offers a breathtaking view of Vavarle Dam. A 360-degree view of the surrounding mountains will be possible from this fort.
It is located at 1200 feet elevation and is accessible by easy trekking. Sondewadi is the base village. Karjat is the nearest railway station. It takes approximately 1 hour to reach the top. The mild temperatures will make it a pleasant trek, so you should visit the area between June and January. The rocks can make the trail slippery and it becomes more difficult during monsoon.
Locals have many shops that sell water, snacks, fruits, and nimbu Paani, which are great for those who get tired. You can also camp on many different sites. If you are interested in doing this trip with a group, you can book a tour package. You can reach Sondai via two routes. The one from Sondewadi is the preferred route, while Wavarle is the second. The route through dense forest is the most popular and requires a slightly more challenging approach.
It is approximately 1.7km from the base camp to reach the top of the village. This trek would take the average person around 2-2.5 hours. The trek is easy and accessible to beginners, so you don’t need a local guide. This section explains the trail in three parts. The first part involves the gradual climb for 10-15 minutes from the parking spot to the top plateau. The second part involves traversing the forest to reach a point where two tricky rocky sections will need to be crossed. This is the third and final section of the trail. It has 2 staircases that lead to the summit and one to the water tanks.
You can also travel by road if you’re coming from Mumbai to Sondai. If you’re starting your journey from Pune you can take the Mumbai–Pune expressway to reach Khopoli. From there, you can head towards Talawani by the Khopoli–Karjat road.
Train: The easiest way to get to Sondai is by train. There are direct trains from Mumbai and Pune to Karjat. Sondewadi is the base village. To get there, you will need to take a Tumtum (a 7-seater ricksh) as there are not any direct buses. You can also take the ST bus but it is more fun to ride a tumtum if you have time. The distance between Sondai Fort and Karjat measures approximately 10 km.
The stunning sunsets are a highlight of the fort. If you’re visiting during the monsoon you should not miss the opportunity to take a dip at the Changewadi Waterfalls after your trek. You can find many local restaurants, and the Misal Pav is a must-try.
There are many other places nearby that you can visit after you have finished exploring the fort. The Irshalgal Fort is located at 3700 feet above sea level. There are also nearby attractions such as the Karnala Fort and the Morbe Dam. Another tourist attraction is the Rajmachi Fort, which is located near the Sondai Fort.