The first fort won by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is Torna. This is the only recognition of Torna fort in the history of Maharashtra. Shivachhatrapati captured this fort first time to form the nucleus of Maratha Empire in India. The year was 1643. Shivaji gave the name Prachandgad to this fort. It implies that it is a 'huge fort'. As, the name is given my Shivaji himself, we can imagine how huge this fort could be!
We have visited many forts of Maratha empire, but for the first time we saw such a difficult and huge fort. This fort is known to be the highest fort in the Pune district with more than four thousands of feet in height. At the age of 16, Shivaji won this fort and found many cannes of gold, which was used to prepare the fort for further operations.
Torna is nearly 42 kilometers far from Pune city. We went to Sinhgad road first, which is about 22 kilometers from Pune. Sinhgad is looking like a hot picnic spot nowadays! Torna is 22 kilometers from right of the Sinhgad. We have to go by Khanapur city. Torna fort is situated in Velhe taluka of Pune district. The road from Sinhgad to Torna is really adventurous and goes through valleys. It has taken more time to reach Torna than expected. We went in the rainy season and obviously worried about the same. After reaching the Pabe village on the way there are two turns: left one is for Rajgad and right one for Torna fort. These are 3 and 5 kilometers from this turn respectively. At the entrance of the Velhe, we saw a huge statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji. We needed to park the vehicle at the base of the fort itself. From the base, fort is nearly four-five kilometers ahead. In the monsoon, the atmosphere becomes very pleasant to see. It is required to cross two mountains to reach the main fort. When we started climbing the mountain, we did not knowing where to reach at the end? But, the road forced us to keep climbing. The peak of the fort was seen from any point of the whole mountain, which was attracting us to reach there. At the base, we saw a statement given by James Douglas: ‘If Sinhgad is cave of Lion then Torna is eagle’s nest’. This statement thoroughly described how Torna is! After reaching to the peak of First Mountain, we saw the view of Panshet dam. The valley outlook gave the birth to this awesome atmosphere. Due to the clouds over the bastion of the fort, the fortification was not seen from any point of the mountain. When we started climbing actual fort, it was a thrilling experience. We experienced the real fight with this Prachandgad. At one point, the force of wind was tremendous and on the both the side deep valleys were there. Generally, wind point on the mountains is situated on the top, but here it was not at the top! Rainy season made trekking of this fort most adventurous.
|Final Mountain to the Torna|
At one point, I had thought of returning to the base of the fort without climbing! Wind and rain had made this trek most thrilling for me ever. There were no railings till last 10 meters of the bastion of the fort. When we reached in the ‘cloud’, it was totally dim atmosphere everywhere. The base and village Velhe was vanished in the fog! At the top, monkeys were sat to give us a warm welcome for the entering amazing Torna fort. It was our bad luck(?) that it was not possible to visit every spot on the fort due to dark fog on the top. But, we satisfied that we completed the climbing of highest peak in our district. It is made only possible for us to visit Mengai devi and Toranjai temple on the fort. It took two hours to climb the fort. I still think, in this very less time, how did we manage to go there?