Easy up to Siddhagad Machi of the fort (Monsoon trek)
Slightly tough from there to Balekilla (August to February)
Duration of the trek
1 day (2 days if up to Balekilla)
When to visit
Nearest City / Location
Murbad (मुरबाड), Kalyan (कल्याण)
Dense green forests on Siddhagad (Note that This snap is taken in “Summer”)
Siddhagad fort is a good monsoon trek for those staying near Mumbai. Though not so famous like Naneghat or Malshej Ghat, Siddhagad also stands a good picnic spot for a rainy day in monsoon.
Description of the trek – Trek to the fort is in two obvious parts. At 50% of height lies a huge forest covered plateau called as Siddhagad Machi (सिद्धगड माची). From Siddhagad Machi start the trek to Balekilla (बालेकिल्ला) or citadel of Siddhagad. Trek to Siddhagad Machi is easy while trek to Balekilla from there is slightly tough.
Village Siddhagadwadi (सिद्धगडवाडी) on the fort – During Shivaji’s time all major forts had villages on their top, which used to make the fort independent for a fight. But after British rulers could finish Peshwa rule, those entire villages got shifted to the base of the forts. Siddhagad is a fort where the village Siddhagadwadi (सिद्धगडवाडी) still exists on the fort (on the Siddhagad Machi plateau.)
Trek up to Siddhagad Machi is quite easy and passes through dense green forests continued from Bhimashankar forest sanctuary (भीमाशंकर अभयारण्य). The route is clearly marked till Siddhagadwadi village on the fort. On the route lie various streams, waterfalls and also a river that originates on Siddhagad.
On the way to Dhaparpada (ढापरपाडा) from Narivli (नारिवली)
Siddhagad is very convenient to reach. Reach Kalyan ST stand first
Get an ST bus to Murbad (45 minutes). Frequency is quite high from Kalyan – almost every 10 minutes.
Get a bus to Narivli from Murbad ST stand (30 minutes). Frequency is almost every two hours.
Narivli is the base of Siddhagad. From here you will easily spot four major peaks from left to right – Machhindragad, Gorakhgad, Dhamdhamia Dongar and Siddhagad.
A quite wide marked bullock cart way will now take you to the village Dhaparpada (ढापरपाडा). Between comes a small river. You will feel li8ke you are going towards Gorakhgad but you are on correct way.
From Dhaparpada, now take right turn towards the Khind (V shape) between Dhamdhamia Dongar and Siddhagad. (धमधमीचा डोंगर आणि सिद्धगड) The way is quite broad but not as broad as earlier.
People keep on going from Siddhagadwadi to Narivli and you may meet some huts and cottages also on the way. Keep on asking whether you are on right path.
There is no steepness to the route. It is like a forest picnic till you reach entrance door of the Siddhagad fort on Siddhagad Machi. Walk on the plateau and soon you will find the village Siddhagadwadi – Here you can stay for night. Water is also available in wells.
From the village you can spot a cave at the middle height of Balekilla. A monk lives in this cave. You can visit the cave in 20-25 minutes of climb.
From village, Balekilla looks like a huge fort ahead. Some consider that Siddhagad is one of highest fort to climb from the base. Preferably take a guide to Balekilla.
पार्श्वभागी धमधमीचा डोंगर आणि सिद्धगड (Dhamdhamicha Dongar and Siddhagad on background) (The route climbs between the two)
Dense forest on the way to Siddhagad (Note that This snap is taken in “Summer”)
History of the fort
Not much events have known to happen on Siddhagad in Shivaji or pre-Shivaji period. But considering the age of caves on Gorakhgad and Siddhagad, it is obviously 1000 years old fort.
Siddhagad is the only fort in Maharashtra who has contributed in the independence war against British rule (1857-1947). The fort was captured and fought by somefreedom fighters against British rulers. The freedom fighters made this fort as their central location for the fight. Though they did not succeed for long enough to fight from the fort, this once again proved the importance of the forts in Sahyadri.
There is a memorial of those freedom fighters on the other route to Siddhagad, climbing from opposite side of Narivli.
Path to Siddhagad – Path to Siddhagad Machi passes through dense green forests continued from Bhimashankar forest sanctuary. The forest is green even in summer. You will find numerous trees of mango and karvanda fruits. They are a treat if you visit here in April-May. Some mango trees are even 100 years old with unusually huge trunks. On the route lie various streams, waterfalls and also a river that originates on Siddhagad and Dhamdhamia Dongar.
Entrance door – entrance door not much huge and is the only part of the fortification prominently remaining. This is the milestone depicting your entrance on the fort.
Plateau in front of entrance door – don’t just go inside and search the village. First go to the plateau in front of the entrance door. This small plain treeless plateau lies outside Siddhagad fortification. It is between Dhamdhamicha Dongar and Siddhagad. From here you can watch the dense forest on the fort and path. From here you can see numerous waterfalls and streams flowing around. You can measure hugeness of Dhamdhamicha Dongar and Balekilla. There is also small temple on this plateau.
Siddhagadwadi (सिद्धगडवाडी) village and Devi Temple on Machi – On the way to village, just after entrance door is a small ancient Devi temple, whose renovation is in progress. The village is not just a pada or wadi but a proper village with its population in hundreds. There is electricity and even televisions in some houses. Water is available in wells. There is also some farmland on the Machi.
साधुची गुहा (Saadhuchi Guha or Cave of the monk) – The cave is at about middle height of Balekilla. Great view of Gorakhgad from here
बालेकिल्ला (Balekilla or Citadel) – The highest peak of Siddhagad and huge pyramidal shaped structure generated by volcano. You can watch Gorakhgad, Machhindragad, Dhamdhamia Dongar, Bhimashankar, Malanggad and many other forts around. View of Siddhagad-wadi village on the Machi is also fascinating.
धमधमीया वा धमधमीचा डोंगर (Dhamdhamia or Dhamdhamicha Dongar) – huge hill in front of Siddhagad. Dhamdhami is something where canons are hosted to protect the original fort.This is generally the adjoining hill of the fort. In Dilerkhan – Murarbaji fight on Purandar, the ranjan dongar in front of it was used as dhamdhami by Dilekhan to conquor fort Purandar. Dhamdhami of Siddhagad is exceptionally huge in height. It is said to still have a cannon on its top. View of Dhamdhamia is quite clear right from Narivli to balekilla.
Dense forest on the Path to Siddhagad
Entrance door of the fort on Siddhagad Machi
Siddhagad-wadi (सिद्धगडवाडी) village on Siddhagad Machi
साधुची गुहा (Saadhuchi Guha or Cave of the monk) on the climb of Balekilla
धमधमीचा डोंगर आणि सिद्धगड (Dhamdhamicha Dongar and Siddhagad)
Dry streams in summer on the way to Siddhagad
Forts Machhindragad and Gorakhgad as seen from Narivli village (नारिवलीहून दिसणारे गोरखगड व मच्छींद्रगड)
almost 2 hours to reach Narivli back from the village on Machi. Get a bus back to Murbad.
Kalyan to Murbad
Every 15 minutes ST bus from Kalyan ST stand to Murbad
Murbad to Narivli
7.00am, 8.30am, every 1.5 hours bus to Narivli and back to Murbad
Time to climb
2.5 to 3 hours to Siddhagad Machi from Narivli 1.5 hours to Balekilla from there
Bhakri (typical Maharashtrian format of Roti/Nan) can be available in Siddhagadwadi on the fort and at Narivli. Not much variety of food can be expected on this much height.
Available in wells on Siddhagadwadi on Siddhagad Machi
Available at Siddhagadwadi on Siddhagad Machi
Nearby treks and places to visit
Gorakhgad (गोरखगड) – an ancient fort never famous as a fort but for the temple, caves and water tanks on the top of this steep narrow vertical peak. An exciting trek not for beginners. No ropes and no rock climbing required.
Machhindragad (मच्छींद्रगड) – steep vertical peak behind Gorakhgad, even narrower than Gorakhgad. No proper way to climb. Rock climbing required.
Dhamdhamia or Dhamdhamicha Dongar (धमधमीया वा धमधमीचा डोंगर) – huge hill in front of Siddhagad. Dhamdhami of Siddhagad is exceptionally huge in height. It is said to still have a cannon on its top. View of Dhamdhamia is quite clear right from Narivli to Balekilla.