Standing at a height of 4511 feet in the Sahyadri range of the Western Ghats, Aajoba Hill is one of the highest peaks in the Sahyadri ranges. It is one of the most famous treks near Mumbai, Pune. Situated in the Shahapur Taluka at the base village of Dehene, the Aajoba Hill is considered sacred due to the local folklore that this was the place where goddess Sita stayed in an Ashram during her exile and separation from Lord Rama. Halfway through the climb up the mountain is located the “Valmiki Ashram” and the cave here Goddess Sita stayed with her two sons Luv and Khush. The hill got its name from the term “Aajoba” which means grandfather in Marathi – a term that Luv and Khush used to address Saint Valmiki. It is also believed that Saint Valmiki’s Samadhi in the hill increases in size every few years.
Trekking to the Ajoba Hills fort can be done from two ways, either the eastern side (which is the longer route) or the western side. The topsy – turvy mountain path is best visited at dry periods as it is risky during the monsoon. Halfway through the climb, near the Valmiki Ashram, which takes roughly an hour and half to reach from the Dehene phata, there is provision for trekkers to stay and rest in a hut. The mountain has a small water stream that provides trekkers with pure water. From here, trek to Luv-Khush Palna can be done by crossing a rivulet just beyond the ashram while ascending our way along a waterfall. The “Cradle of Sitamai” is located over this cave at its precipice. Fottprints of Luv-Khush are found carved inside the cave where they supposedly lived.
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