As part of our ongoing series on forts around the city, we trek up to one of the highest forts in Maharashtra — the Salher fort
One of the highest forts in the Maharashtra is Salher fort, which is not known to many. As per the common lore, Kalsubai boasts to be the highest peak in the Sahyadri mountains while Salher has the distinction of being the highest fort in the Sahyadris and the second highest peak. About 5,141 feet high, the trek is arduous and takes about three to five hours if one times the trek from the base to the top. As per the ancient scriptures, it is mentioned that this mountain was a place where Lord Parshuram did penance after winning back the earth.
Salher fort is the heighest fort in Maharashtra
This ancient fort is historically significant as well as known battles took place during the reign of Shivaji here, informs a regular trekker, Vishwas Kotuslaer. He adds that the fort of Salher was captured by Shivaji in 1671, during his campaign of the Baglan region. The Marathas defeated the Mughal generals Ikhlaas Khan and Bahlol Khan in a battle, which saw tremendous destruction all over. There were 1,20,000 troops of Shivaji and it returned 10,000 less, lost in battle, we are told.
The fort was also, once the battleground for the Marathas and the Mughals Pics/Vikram Khollam
The perimeter of the Salher fort is around 11 km, encompassing an area of around 600 hectares. Kotuslaer adds,
"Of all the face-to-face battles between the Mughals and Shivaji’s troops, the battle of Salher takes place first. Such a big battle was not won by the Marathas before."
Once you reach the top, one can see a few temples around the fort. Just further ahead, are two water cisterns and a bit further the Gangasagar Lake comes into view. Next to the lake are the roofless temples of Renuka Devi and Ganesh. From here there are two routes ahead. The one going to the right takes one to a water tank next to which is a yagnavedi (a structure in which yagnas used to be held). Also there is a route climbing up from the temple, where one will discover three caves.
The place has mythological significance as it is believed that Parshuram did his penance here
"People can stay in these caves as well. The route that takes one near the caves also leads to the topmost part of the fort. On top is the dilapidated temple of Parashuram with his idol and an imprint of his footsteps," informs Kotuslaer.
How to reach there
There are two major routes available to go to the fort — Waghambe and Salherwadi route.
>> Waghambe route: Reach Taharabad on the Nashik Satana Route. As soon as one reaches the Waghambe village one can see the route leading to the ridge between Salher and Salota and the route leading to Salher. There is no water along the route and it is quite tiring too. It takes approximately 1 ½ hours to reach the fort.
>> Salherwadi route: The village of Salherwadi is ahead of Waghambe. One can reach Salherwadi via two routes. One is the Satana–Taharabad–Mulher–Salherwadi route. The route going up to the fort from Salherwadi is quite tough and tiring. On this route we cross six entrances and reach the top of the fort in around three hours. The route is quite prominent and there is no fear of getting lost. There is no water in this route, too.