The main towns here are Bhor, Saswad, Purandar, and Velhe. Bhor was one of the princely states of British India, under the Poona political agency of the Bombay Presidency, and later the Deccan States Agency. It is a hilly region and the Sahyadri mountain range is very prominent here. Home to the Purandar Fort, and the Jejuri Temple, its proximity to Pune city has made it very popular with day trippers.
Located midway between Pune and Satara on National Highway No.4, Bhor is about 40 km from Pune.
PLACES OF INTEREST
The fort stands at 4, 47.2 ft. above sea level in the Western Ghats, about 40 km south-east of Pune and some 10 km south-west of Saswad. At the foothills is the village of Narayanpur, which dates back to the Rashtrakuta Yadava dynasty. The Datta temple temple in the village is worth seeing.
The history of the Purandar fort goes back to the 13th century. From 1484 AD, for about a hundred years, the fort remained in the hands of the Nizamshahi rulers. In 1596 AD the fort was given as Jagir to Maloji Bhosale, Shivaji’s grandfather. Shivaji had to struggle very hard to establish his control over the fort in 1646 AD. In 1665 AD, Purandar was besieged by the mighty Mughal forces and subsequently Shivaji, under a treaty, had to surrender 23 forts to the Mughals. Purandar was recaptured by Shivaji in 1670 AD. His son Sambhaji Raje was born here, as was Peshwe Sawai Madhavrao. later it became a favourite retreat of the Peshwas till it was captured by the British in 1818 AD, who used it as a prison.
Popularly known as ‘Khandobachi Jejuri’ the temple is also referred to as Mhalsakant or Malhari Marland. It is popular amongst the Dhangar tribe of shepherds. Jejuri is to the south east of Pune, towards Phaltan. The Khandoba temple is situated on a small hill, and can be reached via an easy climb of almost 200 steps, dotted with stone deepmalas (lantern holders). In clear weather you can see not only Jejuri town but also Saswad and Dive Ghat.
Jejuri is of historic importance because this is where Shivaji met his father Shahaji after a long period. At the time, Jejuri was one of the major hill forts in the region. Every year on Dassera a sword lifting competition is held here, and the person who lifts the sword highest for the maximum time is declared the winner.
Just 35 km to the south of Pune, this is a lovely spot for a day trip. There is an old Shiv a temple here, built in what was once a jungle, hence its name (ban means jungle). There is a garden and a small stream behind the temple.
Built circa 1673, the fort was under Bijapur’s Adil Shah and became part of the Maratha kingdom in 1701. There are several water tanks and a small temple here. The trek from Pandavgad to Mandhardev (tourist spot about 21 km from Shirwal, known for its temple) is popular. Pandavgad is within driving distance from Bhor on the Pune-Mahabaleshwar road.
Located 2.2 km away from Pune on the old Pune-Satara Road at a height of 2,511 ft above sea level, Fort Jadhavgadh lies in the heart of Jadhavwadi. A fine example of Maratha craftsmanship, the fort was built by Pillaji Jadhavrao, a Maratha general in Shivaji’s army. Constructed in 1710 as a private residence, the fort today is a luxury hotel and also houses a private museum.
Frequented by trekkers as well as nature lovers, it allows a panoramic view of the surrounding hills as well as the Mastani Lake in the depth of the valley. It is believed that this lake used to be the meeting place of Bajirao Peshwa and Lady Mastani. A diversion before the Ghat leads to the lake.
Balaji Temple, Ketkawale
Set amidst beautiful mountain ranges, this temple is a magnificent replica of the world famous Tirupati Balaji temple at Tirumala. Built by Sri Venkateshwara Hatcheries, it is also known as Sri Venkateshwara Temple, or Venky’s Balaji. It is located near Narayanpur village, around 45 km off NH4 (Mumbai- Banglore Highway).
Hazrat Quamar AliDurvesh Dargah
Sufi saint Hazrat Quamar Ali was buried here about 700 years ago. In the open space in the Dargah lie two large and heavy rocks that cannot be lifted by anyone on their own; legend says that when any eleven males stand around the rock, gently place their index finger at the bottom, and together say ‘Kamarali Darvesh’, the rock will lift up to eight feet before falling to the ground! Located in Khed Shivapur village at a distance of about 30 km from Pune on the Mumbai Bangalore Highway (NH4), the Dargah attracts people of different faiths from all over the country.
An adventure sports park that boasts a number of land, water and air based adventure activities such as rappelling, rock climbing, zorbing, zipline, and kayaking. The park’s natural environs make it the perfect destination for anouting with friends and family. Located off NH4 at Narayanpur; turn towards Yeoli from Bhor Phata.
Sangameshwar Temple and Malhargad Fort
Located near the confluence of the rivers Karhe and Chambli, the Yadava era Sangameshwar temple is believed to have been built sometime around the 7th-10th century, and still retains its charm. The Malhargad (Sonori Fort), the last fort built by the Marathas in 1775, stands near Sonori village, a mere half hour’s drive from Saswad. The fort is situated in the Bhuleshwar Range and was built to keep an eye on Dive Ghat which is along the Pune-Saswad route. Still in good condition and housing two temples, the fort is worth a visit. Three daily buses ply to Sonori from Saswad. No food and drinkable water is available on the fort. Up to six people can be accommodated overnight in the temple of Lord Mahadeva; villagers in Sonori and Zendevadi provide accommodation on request.
Bhuleshwar Shiva Temple
Located approximately 43 km from Pune, the temple was once within the Daulatmangal Fort, the remnants of which are still visible in the vicinity. A popular picnic spot, huge crowds gather here during the festival of Mahashivratri. The top portion of the shivling in the temple opens up and devotees can place offerings inside it. There are many disfigured statues in the temple, a result of the attempts of Aurangazeb’s men to destroy and mutilate Hindu art.
Located around 30 km from Pune, the temple is dedicated to Kanifnath Maharaj, one of nine teachers in
the Navnath Sampradaya, a Hindu Parampara that considers Rishi Dattatreya, an incarnation of the Holy Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, to be its first teacher. Women are not allowed to enter this temple. The main shrine is in a closed room and can be reached only by crawling through a small opening. Photography is not permitted. The temple is situated 10-15 km from Saswad.