Basic Info: Vasota is a fort located near Bamnoli in Satara. The height from sea level is 3,842 feet. Vasota trek offers a thrilling experience as you would be walking through a dense jungle and you would get some amazing views of the surroundings.
As its a jungle trek, ensure that you remain in your group all the time. The jungle is filled with wild animals like wild dogs, sloth bears, leopards and even tigers.
This is every trekkers dream trek as the beauty of the fort and the surroundings will take your breath away.
Routes: Vasota is to the south of Pune near Satara. Head on NH 4 from Pune to reach Satara which is at a distance of 110 kms from Pune Station. The State Bus Transport has many buses plying on this route, so the bus frequency to Satara from Pune is high. Once you reach Satara bus station, you need to reach the village Bamnoli which is the base village and at a distance of approx 40 kms from Satara.
From Bamnoli there are boats which will take you to the base of the fort. 1 to 1.5 hrs boat ride from Bamnoli, in the SHIVSAGAR LAKE water will take you the fort base to start your trek. The boat ride will cost you Rs. 3000 [+taxes] [1-12 persons]. Get a larger group for trekking as Rs.3000 is the default rate for 1 to 12 persons. Along the way you would get some breath taking views of the mountains surrounding the lake.
Difficulty Level and Other useful tips:
Difficulty level is Hard. It will take approximately 3 hours to reach to the top of the fort and requires a lot of walking. Ensure that you stay in your group all the time as the jungle is filled with wild animals. Take proper care in rainy season as the area gets filled with leeches.
Carry plently of water with you as the trek is very tiring.
Try to reach Bamnoli by 8am. Then you would get enough time for the trek. Also ensure that you leave early from the fort [say by 3:30pm or 4:00pm] as its not safe to get down when it gets dark.
What to see on the fort:
The forest department wont give you permission for camping as animals are very active during the night and it is a Wild Life Reserve. There is a camping ground at Bamnoli village near the lake where you can setup your campsite.
Vasota ( also called Vyaghragad) is located in Satara district of Maharashtra. Vasota always remained under the rule of Marathas, Shirkes and Mores during the 16th century and then later was included in Swarajya by Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in 1665.
This fort was named as Vyaghragad [ Vyaghra means tiger] by Shivaji Maharaj considering the defensive capability that this fort offered. After Shivaji Maharaj this was under the rule of the Peshwas [Bajirao Peshwe] and then later in 1818 the british bombared the fort with heavy artillery and destroyed many structures on the fort.
The fort today offers spectacular views of Koyna Backwaters, forests of the Wildlife sanctuary and a superb trek for avid trekkers.
It is now a protected natural reserve and camping is banned on the fort.