Less than an hour’s drive from the city of Pune, lies a little known village called Jadhavwadi. As you turn from the highway towards the village, the road get narrower and the trees, only bigger. The roads are narrow, and you have to drive at the pace of the bullock cart in front of you. This drive will give you an idea of the pace of life in the village you are just about to enter. As you drive by, you see chulhas and gothas (cowsheds) still in existence and sprawling green fields. In the heart of Jadhavwadi, on one of the hills of the Sahyadris, lies the Jadhavgadh Resort.
Jadhavgadh and Jadhavwadi are named after one of the bravest Generals of Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj – the grandson of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Pillaji Jadhav. Built in 1710, Jadhavgadh is a good 2511 feet above sea level. The fort is a classic example of Maratha architecture during the peak of the Empire. Meant to be a safe haven from enemy attacks, it does not boast of elegant carvings and extravagant decorations. It has, however, a bird’s eye view of the surrounding village and the Sahyadri range in the distance. The current abode of Pillaji Jadhav’s descendants is visible from the top storey.
Jadhavgadh only became ‘Jadhavgadh Resort’ recently. The historical architecture of the fort has been maintained, particularly the exterior. The dungeons, the emergency escape routes and the underground passages are very much intact. Interestingly, every room in the fort has one stone wall, which is a part of the original fort. The resort blends right in with Jadhavwadi, which seems as though it is still stuck in the 17th Century. The staff dresses like Mawlas (Shivaji’s soldiers) in kurta- pajamas, turbans and navwari saris, and their restaurant “Chhajja” specializes in authentic, traditional Maharashtrian cuisine. Lunch is delicious, especially with live traditional music in the background.
Jadhavgadh Resort is a place for relaxation and peace of mind, and not much of a place for sightseeing. The nature and the way of life is in itself an experience worth capturing. The landscape and the people provide great opportunities for photography. In spite of being situated in a village, the resort provides five star facilities. There is also a museum which displays artifacts once used by the Jadhav family. The folk dances, martial arts and traditional musical performances are a part of the evening entertainment. Jadhavgadh is very popular among couples who wish to have a royal wedding in a fort. The convenient distance from Pune is a strong point in its favor.
Jadhavgadh provides easy access to some of the more exotic locations in the area. Dive Ghat in the Sahyadris, a favorite among trekkers is easily accessible. Purandar Fort, Narayanpur, the Balaji Temple, Purandar Wada and Pandharpur are other nearby attractions. Visit Jadhavgadh for some calm and quiet, and de-stress. The best time to visit Jadhavgadh would be from October to February, when the weather is most pleasant. Jadhavgadh is best approached by road as it is only 22 kms away from Pune, off the old Pune-Satara highway.
Image Source: [http://www.punemajha.com/punecity/fortjadhavgadh/fort_Jadhavgadh.jpg]