If the state’s tourism agency, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) gets its plans approved, trekking across many of the state’s forts may become more accessible.
The MTDC, through its new project Trekkers Paradise, is hoping to connect 350 forts in the state with more accessible roads, facilities such as first aid, toilets, better signages to benefit trekkers and pique interest of the general tourists as well.
“We’ve submitted the plan to the Centre and the state for approval and funding. In the first phase, we hope to start work on popular forts. We have sought permission from the Archeological Survey of India and the state archeological department,’’ said Kiran Kurundkar.
In the initial phase, eight circuits have been designed to connect 39 forts. The circuits include the more popular forts like Rajgad, Harishchandragad, Raigad,Panhala, Torana, Shivneri, Rayreshwar, Pratapgad. These forts will see facilities like basic restaurants, drinking water, toilets, well established trails for those interested in hiking up.
The tourism agency is also planning to build accommodation on the foothills of these forts and refurbish accommodation where it already exists.
The MTDC will organise base camps on the foothills of the forest to also facilitate adventure sports like rock climbing by roping in experts. Locals will be roped in to act as guides for trekkers and signages will be provided on the trails to make the treks easier even for amateurs.
There is no safety or navigational mechanism for amateurs trekking the Sahyadris. This has been a cause for concern. Trekkers have cautioned that any plans by the state should ensure that the site’s ecology is preserved and there should be no rampant construction.