Trip to Kankwari Fort 1: Arrival in Tehla

Kankwari Fort is a small hill fort in the Alwar district.

Situated in the core area of Sariska Tiger Reserve, this fort is located literally in the middle of nowhere. Not many people know about it and that is what makes it so beautiful.

In July 2016, I got a chance to visit the ancient Neelkanth Temple near a village called Tehla. After I returned, I was adding pictures to the Google Map when I noticed something. The map showed a road going from the temple to a fort named Kankwari. I instantly googled the fort and obsession took me over. 

The fort was built by the Rajput King Sawai Jai Singh I as a famine work. The year of the construction is not known, but it must have been sometimes between the years 1625 - 1650. After Aurangzeb fought his brothers over the Mughal throne, he briefly imprisoned his brother Dara Shikoh in this fort before transferring him to Delhi (where he was eventually executed).

In the next few days I gathered as much information I could on Kankwari Fort and put together a plan with a few friends to visit this place. With a group of 4 people, we decided to hike to this fort after reaching Tehla.

On 14th August, our group started from Delhi around 5AM. I was accompanied by my friends Sahaj, Abhay and Piyush. We had a 4 people tent, sleeping bags, and rations to last a full day. 

The Team: Sahaj, Abhay, I, Piyush

We stopped at Manesar for breakfast and then resumed our journey. But instead of taking the straight NH48 I proposed that we take a different road to enjoy the scenic route. The guys agreed and it turned out to be a good choice as there was almost no traffic.

The road less travelled is often filled with gigantic potholes. Making it the road less travelled.

The marks of rainfall were all over and lush green fields welcomed us on both sides of the road. And then we reached a small village called Bibipur. I remember the name of this village because this was where the road ended. Instead of smooth open road, now we had giant potholes filled with rainwater. 

This is the Good Road

We were in a Maruti Suzuki Swift that was used to be driven on the beautiful roads of Delhi. But somehow Sahaj managed to take us out of this mess and as we crossed Naya Gaaon (the village), the road was visible again. It took us around two more hours to reach Alwar. 

Around 11 AM we entered the Sariska National Park and suddenly the whole view changed. The distant hills of Aravali suddenly came a lot closer and grew taller. We were driving inside the valley and the smooth road was a surprised.

Welcome to Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary,
Where the life is simple and the view is pretty!

As we reached Tehla, we took a break to buy water and eat something. But before we could begin the hike, we realised there was a problem; our car needed a parking space for the night. Some local folk suggested that we park the car in the Police Station. Our hobnobbing and pandering didnt yield any result, but then we told them that one of us belonged to the family of a Police Officer from UP. And suddenly everything was sorted out. The car was safely parked, and we started on our hike.

We were falling back on our initial plan to hike to Kankwari, but according to the locals, the route we chose was closed. Google Map showed us a trail of 15 KMs from Tehla to Kankwari. We came to know that this route goes through the infamous Kaali Ghaati and was cut off due to heavy rainfall. 

(L) Hike trail we planned, (R) Hike trail we took.

Now we had only one route; to go to the famous Neelkanth Temple (that I visited last month with my family) and hike to Kankwari from there. The Kaali Ghaati route was 15 KMs in total from Tehla to Kankwari Fort. And this new route had added another 6-7 KMs to our route. We discussed it and decided to hike instead of hiring a jeep until Neelkanth Temple. The first thing we did was to buy loads of water that made our bags quite heavy. 

Scenes from Tehla 

The Tehla Fort (we left it unexplored)

Each of us was carrying 3 litres of Water. We had also brought a bottle of whiskey and vodka with us (for obvious reasons), and nobody thought of transferring the liquor into plastic bottles to reduce the weight of the glass bottles. But we continued.

We begin our hike around 12:50. After walking through Tehla, we took a narrow road to the right and crossed a village or two until we started hearing a loud gurgling sound at a distance. 

In the next part, we meet the beautiful views and people, cross a raging river, loose our trail in darkness and almost give up on the hike.