Forts, massive forts that depict the glory and victories of many empires. Though they are only the constructions of stone they do depict the stories of various empires, the bloodshed, the victory, and the sorrow too. History without forts and forts without history is nearly impossible. Every fort has its own story. Likewise, Raigad fort has its own story.
Many get confused with the Raigarh of Chandigarh and Raigad fort. Raigad fort belongs to the Maratha empire. Raigad Fort is located in Mahad of Raigad district of Maharashtra state. Many sites of this fort have been constructed under the guidance of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. In 1674 he made it the capital of the Maratha empire. This fort has served many empires such as
Maratha Empire (1656-1689; 1707-1818)
Mughal Empire (1689-1707)
British East India Company (1818-1858)
British Empire (1858-1947)
Central Government of India(1947-present)
Type – Hill-fort Height – 1,356 metres (4,400 ft)
The fort was built by Hiroji Indulkar but using materials like Stone, Lead, etc. There are approximately 1737 steps leading to the fort. For tourism aerial ropeway has been introduced by which one can view the Raigad fort from height, additionally, it lessens down the time required to reach the fort and energy too.
This makes sure that you can enjoy the greenery and views of the fort. The height of this ropeway is 400 meters in height and 750 meters in length and takes only 4 minutes.
The East India Company made the fort an armed campaign in 1765, but on 9 May 1818 fort was looted and destroyed.
Raigad Fort History –
The fort was seized by Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in 1656. This fort was formerly known as Rairi and was under Chandraraoji More who was the King of Jawali.After getting possession of the fort Shivaji Maharaj renovated and also expanded it. Afterward, it was renamed as Raigad the fort of King.
At that time two villages namely Pachad and Raigadwadi were of great importance. A cavalry of 10,000 was kept as standby at Pachad village. Lingana fort just 2 miles away from the fort was built and was used to imprison the prisoners.
The fort was renamed as Islamgad by Aurangzeb as it was captured by Zulfikhar Khan in 1689. But further in 1707, it was recaptured by Siddi Fathekhan and was under his control till 1733. Later on, it was captured by Maratha Sardar and was kept under control till 1818.
In 1765 Raigad fort with Malwan district of Maharashtra was the target of an armed expedition of the British East India Company. But in 1818, it was bombarded by cannons from Kalkai hill. And on 9th May was handed over to the British East India Company as per the treaty.
Fascinating points of the Raigad –
The Maha Darwaja –
Huge door, Maha Darwaja was the only main path to the fort which was used to be closed at sunset. It has two bastions of approx 65-70 ft height. And the top of the fort is approx 600ft above this door.
The Raj Darbar –
Inside the fort, one can clear encounter the private rooms and restrooms though there are in damaged conditions. The fort has the Nagarkhana Darwaja, which aids to hear from the doorway to the throne. Mena Darwaza a secondary Darwaza was built for the entrance of Royal ladies that leads to the Queen’s quarter. There are lots of guides who tell history in a very interesting way. Even small children too have acquired the art of telling history in a poetic way and attracting the tourist. The way they tell history makes one to have goosebumps. There is another darwaja named Palkhi darwaja which has three darkened chambers that are known to be granaries of the fort.
Main Market –
In front of the statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, you will see the main market. This market was very well designed in a line. Bit the lines of shops have shops constructed which are very identical to each other. Though the fort was ruined still you may take the feel of the market as they still are in good condition. Every shop has few steps to enter inside the shop and a small partition inside the shop. Today ladies of the base village sell buttermilk, eateries, and cold drinks. Though today we don’t have Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj with us, he is still taking care of his Praja.
Takmak Tok –
From the fort, one can view the execution point called Takmak Tok, a cliff from which sentenced prisoners were thrown to their death. This area has been fenced off.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Statue –
The statue of Shivaji Maharaj is erected in the fork. The of the main market which leads to the Jagdishwar temple. The statue still has that shine in its eyes. One can feel the presence of Maharaj over this place. Though the place is so old but the air over here is refreshing ones. It’s the air of victory, it’s the air of the Maratha empire.
Hirkani Buruj –
A woman who used to sell the milk at fort once stuck inside the fort on one evening as the Maha Darwaja used to get closed before sunset. She was asked to wait till the dawn to get the Maha Darwaja opened. As her little infant was all alone at home at the base of the fort, she became restless and with great bravery, she climbed down the steep cliff at night to reach home for her little child. Later, the next morning the news came to Shivaji Maharaj about this great lady. She was invited to the Darbar and was asked to show how did she climbed down the steep slope. On behalf of her, this steep cliff got the name Hirkani buruj. And was also rewarded.
Well designed courtyards and private rooms of the Royal family –
The Raigad fort ruins consist of the queen’s quarters, six chambers, with each chamber having its own private restroom. In addition, ruins of three watchtowers can be seen directly in front of the palace grounds out of which only two remain as the third one was destroyed during a bombardment. The Raigad Fort also has ruins of a market that was accessible to horseback riders. The fort also overlooks an artificial lake known as the Ganga Sagar Lake.
Hatti Talav (Lake) –
It is said that this pond was constructed so as to bathe the elephants. And the stones which were taken out so as to construct the pond were used to build several parts of the fort.
Additional famous attractions of the fort include the Khubladha Buruj and Nane Darwaja.
Raigad Fort Trek –
From the base village, you can start your trek through the Nane Darwaja. Steps are somewhat difficult to climb. But the scenery around makes the route easy to trek. The railing is given so that you can have a safe trek. After a long steep route, you encounter the main site. The road is still not well constructed so please be cautious to drink the trek.
You need not to take the food to the trek because at every few minutes you will encounter various food stalls that sell local as well as packaged food along with cold drinks. Once you reach the top of the fort you will witness the statue of Maharaj in front of which there is the main market. The Darwaja near the Raj Sinhasan has a map that shows all the main sites and route maps to go to those sites. Nearly 25-30 families reside at this fort who are serving the tourist for many years by giving their houses for halting purpose and serving the best local Maharashtrian cuisine. Well maintained washrooms are there near the main market.
From there you may head toward the Jagdishwar temple, thereby the samadhi of Maharaj. While coming back from there you may head to the Takmak Tok, it is highly preferred you to visit this place in the evening as this place is famous for the sunset.
Where is Raigad Fort Located? –
It is located in the Sahyadri range in Mahad of Raigad District of Maharashtra. Raigad rises 820 meters above sea level. It is located at the following coordinates
Coordinates 18°14′01″N 73°26′26″E
Nearest Cities – Pune 130 Km, Mumbai 170 Km, Mahad 25 Km
How to Reach Raigad Fort –
By Railway – Dasgaon is the nearest railway station to the fort, which is connected to the major cities of Maharashtra. It is linked with cities like New Delhi, Bangalore, Mysore, Jamnagar, Chennai, etc., in the country.
By Road – One of the best ways to reach Raigad is by road. The town is well connected by roads and there are regular buses that operate from major cities to Raigad. The total driving distance from Mumbai to Raigad is around 169 km.
Mumbai – Panvel – Rasayani – Durshet – Kolad – Mangaon – Raigad Fort; via Mumbai-Pune Highway is the most common route taken to reach the place.
The statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji’s pet dog was removed by alleged members of the Sambhaji Brigade in July 2012 as a protest but was re-instated by Shri Shivaji Raigad Smarak Samiti, the Archaeological Survey of India, sculptor Rambhau Parkhi and the District.
Suggested for You –
Food & Accommodation –
Once you reach the base of the village there are several stalls from where you can have breakfast and lunch. Nearby a resort is recently been developed which serves good food and is also a good halting option.
Tips before You Visit Raigad Fort –
- First and foremost wear good quality trekking shoes or sports shoes.
- Carry a flashlight/torch.
- Carry water bottles and some healthy non- perishable snacks.
- Shoes should be of a good grip and waterproof.
- A pair of sunglasses, a raincoat, and a cap is a must.
- Carry at least 2 liters of water per person.
- Carry a quality raincoat and umbrella during the monsoon
- Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol are strictly prohibited.
- Avoid wearing jewelry and also taking any valuables.
- Do not litter on the fort or in the trek’s route.
- Carry protection for photographic and electronic equipment during the monsoon.
- Last but not least have a medical kit with you.