Every fort has its own story but this fort has so many stories to tell as it has witnessed most of the ups and downs of the Maratha empire. Rajgad the word itself tells the glory if itself! The literal meaning of Rajgad fort is THE RULING FORT!
The former name of Rajgad fort was Murumdev and also was the capital of the Maratha empire for nearly 26 years. The fort was built on the hill named Murumbadevi Dongar. ( Mountain of Goddess Murumbadevi) Later on, the capital of the empire was moved to Raigad.
This fort was built by the treasure which was procured from the adjacent fort Torna. Every fort has its own specialty. Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj stayed for a long time in this fort. than any other forts of the Maratha empire.
The base was 40 km which made the siege of the fort difficult and thus enhanced the strategic value of this fort. Every fort of the Maratha empire had special strategic values and was smartly built.
Rajgad Fort History-
The fort has a long history. This fort has seen various ups and downs of the Maratha empire and of the life of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The fort witnessed the joy of the birth of Rajaram I, son of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. It also witnessed the sorrow of the death of Queen Saibai, wife of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. It also witnessed the return of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj from Agra. the burial of Afzal Khan’s head in the Mahadarwaja walls of Balle Killa, the strict words of Sonopant Dabir to Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
This fort was kept along with the 17 forts at the time of signing of That of Purandar in 1665, with the Mughal General Jai Singh I, leader of the Mughal forces. Under this treaty, 23 forts were handed over to the Mughals.
This fort has a long history. It was captured by Ahmed Baheri Nizamshah in 1490. and was recaptured from Adilshah by Nizamshah with the help of Shahaji Maharaj. In 1642 it became the jagir of Shahaji Raje. Later on in 1647, the fort was captured by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. And in 1649 repairs of this huge fort were started and Shamrao Neelkanth Ranzekar was appointed as Peshwa.
The fort got its name Rajgad in 1654 and the commencement of new fortification started. On 14 January 1658 Maharaj returned to this fort on conquering the North Konkan. On 11 July 1659 Maharaj shifted to Pratpagad.On 5 September 1659 Saibai (Maharaj’s wife) died on this fort.
In 1660 Maharaj escaped from Siddhi Jauhar’s siege of Panhala and came on this fort. Even the idol of Bhawanimata which was to be established on Pratapgad was brought to Rajgad for being inspected by Jijabai.
In 1662 the construction was completed and Shivaji Maharaj returned to this fort after capturing Pen and Kalyan. In 1664 February booty of Surat was brought to Rajgad. The Mughals were unsuccessful in their attack of the fort. In 1665 Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s letter of accepting defeat was sent to Jaisingh.
24 February 1670 Rajaram was born on the Fort.1671 the repairing of the fort began at an expected cost of 10,000 hons.In June 1689 the fort was captured by the Mughals after Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj was murdered.
Suggested for you – Visapur Fort-The fort that lived the Maratha history
In 1692 Shankarji Narayan captured the fort from the Mughals. And in 1697 Rajaram Maharaj returned to Maharashtra and made Rajgad his new capital. On 4 August 1701 Shahaji Mohite was made the havaldar of Padmavati Machi. And in February 1708 the fort was handed over to Aurangzeb as part of a treaty.
The fort was renamed to Nabishahagad.SarSenapti Sidojirao Thopte and Santaji Shilimkar were killed here by Aurangzeb.29 May 1707 Gunaji Sawant captured the fort and The Maratha War of Independence ended. In 1709 Chhatrapati Shahu made provisions for the repairs of the fort. And in 1818 the Rajgad Fort passed into the hands of the British.
Recommended to you – Devkund Waterfall – Pond of Gods!
What to see-
At Rajgad fort you may encounter the most amusing things. One of them is the Natural hole at Suvela machi which is known as Nedhe (literal meaning- a hole in Marathi) and the elephant structure created on the rock of this machi. Not only this but many more things are there to explore over this place.
It takes moderately 1-2 days to trek this place. Initially, you have to travel down from Ganjavane village to Plateau which covers the distance of 1km and merely takes 30 minutes to travel down. The trek starts from the road behind Hotel Suhel Garden. Ultimately a walk of 5 min will let you into a gate that’s the gateway for your trek! This will lead you to the plateau.
Here you can halt for a while and enjoy the amazing scenario of Nedhe and have some snacks from the food stalls for your further trek. Then again a walk of 40 minutes and you will reach the Chor darwaza. There are ridges which will help you to make your trek more easier. Once you reach the Chkr Darwaja you will encounter a small door. This marks the end of your second stage of the trek and starts to the last stage of the trek i.e walk to the top of Rajgad.
At the last stage of your trek i.e at the top, you may see several lakes and scenic beauties. You may visit the Padmavathi machi and thereby the temple of Goddess Padmavathi and the Padmavathi lake too. Here you can see some of the old cannons, the tomb of Saibai, and the arms and weapons of those times.
The machi is split into three ways. The left one will lead you to Suvela machi, the right to Sanjivani machi, and the middle one to Balekilla. At Sanjivani machi you will see the Alu DarwajaDarwaja that leads to the ridges of Torna fort. To trek down to Balekilla beware as it has steep slopes and for the safety, purpose ropes have been tied but before reaching Balekilla you will come across the Maha Darwaja of 6 m ht.
The moment you will reach the Balekilla you will see a beautiful half mooned-shaped pond known as “Chandrakor” From here you can see the Torna fort, Lingana, Visapur fort, Sinhagad. The descending trail from here will lead you to Suvela machi. A walk of a few minutes and you will come across the small Hanuman temple, a walk of a few minutes and you will encounter the underground passages which were used to punish the enemies and traitors. From there if you will walk down you will see the Chilkhati Buruj(Shield barricade). After then, you may encounter the Hathi Prastar( elephant structure), a narrow rock.
Few more steps and you will see the Bhatghar dam and valley too! Here your trek ends. To trail back to the base village you may return to Hanuman temple, the small door will lead you to Padmavathi machi.
From there trace back the route and you will be at the base village. But if you want to trek down to Torna fort straight from this place then the ridge connects Torna fort at Sanjivani machi will surely help you down.
Where is Rajgad Fort Located?-
This fort is located in the Pune district of Maharashtra, India. This fort comes under the category-Hill fort. The Coordinates of this fort are- 18°14′48″N 73°40′56″E. The height of this fort is 1376m. To precise, the fort is located around 60 km to the southwest of Pune. And 15 km west of Nasrapur in the Sahyadri ranges. The fort was invaded at various times that left the fort with ruins which included the Palaces, water cisterns, and caves.
How to reach Rajgad Fort –
By Air – The nearest airport to the fort is located in Pune at a distance of around 75 km. Once you have reached Pune, you can either hire a direct cab or use public transport to reach Pali, which is a small village at the base of the hills and it is the place from where one needs to trek up the hill.
By Rail – You can catch a direct train to Pune railway station and then from there, you can either hire a direct cab or public transport to reach Pali. The distance between the Pune railway station and Pali village is 68 km.
By Road – The village of Pali is easily accessible by road. From the village, you need to trek up the hill to reach the fort.
Best time to visit Rajgad –
The best time to visit the fort is during the monsoon. Visitors prefer to stay overnight at the fort as the fort is huge and one day is not enough to roam and soak into the natural and historic beauty of this fort. The Padmavati temple on the fort can accommodate around 50 people. Water tanks provide fresh water all throughout the year. Villagers from the foothills of Rajgad sell local antiques and items to these tourists.
You have two options. You may carry your own food or there are several hotels at the base village that serves the authentic local food. As there are several hotels you may taste a tremendous variety of Maharashtrian cuisine.
Tips before You Visit Rajgad 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.
- 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.
- Shoes should be of a good grip and waterproof.
- Do not litter on the fort or in the trek’s route.
- Carry protection for photographic and electronic equipment during the monsoon.
- Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol are strictly prohibited.
- Avoid wearing jewelry and also taking any valuables.
- Last but not least have a medical kit with you
Nearby places to visit –
Kolad town – 52.2 km away from Rajgad fort, a small town on the banks of the Kundalika river.
Khanderi fort– An island type fort.
Mandangad fort – 72.3 km away from Rajgad.
Lodwick Point and Wilson point.
Lingmala waterfalls– 92 km away.
Mulshi lake and dam-95.7 km away.