The area formed by the mountain range rising from Lonavla Khandala of Sahyadri is known as the ‘Ulhas river valley’. The river Ulhas originates from this area. Rajmachi Fort is located at a distance of 15 km northwest of Lonavala in the valley of the River Ulhas.
Kalyan-Nalasopara was a major trading port in ancient times. Borghat was an ancient trade route from this port to Pune. Therefore, there was a lot of traffic on this route too. In addition to controlling this trade route, forts at the gates of the Konkan and Ghats were used to collect jakat. The most prominent of these forts is Rajmachi.
Type- Hill Fort Height- 2710 feet
Difficulty- Medium Dist- Pune
If we consider the fort geographically, we will notice that on one side of Rajmachi, Tung, Tikona, Lohgad, Visapur forts in Pawan Maval region. and on the other side, Peth, Bhimashankar, Dhakcha fort, Gorakhgad, Siddhagad, Chanderi are all visible. Therefore, this fort should be a major military outpost. The fort has two ball forts. These two ball forts are two separate forts
There is a cave in the belly of Rajmachi fort which is called ‘Kondane Caves’. These caves are 2 km southeast of Kondana village. These caves were dug in the second century BC, the beginning of the Satavahana period. It is a masterpiece of architecture carved in solid stone. This group of caves includes a chaityagriha and seven viharas. These caves were built under the rule of Rajmachi. This suggests that the fort must have been around 2500 years old. Rajmachi fort was formerly known as ‘Konkancha Darwaza’.
Rajmachi Fort History –
There is a Buddhist cave on the western slope of Rajmachi fort. This is called ‘Kondhane Caves’. These caves are at a distance of 2 km from Kondhane, a village in Raigad taluka. These caves were dug in the second century BC, the beginning of the Satavahana period. This is a masterpiece of architecture carved in solid stone. This group of caves includes a chaityagriha and seven viharas.
These caves were built under the rule of Rajmachi. This suggests that the fort must have been around 2500 years old. Rajmachi fort was formerly known as ‘Konkancha Darwaza’. In the same year after the invasion of Kalyan in 1657, Shivaji Maharaj annexed the forts of Rajmachi, Lohgad, Tung, Tikona, and Visapur on Pune and Borghat in the Kalyan division.
This established the dominance of Shivshahi over the entire region from Pune to Thane. Until Sambhaji Maharaj was alive, that is, till 1689, all these forts were under the control of Marathas. Later, in 1713, Shahu Maharaj gave this fort to Kanhoji Angre. In the year 1730, this fort first came under the control of Bajirao Peshwa.
In 1776, Sadashivrao Bhau’s puppet conquered the entire Konkan region and reached Borghat. He captured the Rajmachi Fort. After this, the dominance of this puppet increased but the Peshwas attacked it and captured the Rajmachi Fort and the surrounding area. Later in 1818, the fort passed to the British.
There are two sub forts on Rajmachi, Manoranjan, and Shrivardhan. Udhewadi, at the foothills of entertainment, is a watershed of 20-22 houses. There is a Maruti temple near Wadi. Further south there is a protected forest. At the place where this forest is, the fort was inhabited by the officials. As the fort came under the control of the British in 1818, the officials of the Maratha state had to relocate.
What to See –
In this basin of Ulhas river, in a large rock near Kondivade and Kondhana, 21 pots of water have been carved. There is an idol of a child carved in it. The Maharashtra Gazetteer Raigad District 1993 has given a reference on page no. In this area, it is called ‘Jijau Kund’. People bathe in this pool with great devotion.
On the way from Lonavla to Rajmachi via Tungarli, near the village gate, there is a monument of a warrior, a partially broken rampart, the remains of a door, idols of Lord Ganesha, and Lord Hanuman. The surrounding area from the fort is full of natural beauty. The fort is inhabited by people It is called ‘Udhewadi’.
What to See –
The deep valley to the east and south of Rajmachi is known as ‘Kataldara’. The river Ulhas originates from this valley. The hill west of this river is called ‘Bhairav mountain’. The real feature of Rajmachi fort, which is full of such natural beauty, is the two Balekilla of this fort, Shrivardhan, and Manaranjan.
There is a plateau between Shrivardhan and Manaranjan ball forts, on which there is a temple of Bhairavnath. In front of the temple, there are 3 lamps and an idol of the goddess Lakshmi. From here, the road on the left leads to Manaranjan and the road on the right leads to Shrivardhan forts. The window path to the north of the village leads to the Kondhane caves in Konkan. Devrai is to the south of Udhewadi and beyond it is the old temple of Mahadev and Udayasagar lake.
There is an inscription on this lake and next to the lake there is a lime mill and a stone wheel. There are some monuments on the plateau behind the Mahadev temple. To the west are the remains of the Konkan Gate. There is a temple of Bhairavnath in the gorge between the forts of Shrivardhan and Manaranjan. In front of the temple are lampposts and some idols. The path leads to Shrivardhangad in front of the temple and to Manaranjangad behind the temple.
It is easier to reach this fort which is smaller than Shrivardhan in height. In about half an hour we reach the entrance of the fort. The fort has two gates and the two gates are not immediately visible due to the front ramparts. At the top of the Manaranjan are a roofless structure, a large lake, and the remains of some buildings. There are two to four water tanks. The ramparts of the fort are still intact to some extent and there are three or four large bastions on the ramparts.
It is the tallest of the two forts at Rajmachi. Shrivardhan’s ramparts and bastions are still in good condition. The arch of the gate is intact. There are guard gates next to the door. There are a cave and two water tanks on the way to the top of the fort. on the top bastion, there are flagpoles and ruins. To the north and south of the fort are double fortified armored towers. From the top of the fort, Lohgad, Tung, Morgiri, Korigad, Ghangad, Bahiran Plateau, Khandala, Songiri, Matheran, Dhak areas can be seen.
Where is Rajmachi Fort Located? –
Rajmachi Fort is located in Pune District of Maharashtra State, India. Rajmachi Fort is located at a distance of 15 km northwest of Lonavala in the valley of the River Ulhas.
Nearest Cities – Mumbai Km, Pune 85Km, Lonavala 18Km
How to reach Rajmachi Fort –
Walking from Lonavla to Tungarli: From Lonavla to Tuganarli, Rajmachi village can be reached on foot. This road is 15 km long at a time. It takes 3 to 4 hours to reach the fort by road.
Walk from Karjat to Kondivade: From Karjat to Kondivade by bus or car. The footpath leading from Kondivade to the fort via Kharwandi is steep. It takes about 3 hours to reach the fort.
By Road – From Lonavla or Khandala, one can reach Udhewadi via Kunegaon-Phansarai by a big four-wheeler or two-wheeler. The road is rough and slightly asphalted in some places. Bridges have also been built over the streams.
Food & Accommodation –
Meals are not available at the fort. There are many stalls along the trek route where water and snacks are available.
There are two ways to reach Rajmachi Fort. Via Tuganarli and via Kondivade. Moreover, Udhewadi village was a great place to stay in. You can also stay in the temple of Bhairavnath and in the caves required for going to Balekilla. Rajmachi Ruler Aid and Development Program also provides accommodation in rooms built by the organization.
Some Useful tips before you visit Rajmachi Fort –
- First and foremost wear good quality trekking shoes or sports shoes
- Shoes should be of a good grip and waterproof.
- Carry a quality raincoat and umbrella during the monsoon
- Do not litter on the fort.
- Carry water bottles and some healthy non-perishable snacks.
- Carry at least 2 liters of water per person.
- A pair of sunglasses, a raincoat, and a cap is a must.
- Avoid wearing jewelry and also taking any valuables.
- Carry protection for photographic and electronic equipment during the monsoon.
- Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol are strictly prohibited.
- Last but not least have a medical kit with you