Before the beginning of the reign of the Maratha in Jawali, the fort of Raigad was called as “Rayri fort.” Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was rebuilt this marvelous fort with teak wood which situated in the Raigad district in Maharashtra, India.
Raigad Fort Rulers After Renovation:
|Chhatrapati Shivaji maharaj||1656 to 1680|
|Chhatrapati Sambhaji maharaj||1680 to 1689|
|Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb||1689 to 1707|
|Chhatrapati Shahu maharaj||1707 to 1818|
|British East India Company||1818 to 1858|
|British Empire||1858 to 1947|
|Central Government of India||1947 to present|
The great Maratha emperor Shivaji Maharaj made this fort the capital of the Maratha State in 1647 when he had crowned the king. The Maratha state was later converted into the Maratha Empire.
This fort is erected 820 meters (2700 feet) above sea level in the Sahyadri mountain range. While the fort has around 1400-1450 steps, there is a ropeway facility available now to reach the top of the fort. After the British invasion, this fort was looted and destroyed to great extent.
One can visit the Raigad fort with family, children, or as a part of a group project. One can visit this fort over the weekend, or, can even merge their visit to Raigad along with other tourist spots like Dapoli-Murud-Harnai or Shrivardhan-Harihareshwar-Dive Agar that lie along the coastline of Konkan.
How to reach?
Route 1 (via Tamhini ghat): Chandani Chowk – Paud Road – Davadi – Bhira Top – Adarwadi – Nizampur – Mangaon Road via Mumbai – Goa National Highway – Mahad – Pachad – Raigad
(After descending from the Tamhini ghat, there is a road straight up to Pachad, but the road’s condition is not up to the mark).
Route 2 (via Varandha ghat): Pune-Satara Road (NH 4) via Katraj – Bhor – Varandha Ghat – Shivtharghal – Mumbai-Goa National Highway NH 17 – Mahad – Pachad – Raigad
Raigad is 23 kilometers from the national highway, and there are signboards on NH-17 in order to go there. The distance between Pune and Raigad is approximately 150 kilometers and it takes 3-4 hours to reach that place. Both the approach roads, that is, Tamhini and Varandha Ghat are not safe to travel at night.
“More than a tourist spot, the Raigad Fort is a holy place that leaves an auspicious impression of the magnanimous Hindavi Swarajya (Self-rule by the Hindus) preserved by Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.”
Raigad Fort was the capital of the Sovereign Maratha State that was nurtured by Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. This monument is a symbol of his foresight about Hindu self-rule.
This is a preface before the electrification of the Raigad fort and the surrounding area. The European historians have described it as ‘The Gibraltar of East.’
Due to various marks, it is referred to as the pilgrimage of Shiva. This holy place has flourished due to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s accomplishments, courage, and patriotism.
One that can penetrate the sky, one that is far above the average, such a fort looks invincible and inaccessible. It has seen a lot of foreign invasions and protected the Hindu self-rule in historical times.
Shivaji Maharaj was speechless when he saw that place for the first time. “This fort is incredible. From the top of this dense hill mountain, all the sides look chiseled. Even the leaves of grass cannot grow on a vertical rock like this. This is a wonderful place to occupy the throne.”
In ancient times, the fort itself was the place for carrying out trade. The vendors used to be given the two sides along the road to sell their goods.
At the foot of this fort, near Pachad village, there is a ‘Chit Darwaja (Chit Door)’, also known as ‘Jeet Darwaja (Jeet Door)’. After an extremely arduous journey, you reach the ‘Khubladha Buruj (Khubladha Tower)’. This is a strategically built tower, in that; one can fight and force the enemies attacking from both sides to retreat.
From there on, approximately a mile ahead lies the ‘Maha Darwaja (Huge Door) on a tough slope. Built around 350 years ago, this door is huge and serves as the main entrance to the fort. Even today, it is as impressive and strong as it was then.
The architecture of this ‘Maha Darwaja (Huge Door)’ is a mystery. One can find out the location of the attacker from here. The presence of fuzzy, curved stripes in the way makes it difficult for the attacker to use elephants to pull down the fort’s entrance door. In historical times, elephants were used in wars to break the entrance door of the forts.
According to thrillophilia.com, Gangasagar lake was the lake created with water brought from the Ganga river of India. This holy water was utilized for the coronation ceremony and filled the pond.
Trek to Raigad:
Having 1450 steps and a steep uphill that challenges one’s physical capabilities, climbing this fort is exhausting. However, the facility of rope-way has proved to be a boon and has opened up new avenues for Raigad Tourism. One can reach the top of the fort through clouds and sleet in just four minutes.
The inaccessibility of this fort can make climbing a very tiring job. But the presence of the ropeway makes tourism delightful and pleasant. In case one wants to take a tour of the fort, well-trained and well-behaved guides are easily available.
The ropeway takes you to the top of the fort near ‘Mena Darwaja’. This was a special entrance for the royal ladies and queens. The ‘Rani Vasa’, or the chambers and verandas for the royal queens are to the left of Mena Darwaja. Being six in number, these chambers were used by Shiv Chatrapati’s mother, Soyrabai, Putalabai, and other royal ladies.
The ‘Palkhi Darwaja’ is in front of ‘Rani Vasa’. This door was specially made for Shivaji Maharaj’s fleet. To the right of Mena Darwaja is the office of the council of eight ministers of Shivaji Maharaj. There are three dark chambers to the right of Palkhi Darwaja. Historians believe that these dark chambers were used as a storehouse for food grains.
The palace of Shivaji Maharaj is to the right of this storehouse. Known as ‘Rajbhavan’, this is the place where he carried out his minor and daily administration. The palace is on a dual peak and wooden pillars are used to support this style of architecture. The Raj Bhavan is a silent witness to Chatrapati Shivaji’s happiness, sadness, anger, success, and extraordinary generosity.
Next to the Raj Bhavan are two huge water tanks, and just next to the tanks is a magnificent bathing area for the royals. Excellent toilets and well-equipped drainage systems hint towards the architectural superiority of those times. To the east of the Raj Bhavan lies an underground basement on vacant land. This basement was used for secret talks, worshipping Goddess Bhavani, and storing the treasure gathered from the invasion of Surat.
Among the numerous big water storage tanks present on the fort, ‘Ganga Sagar’ is a natural beauty. The two main entrance doors of the grand palace open up to an impressive green lawn. This is the Raj Sabha. This place has witnessed the magnificent coronation ceremony of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
With this coronation ceremony, 300-year-old slavery came to an end and Shivaji Maharaj announced the establishment of Hindu Swarajya (self-rule). Studded with diamonds and gold, this Grand Throne weighed approximately 1000 kilograms and had eight pillars made of pure gold to its base. It also stands as the royal symbol of Shivaji Maharaj. The royal umbrella on top of the throne was bejeweled with precious stones and pearls.
The ‘Nagarkhana’ served as an entrance for the common public. In those times, royal musical instruments were played here all the time. This was an excellent example of their remarkable sound system and architecture. The distance between the Nagarkhana and the Royal throne was more than 200 feet, however, even a slight whisper on either end could be heard clearly.
The ‘Holi Cha Mal’ lies outside the Nagarkhana. This is a massive open ground used to celebrate the annual Holi festival. There is a temple of the fort’s goddess ‘Shirkai Bhavani’ here. There is a grand and well-established marketplace in front of Holi Cha Mal.
Jagadeshwara temple at Raigad Fort:
It has been built at a height and separated by a 40-feet wide road that goes to the ‘Jagadeshwara temple’. The most respected place on Raigad is the tomb of Chatrapati Shivaji, which is next to this temple. This tomb is well preserved and in excellent condition even today due to the initiatives of Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
Other interesting locations in Raigad are Darugolyache Kothar (place to store ammunition), Bara Taki (twelve tanks), more than a dozen water tanks, Rameshwara Temple, Wagh Darwaja, Takmak Tok (place to punish the offenders), etc. This place is proof of the courage, patience, and unparalleled sacrifice shown by the Maratha warriors who brought Hindu self-rule into existence.
The forts in Raigad district:
Raigad is a hill fort situated 25 kilometers away from Mahad. Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj restored this fort and made it the capital in 1647. There is a ropeway facility available at this fort that takes you to the top of the fort within a few minutes.
There is an artificial lake named ‘Ganga Sagar Lake’ on this fort. The only main entrance of this fort goes through the Maha Darwaja. The replica of the original throne lies in front of Nagarkhana Darwaja, which is the main entrance of the palace. This extraordinary arrangement was done in order to facilitate the hearing from the entrance to the throne. There is a famous ‘Hirkani Buruj’ built on an exceptionally tall cliff on this fort.
Murud-Janjira fort is situated on the Murud port near the Arabian Sea. Janjira is believed to be one of the strongest sea forts in India. This fort has been made reachable by boats at the Rajapur Jetty. The main entrance door of this fort is in front of the Rajapur shore. There is a tiny door facing the open sea that makes way for escaping.
There are a lot of authentic cannons of the European make at the fort’s bastion. This fort was well-equipped with all the necessary facilities like a palace, residence for officers, a mosque, two small natural freshwater lakes, etc. The palace of the Nawab of Janjira in Murud still exists in a good condition.
The main attraction points of this fort are the three big cannons namely – Kalalbangdi, Chavri, and Landakasam. It is said that the cannons themselves were afraid of their shooting range. There was another entrance facing the sea, called ‘Darya Darwaza.
Colaba fort was one of the main naval centers of the Maratha Empire. Colaba fort has two main entrances – one facing the sea and the other towards Alibaug. A unique feature of this fort is that it has freshwater wells in spite of being at the shore. This fort, along with many other forts was handed over to Kanhoji Angre as a part of a treaty between him and Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath in the year 1713. He utilized it for raiding the British ships.
Sudhagad/Bhorpagad is a hill fort situated in Maharashtra, India. It is approximately 50 km to the west of Pune, 25 km to the south of Lonavla, and 10 km to the east of Pali in the Raigad district. Sudhagad fort is also known as Bhorpagad fort.
Chhatrapati Shivray changed the name of Bhorpagad fort to Sudhagad fort. There are Thanale and Khadaksable caves near Sudhagad.
The Sudhagad plateau has three parts. The first part is the left plateau in front of the old palace. The flat land and the presence of a lake and one big tank make it possible for one to see the remains of this structure.
The second part has a temple of Goddess Bhorai and the campus that leads to Takmaktok. It has remains of four big storerooms. And, the third part is the part facing the east. Here, one can find a big tower and the remains spread out in the nearby jungle.
Raigad was the capital of the Marathas under the leadership of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The British named it the ‘Gibraltar of the East’ inspired by the fort’s ability to make persistent counterattacks that were possible due to its strong construction on a hillside. Shivaji Maharaj built this fort in the 14th century. Also known as ‘Jit Darwaja’, the ‘Chit Darwaja’ is at the foot of the mountain near Pachad village.
‘Khubladha Tower’ is a strategically situated tower that makes it possible to be safe from attackers coming from either side. The main entrance is nearly one mile ahead of an arduous ascent. This 350-year-old main entrance of the fort is massive. ‘Mena Darwaja’ was an entrance specially built for the royal ladies and queens.
The ‘Rani Vasa’ or the chambers of the queens is at the left of Mena Darwaja. The royal ladies were using these six rooms. The ‘Palkhi Darwaja’ present in front of the Rani Vasa is a door, especially for Shivaji Maharaj’s fleet. Three dark chambers are lined up to the right of Palkhi Darwaja. Shivaji Maharaj’s palace is to the right of the storehouse of food grains.
The other attractions are Mahabaleshwar, Harihareshwar, Ganpatipule, Shivtharghal, Gandhar Pale, Torna: Nizampur – Mangad Fort – Raigad trek, Birwadi – Raigad trek.
Raigad, a beautifully attractive fort, is a strategically built hill fort in the Raigad district of Maharashtra, India. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, a passionate Maratha ruler, built this fort. Raigad Fort was the capital of the old Maratha empire.
This fort is situated in the Sahyadri mountain ranges and is surrounded by a sharp uphill having many steps on one side, and lush green deep valleys on the other side. Known as the ‘Gibraltar of the East’ by the Europeans, this Raigad fort has many magnificent entrances like the Nagarkhana Darwaja, Mena Darwaja, and the Palkhi Darwaja.
The strategic location of the fort, especially the Khubladha Tower which is a safe harbor, is the special characteristic of this fort that also reminds us of the vigor and grandeur of the Marathas. It looks chiseled from the western ghat and has a tight fortification.
History of Raigd Fort:
Earlier known as the ‘Rairi fort’, it was seized by the royal family in the year 1656 from Chadrarao More and was made the capital by the Maratha King Shivaji, whose coronation happened at this fort. Shivaji Maharaj rebuilt this fort and renamed it Raigad.
Pachad and Raigadwadi were two immensely important villages at the foot of this fort, and during the Maratha rule, Pachad village regularly housed around ten thousand cavalries. In the year 1689, the Moghuls seized this fort and Aurangzeb renamed it ‘Islamgad’.
In 1765, the Raigad fort became the target of the British East India Company’s armed operations, and in 1818, it was destroyed by cannon fire and captured by them.
Even though Raigad is a destroyed fort today, one can get glimpses of its magnificence and richness. Built-in the year 1030, the remains of Raigad fort have the chambers of the queens known as the ‘Rani Vasa’, six rooms with private toilets, from where Mena Darwaja could be accessed.
Raj Bhavan, the main royal palace of Shivaji Maharaj, was built out of wood. Today, only the bases of the pillars and broken remains of three observation towers that were laid out on the area of the royal palace spread out around the Ganga Sagar Lake remain.
There was an impressive drainage facility and an underground basement in the royal bath, which was often used for carrying out secret and confidential work. Takamak Tok is a rock that was used for executing the hanging of offenders.
The fort also has remains of the marketplace and a statue of Shivaji Maharaj along with his pet dog ‘Waghya’, situated between the Jagadeshwara temple and his tomb.
In the public court of the King, or in front of the Nagarkhana Darwaja, lies a replica of the main throne, and an arrangement was made such that the hearing made at the entrance could be heard even here. To the right of Palkhi Darwaja, three deep, dark chambers are lined up, which were used to store the food grains of the fort.
Even today, the famous wall of Hirkani Buruj, built on a large edge, stands strong. Holi Cha Mal, situated outside Nagarkhana, is a widespread empty land that was used to celebrate the festival of Holi.
The other attractions of this fort include the water storage tanks, which are more than a dozen, in Bara Taki, a place to store ammunition, the Temple of Rameshwara, Wagh Darwaja, Chit Darwaja at Pachad.
The location and structure of this fort make it the best spot for trekking. Right from very simple to very challenging, this fort has ample interesting routes.
Normally, the trek starts from Pachad which is located around 24 km away from a shallow seaport at the shore of the River Savitri, named Mahad.
Along with that, the forts present inside and around Raigad, like the Torna fort, the Lingana fort, the Mangad fort, and Birwadi, are some beautiful routes that one can take in order to climb the fort on foot.
The availability of the ropeway facility helps tourists to reach the top of the fort without undergoing the difficult trek uphill. It is a mesmerizing experience to go through the misty clouds among the winds. Built-in 1996, this ropeway takes you to the Mena Darwaja, which is an interesting part of this place.
A photograph of Raigad Fort, a strategic power. 4/4 By Avilasa Sarmah
(Picture credits: Bhramanti 365)
Raigad is a suitable distance away from Mumbai as well as Pune. It is merely two hours away from Pune. It is possible to reach the fort from Mumbai in just two hours by using the route that is 140 km from the main Mumbai city.
Along with it being of immense historical importance, this fort is also believed to be a holy place. Raigad fort has been maintained very well. Its originality has been preserved well due to the hilly and lush green surroundings.
The best time to visit Raigad fort is monsoon!