Hello friends, today I am sharing information about Shivneri Fort. It is one of the forts which came under the Maratha kingdom. Furthermore, as it is the birthplace of Shivaji Maharaj, it has great importance in Maratha history.
Latest news About Shivneri fort:
Located around 100 kms from Pune in the Junnar taluka, the holy fort of Shivneri is the birthplace of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
The state government has approved Rupees 23.5 crores for the development, beautification and enhancement of this fort.
The State tourism and Cultural Works department announced this decision on Thursday.
This project is going to be undertaken by the Department of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the State Forest Department, and Public Works Department (PWD).
This project will mainly involve reconstruction of collapsed ramparts, renewed arrangement of the footpaths, restoration of Ambar Khana, the critical work related to the palace and its surroundings, and this work will be carried out by ASI.
A senior officer of ASI Mumbai division, on the condition of anonymity, told the TOI on phone call, “We have received administrative approval for various tasks.
We will present our detailed plan to our Directorate in Delhi and then start the further process will begin thereafter.
However, we will try our best to start the work as soon as possible. We will give it our priority and start working on the site.”
Mr. Jairam Gouda R, the Sub-Forest Ranger of Junnar department, said, “In the landscaping of forest, we will primarily be involved in protecting the original species of trees and in constructing the Gabion wall.”
We presented our architectural plan to the state government last month. The entire work will be carried out on the fort.
This will be a time-consuming job. We are soon going to start the process of floating tenders.
PWD will be responsible for building roads at the foot of the fort and in its nearby villages.
A lot of social institutions and NGOs that have been working towards the enhancement of the fort have been waiting for this reconstruction fund since long.
Tens of thousands of people visit this fort every year on the various occasions related to Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
Since last few years, Mr. Sanjay Khatri, the President of the Sahyadri Mountaineering Association, who has been following-up with the government regarding various questions related to the fort, said, “To give history an appropriate outlook, it is very important to preserve the antiquities of the fort.
Our demand is that the government should build a museum on the fort, so that the antique weapons and other things belonging to the Maratha Empire can be displayed.
In order to restore the true value of the fort, the government must undertake the work regularly and complete it on time.”
Shivneri fort is located in the hilly fort in a village situated at the foot of Junnar.
Shahaji Raje, the father of Shivaji Maharaj, built this fort in order to protect his son and wife, Jijamata, from the attack of enemies and from natural disasters.
This fort is a great opportunity for trekkers and one can climb this fort from two sides. One of the routes is a straight road that takes you to the Southern mountain ranges.
The saga of courage of the Gibraltar of East
The Vijaydurg Fort is the second route that attracts the trekkers. One needs to climb around 400 steps on the hillside, and then, after climbing the steps of the fort’s track, one needs to enter through seven major gates.
In the middle of the route, there are some carved rocky caves, and it is difficult to enter some of them. The way up from there is a narrow route and most of its parts are in an uprooted condition.
It takes about an hour to reach the top of the fort from either route. The shape of this fort is like an arrow that is inclined towards the north. With time and natural changes, this fort’s condition has deteriorated.
The appropriate time to visit the Shivneri fort
August–February is the best time to experience the greenery of this fort and its tranquil environment.
Shivneri fort is around 95 kms from Pune and 155 kms from Mumbai.
Places worth visiting
This first thing that you notice on the fort is the Ambar Khana! Ambar Khana means several rooms used for storing grains. Most notably, stored grains would be sufficient for years to come.
Next, there is an underground water tank, called “Ganga-Jamuna Tank”. In the view of experts, these tanks are around 2,000 years old and belong to the Satavaahan era.
In 1925, a temple was built on the fort at the place where Chatrapati Shivaji Raje Bhosale was born, and the temple is known as Shiv Temple.
This same area has a vast round water tank named ‘Badami Talao’. However, the tank doesn’t store any water in it now.
From here on, to the north, there is a tall border known as ‘Kadelot Point.’ Locals believed that criminals who were given severe punishments were hand-cuffed and pushed down from this point.
There are seven fortified entrances that facilitate the entry in the fort, namely, Maha Darwaja, Ganesh Darwaja, Pir Darwaja, Hatti Darwaja, Shipai Darwaja, Mena Darwaja and Kulup Darwaja.
On entering the fort, there is a Shivai Mata temple which is immediately noticeable. It is said that Shivaji was named by mother Jijau after this same goddess.
The government has built a Shivaji temple over here in honour of King Shivaji Maharaj. The temple has statues of Shivaji Maharaj and his mother Jijamata.
In the other parts of this fort, one can see Buddhist caves of the third century, and, a mosque built in the architectural style of the Mughal period.
Arrangement of accommodation and meals
The arrangement of accommodation and meals on the fort is quite limited. The best option is to stay in Pune and then visit the fort.
Located around 105 kms from Pune in the Junnar Taluka, the holy fort of Shivneri is the birth place of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
Surrounded by steep slopes on all four sides, this fort is an invincible fort.
The geographical conditions of this fort make it impossible for the enemies to attack easily. This fort has a small temple of Goddess Shivai and statues of Jijabai (Shri Shivaji Maharaj’s mother) and young Shivaji.
The shape oof Shivneri fort is tall and erect like that of a Shiva Ling, symbolizing the shape of strength. We can see this fort the moment we enter Junnar village.
Area-wise, this fort is not very big. Dr. John Fryer of the East India Company visited this fort in 1673.
He has made a mention in his book that this fort has such huge storehouses that literally, food stored in them can be utilized by thousands of families for seven years.
The History of Shivneri Fort
Junnar existed even in the B.C. era and was known as Jirna Nagar. Junnar was the capital of King Nahapan of the Shaka clan.
The Satavahana King Raja Shatakarni who was the son of King Gautami, destroyed the Shaka dynasty and gained dominance over Junnar and its surroundings.
In the ancient times, Nane Ghaat was the commercial route. There used to be a lot of traffic on this route. This fort was built on this route in order to look after this traffic.
After being established, the Satavahana Empire excavated a lot of caves. After the Satavahanas, the Shivneri fort was captured by the Chalukyas of the Rashtrakut dynasty.
The Yadava dynasty established their empire between 1170 and 1308. Shivneri was built in this period as a fort. In 1443, Malik-Ul-Tajur defeated the Yadavas and captured this fort.
After that, this fort was under the rule of the Bahmani Empire. In 1470, Malik Mohammed, the representative of Malik-Ul-Tajur, again captured the fort.
Ultimately, in 1446, after the death of Malik Mohammed, the Nizam rule was established.
In 1493, the capital was shifted from Junnar to Ahmednagar. In 1595, Sultan Murtija Nizam made his brother, Kasim, a captive and kept him in this fort.
Just around that time, this fort and its surroundings were taken into custody by Malojiraje Bhosale.
When Jijamata was expecting a child, she was moved to this fort one night alongwith a security of 500 armed cavalry.
On the fort, Jijamata prayed to Goddess Shivai and made a vow that if she blessed her with a son, she would name him after her. Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was born on February 1, 1630.
He left the fort along with his mother in 1632. This fort was captured by the Mughals in 1637.
The fishermen revolted against the Mughals in 1650, however; the Mughals suppressed their uprising.
After that, in 1673, Shivaji Maharaj attempted to defeat Sardar Ajiz Khan by surrounding the fort; however, he was unsuccessful in doing so.
In 1678, the Marathas attacked Junnar and its surroundings, however, they failed in this attempt, too.
Ultimately in 1716, after 40 years, Shahu Maharaj brought this fort back under the Maratha Kingdom and after that it was handed over to the Peshwas.
Sites worth visiting on Shivneri fort
1. The temple of Goddess Shivai
While passing through the seven fortified gates to enter the fort, on crossing the fifth gate named ‘Shipai Darwaja’, you will find the temple of Goddess Shivai on your left.
There are around 6-7 caves having carved rocks at the back of this temple. These are not safe for an overnight stay. The temple also has a statue of Goddess Shivai.
2. Ambar Khana
On entering the fort through the last door, Ambar Khana is right in the front. But, it is in a ruined condition now. It used to be used for storing grains in the past.
3. Badami Talav
On the way up to the fort, there are water tanks named Ganga and Yamuna. Inside at the center of Shivneri fort wanter tank located named as “Badami Talav.”
4. Shiv Kunj
Shiv Kunj is the monument of Shivaji Maharaj on the fort. The first chief minister of Maharashtra, Shri Yashwant Rao Chavan laid the foundation of this monument and also inaugurated it.
The concept of this monument is that young Shivaji is rotating his sword and narrating his dreams to his mother Jijamata.
5. Shivaji Maharaj Birthplace
The place where Shivaji Maharaj was born is a two-storeyed building in front of Shiv Kunj.
Shivaji Maharaj was born on the ground floor of that building and that is where his statue has been set up. There is a water tank named ‘Badami’ in front of this building.
6. Kadelot kada (border)
The way ahead of Shiv temple reaches Kadelot border. The name itself suggests the importance of this place.
This border point was used to punish the criminals accused of severe crimes. Such criminals used to be pushed down from this point.
7. Manikdoh Dam
Manikdoh Dam is situated on the banks of Kukadi River. I insisted not to miss the beautiful sunset at dam. It will be ultimate experience for you.
Roads that lead to Shivneri Fort
Both the main roads that go to the fort start from Junnar village itself. The tourists from Mumbai and Pune can spend one day at the fort and return in the evening.
a) Sakhli Road
If you want to visit the fort via this road, you will have to come near the Shivaji statue placed in front of the bus station that you can see on entering the Junnar city.
On the left side of this crossroad, you will come across a temple after about one kilometer. The lane in front of this temple takes you to the rocky and steep slope of the mountain on which Shivneri fort is located.
On this road, you need to climb with the support of iron chains by searching for foot placements on the steep rock. This is a difficult road and it takes around 45 minutes to reach the top by this route.
b) The road that goes through Saat Rasta
If you continue going on the left side, the asphalt road takes you to the foot of the mountain. You come across seven doors on this route.
Their names are Maha Darwaja, Pir Darwaja, Parwangi Darwaja, Hatti Darwaja, Shipai (soldier) Darwaja, Fatak (gate) Darwaja and Kulup Darwaja respectively. It takes around an hour and half to reach the fort.
How to reach Junnar?
On the Kalyan-Nagar road, 8-9 kms after crossing Malshej Ghaat, you can see a signboard indicating that Shivneri fort is 19 kms from there.
This road goes to Shivneri fort via Ganesh Khind (Pass). It takes one day to walk up to the fort.
Trekking the Shivneri Fort
Fort of Shivneri is the best fort for those who love to enjoy nature, like adventures or study history.
Do not look at this fort only as the birthplace of the Maratha Chhatrapati i.e. Shivaji Maharaj, but also as a test of your trekking skills and visit this fort at least once.
Shivneri is a hilly fort located at the north of Pune with Junnar village is at its foot.
This fort, being the birthplace of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, has a very significant place in the history of the Maratha Empire.
But the most unfortunate truth is that Shivaji Maharaj could never rule this fort in his entire reign.
He made two attempts to capture this fort, one in 1657 and the other in 1673, but both turned out to be unsuccessful.
Afterwards in 1716, during the reign of Shahu Chatrapati, the Marathas got the fort back as a result of a treaty with the Mughals.
In order to go to Shivneri fort, one needs to go to Junnar village which is connected to Mumbai and Pune. The fort can be entered from two ways.
One route is a regular asphalt road which goes towards the south of the mountain and then one has to climb steps and go through seven huge gates. The other way is a very tough route mainly meant for trekkers.
On the way, there are several carved stone caves and some of them are difficult to enter.
The further slope is a narrow one with a lot of its parts almost ruined and it takes around one hour to reach the top of the mountain from either route.
Over time and as a result of natural changes, the fort has been damaged. But even then, its architecture is worth studying.
It is noteworthy that, though Shivaji Maharaj stayed in this fort for only six years, there is a statue of young Shivaji here.
One can get a beautiful view of Manikdoh dam, as well as Hadsar and Chawand forts. If you keep walking ahead, you can see Harishchandra fort at the extreme back of the fort.
Other structures that can be seen from the fort are Narayan fort, Lenyadri mountain, Arvi Satellite Centre’s antenna dish and Khodad Meter Taranglambi Radio Binoculars. The distance from Mumbai is 160 kms.
How to reach?
Airway: Pune is the nearest airport.
Roadway: Follow the Kalyan-Ahmednagar-Pathardi-Nanded highway and then go towards Junnar.
Railway: Pune is the nearest station.