RAIGAD FORT- Capital of The Great Maratha Empire
Raigad Fort is one of the strongest forts in Maharashtra. It has a history of the great Maratha Empire. Raigad Fort is at Mahad, in Raigad district, Western Maharashtra. The height of this fort is 2900 feet above sea level. It’s a hill fort surrounded by the Sahyadri mountain range. Also, the fort is surrounded by many other forts, for instance, Lingnan fort in the east, Makarandgad in the south, Pratapgad, Vasota, Kokandiva in the north.
Raigad fort is surrounded by natural barriers. For example mountains, forts, jungle. so Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj chose it as the capital of the Maratha empire. Previously it was Rajgad fort. It is difficult to invade or capture an enemy. British called this fort Gibraltar of the east. Rairi is another name of Raigad fort. This fort was the capital of the Maratha empire till 1689 after that it was captured by Mughal General Zulfikar Ali Khan.
Location of Raigad Fort From Major Cities-
T his fort is 160 km from Mumbai and 132 km from Pune so if are taking a flight, these 2 cities are the nearest airport cities. then you have to travel by road and visit this fort.
how to reach-
You can take public transport from Mahad which is situated near to the Mumbai- Goa highway after that there is an option of ropeway for tourists by using this ropeway you can reach directly on the fort in 10-15 min.
charges for tourists for rope way as follows-
for adults- 315 rupees, for children and senior citizens, it’s 215 rupees.
Another option to reach on top is to trek the fort or climb 1500 stairs.
INTERESTING PLACES TO VISIT ON RAIGAD FORT-
MAHADARAWAJA is one of the main entry gates of this fort. It is situated in a northwest direction. More importantly, it is connected with two towers one is 75 feet tall and another is 65 feet tall. There are holes in between towers facing towards the ground to attack the enemy. when you walk inside the gate, you see the rooms made for guards.
Jizabai’s palace –
Because of having sickness in old age, queen jizabai mother of Shivaji Maharaj could not tolerate the cold climate on Raigad so Shivaji Maharaj built a palace for her at PACHAD situated at bottom of this fort. there is a beautiful well in this luxurious palace called Takkyachi vihir. Also for queen, there is a throne of rock.
HATTI means elephant. It was built near Mahadarwaja. It used to bathe elephants. So it is named Hatti lake.
This is the place where the coronation of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj happened in 1674. It is 220 feet long and 124 feet wide. There had a throne of king Shivaji placed facing towards east direction.
It is situated in front of Rajsabha. This is the main entry gate to bastion, the upper fort.
Bajar peth means MARKET PLACE. This place was built on the left to Nagarkhana. There are two rows dedicated to the stores of the market. Each row has 22 stores. a 40 feet wide road goes between these two rows.
Jagdishwar temple has situated east of Bajar Peth. Jagadishwar means Lord Shiva. Temple is big in size. The statue of Nandi was carved in front of this temple but it is not in a good condition now. When you enter a temple you can see the hall. There are statues of Lord Hanuman carved on the walls of the sanctuary.
A TOMB OF KING SHIVAJI-
From the eastern gate of the Jagdishwar temple, there a tomb was built. This tomb is octagonal in shape. Moreover, it is the tomb of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Bhavani Tok is situated in the east. Storages of gun powder were placed right to this tomb.
VAGH DARWAJA means tiger gate. It is placed at a walkable distance from Kushavarta lake. It is one of the gates used to escape from the fort, if there ambush happened by an enemy.
It is situated in a straight direction from the Bajar path. As you walk to the Takmak Tok , The road becomes narrow. It’s a 2600 feet straight depth that goes down. at this height, wind flows fast and it is dangerous. go with precautions.
GANGA SAGAR LAKE-
This lake is situated near the Raigad municipality office. After the coronation of king Shivaji, The water used for the coronation was thrown in this lake. It was brought from 7 seas and rivers. That is why this lake is known as Gangasagar lake. It means the lake of 7 rivers and seas.
khub ladha buruj –
When you start trekking the fort, you can see the big tower. That is khub ladha buruj. Chit Darwaza was built with this tower but now it is dismantled.
This gate has situated west of stambha which means pillar. You can enter in balekilla from this gate.
When you enter the palakhi darwaja you have to complete the stairs first and you reach the menu darwaja.
Rajbhavan was built inside the upper fort/Balekilla. It was the place where king Shivaji lived. This area is 86 feet long and 33 feet wide.
When you go south from Ganga Sagar lake, in this area you can see 2 Stambha in short these are pillars. certainly, these were the 5 floors as people said. moreover, there is a mention of these pillars in Jagdishwara temple.
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