RAIGAD – The King’s Fort

“राजा खासा जाऊन पाहता गड बहुत चखोटा.

चौतर्फा गडाचे कडे तासिल्याप्रमाणे दिड गाव उंच.

पर्जन्यकाळी कडियावर गवत उगवत नाही आणि धोंडा तासीव एकच आहे.

दौलताबाद पृथ्वीवर चखोट गड खरा, परंतु तो उंचीने थोडका

दौलताबादचे दशगुणी उंच असे देखोन बहुत संतुष्ट झाले आणि बोलिले,

तक्तास जागा हाच गड करावा”.

Translation in English:

‘The King observed that mountain of “Rairi” was the best place, steep on all sides and tallest of all, the whole mountain being a seamless rock. Daulatabad (Another Large Fort) is also good, but less tall than this one. This fort is taller and better than Daulatabad and hence the best place for the throne.’

It is mentioned in “Sabhasad Bakhar”(Ancient letter) how Shivaji Maharaj selected the fort as the first capital of the Maratha empire.

INTRODUCTION

Rairi Fort was built by Chandrarao More who was the king of Jawali. It was seized by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in 1656. Maharaj renovated and expanded the fort and then renamed it as ‘Raigad‘ which means the King’s Fort.  Lately, Raigad becomes the First capital of independent Marathi kingdom or “Hindavi Swarajya”.

This 2700 ft above sea level fort is now an important link between the Deccan plateau and Coastal Maharashtra. Graded as the most secure and most appropriate location by the King himself, the fort stands proudly showing the strength of the Maratha Empire. The fort is of great pride for the Maratha and is a reminder of the bravery and audacity.

Bhagwa

While most of its parts are in ruins now, the fort still boasts of the brave history of Marathas. European Historians have described Raigad as

“The Gibraltar of the East”

HISTORY

Raigad has been witnessed the rise and also the downfall of Swarajya as Shiv Rajyabhishek (The Coronation ceremony of Shivaji Maharaj) was the most significant event in the history of India in which Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj became the King of the newly formed Maratha kingdom after a struggle of more than 300 years.

But on 3rd April 1680, Shivaji Maharaj passed away on this fort, which was the most devastating moment for the Maratha regime.

BASE VILLAGE & REGION

Raigad fort is situated Pachad village which is 25 km north of the modern-day Mahad town in Raigad District. Being situated comparatively near to the sea, with Mahad being in reach, and at the same distance from Mumbai, Pune, and Satara.  

CONSTRUCTIOn

Key aspect of the Raigad fort from an architectural point of view is that if someone sees the fort from the foothills; it looks like a huge mountain and no fortification can be seen. This proved very beneficial to misguide and confuse enemies as there were similar mountains all around.

Construction of Raigad Fort

Construction of Raigad fort is not possible without chief architect/engineer Hiroji Indulkar & his team. While building Raigad fort, he even mortgages his home and belongings as Raigad was facing a fund issue when Shivaji Maharaj was in confinement of Aurangzeb. When Maharaj Safely returned to Raigad fort and He overwhelmed by all the amazing work and sacrifices done by the Hiroji and asked Hiroji what can do in return. Hiroji requested he only wants that his name inscribed on one of tile and that place on of the entrance of Jagdishwar Temple so that whenever Maharaj visit this temple, his foot indirectly touches Hiroji’s Name. Maharaj implemented Hiroji’s wish and this tile still in good condition just ahead of the Samadhi of Shivaji Maharaj that showing loyalty, selfless and dedication towards work by Hiroji Indulkar.

“Hiroji Indulkar is at the service of…..!!!”

FORTIFICATIONS

One of the reasons for the uniqueness of Raigad Fort is having numerous fortifications such as Rock Cut Entrances, historical monuments, Ancient Temples, Natural water resources & Ruins that still in good condition and each one of them having their respective stories that take you back into the pages of History & surely inspire you whenever you visited.

Raigad fort Map

Nane Darwaja

One of Entrance of Raigad situated at the base of the fort through which one of the natural trail passed towards the fort. this entrance having temple of lord hanuman and unknown.

Nane Darwaja of Raigad Fort

Fortified Wall

It covers base portion of Takmak Tok & Hirkani Cliff which include Mahadarwaja(Main Entrance)

Fortified wall of Raigad Fort

Mahadarwaja

All the route to the fort passes through the “Maha Darwaja” (Huge Door) which is previously closed at the time of sunset. This is a ‘Gomukhi’ kind entrance which protected by two bastions Jai & Vijay on both sides of door and Curvy way to prevents the elephant to get inside the fort

Upper portion of Mahadarwaja and Fortified wall of Raigad Fort

Canon

This series of canons lies just ahead of upper portion of Mahadarwaja

Canon at Raigad Fort

Hatti Talav

This Pond was especially used for bathing the elephants from the fort and now used as one of water resource but it mostly remain dry in summer and winter seasons.


Hatti talav of Raigad Fort

Gangasagar Talav

It was named as ‘Gangasagar’ because the waters from seven main rivers of India which were brought for Coronation ceremony of Maharaj were poured into this lake and it became the main source of water on the fort.

Paranomic view of Gangasagar Talav of Raigad Fort

Upper Portion of Raigad Fort

Place to see in Raigad Fort

Sapt Manzil

It was used as Watchtower as these pillars were said to be almost five-story high from remaining carvings. There is also a small stairs route inside the wall to enter into this place.

Two Sapt Mazil at center

Palkhi Darwaja

The convoy of the king and the king himself used this entrance.

Baalekilla

Highest point of Raigad fort that having queen palaces, grainary storage, royal rooms and several ruins.

Baalekilla region of Raigad Fort

Raani Niwas

Queen Palace which has a ruined large rooms with a bathroom system. There are a six spacious Palaces for 6 queens of Maharaj. 4 Palaces are connected whereas the last 2 are separated by walls.

Walls of Raani Niwas of Raigad Fort

Dhaanyache Kothar

It having 3-grain storage rooms

Khalbat Khana

This is a underground secret chambers used for private discussion.

Khalbat Khana of Raigad Fort

Ashtpradhan Niwas

This is the remnants of Minister’s Quarters

Ashtpradhan Niwas of Raigad Fort

Mena darwaja

This was supposedly the private entrance for the royal ladies of the fort that lead to the queen’s quarters.

Mena darwaja of Raigad Fort

Hirkani kada

A woman by the name of Hirakani from a nearby village had come to sell milk to the people living at the fort. She happened to be inside the fort when the gates got closed and locked past sunset. Hearing the cries of her infant son back at the village echo after nightfall, the anxious mother couldn’t wait till dawn and courageously climbed down the steep cliff in pitch dark all for love for her little one. She later repeated this extraordinary feat in front of Shivaji Maharaj and was bravely rewarded for it. In appreciation of her courage and bravery, Maharaj built the Hirakani Bastion over this cliff.

Sinhasan of Shivaji Maharaj

Throne was made of 32 Maund(around 1280 kn) of Gold and studded with diamonds. This enclosure had been acoustically designed to aid hearing from the doorway to the throne

Throne of Shivaji Maharaj at Raigad Fort

Rajsadar

Remnants of two huge courtrooms which were used to address people.

Rajsadar of Raigad Fort

Nagarkhana

As its name Suggest, the loft on this building was used to play huge drums during certain times in a day.

Nagarkhana

Wadeshwar Mahadev Mandir

Ancient temple having a Lord Shiva’s idol as well as Nandi(bull) at outside

Wadeshwar Mahadev Mandir

Kushawart Talav (Pond)

Kushawart Talav of Raigad Fort

Wagh Darwaja

This is secret entrance hidden in the below region of Wadheshwar Mandir and is not visible from the top. You need to figure out and follow natural trails from Kushavart talav and move ahead to Wagh Darwaja and it’ll take maximum half hour to reach here. There is no sign of any path going down from this entrance.

Son of Shivaji Maharaj, Chhatrapati Rajaram had escaped through this entrance when Raigad was surrounded by Mughal’s ‘Zulfiqar-khan’

Wagh Darwaja of Raigad Fort

Holi cha Maal

A wide-open ground used to celebrate Holi festival

Holi cha Maal of Raigad Fort

Shivaji Maharaj Statue

Statue of Shivaji Maharaj at Holi cha Maal

Shirkai Mandir

A small temple of Shirkai Bhavani who is a Presiding deity of the fort.

Hatti Khana

It used to kept elephants of the fort. Basically, Baby elephant is brought into fort from the base and raised it in this place.

Bajaarpeth

The marketplace which having 42 shop structures built on a high plinth in such a way that one can shop even while riding a horse. Each shop has space to sell the goods and two rooms for storage and a large passage behind two rooms. It used to serve approx. 2500 people who used to stay on the fort.

Market of Raigad Fort

Takmak Tok

One can view the execution point called Takmak Tok, a cliff from which sentenced prisoners were thrown to their death. This area has been fenced off.

Takmak cliff of Raigad Fort

Daarugolabhandar

Remnants of Magazine

Kolimb Talav(Pond)

Kolimb Talav of Raigad Fort

Jagdishwar Mandir

JAGDISHWAR – GOD OF THE WORLD

Temple having big Shivalinga with a tortoise carved on the floor with Nandi at outside.

Jagdishwar Mandir

Samadhi of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj

One of important memorial of Maharaj not only in Raigad but also in Maharashtra as Ashes of Shivaji Maharaj is kept inside the hollow base.

Samadhi of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj
Inscription of Raigad Fort

Translation in English:

“This majestic building of Jagdishwar which brings happiness to all is built on the word of Shivaji Maharaj on the auspicious muhurta in the Hindu year of 1596. The architect by name Hiroji built all wells, ponds, gardens, roads, pillars, monuments and palaces. These will remain till the sun and moon are there in the skies…!!”

Shivaji Maharaj’s faithful dog ‘Waghya’ who committed suicide by jumping into the funeral when Maharaj was cremated. This is one of the topics of debate as some people say there is no evidence in history whereas few believe this story strongly.

Kalaa Haud

Kalaa Haud of Raigad Fort

Bhavani Tok

It the farthest point on the east side so you need to walk for half an hour.

Endpoint of Raigad Fort

Bhavani Mandir

Last fortification of Raigad lies just below Bhavani tok so you need to descend about 10 minutes to reach here. you will surely discover the beautiful and peaceful side of Raigad fort by watching surrounding sceneries of sahyadri mountains.

Bhavani Mandir of Raigad Fort
Panoramic view of Surrounding mountains of Raigad

Watertanks

There was ‘Drain out system’ placed in all lakes so whenever they wanted to clean the lake, they just remove that 1 solid rock brick. Unfortunately, this drain out system is missing in most of the pond now hence water can’t be stored there.

Watertanks of Raigad Fort

Unknown Ruins

OLD RAIGAD

HOW TO REACH

By Public Transportation –

First you can reach Mahad by Express Trains & Maharashtra State Transport ST bus available from Mumbai and Pune.

There is ST Bus available from Mahad Bus stand which goes directly to the base of fort otherwise you can catch any ST that going to Nizampur village and get down at Pachad Naka which is about 2 km from Base of Raigad  

Also, there is Tumtum(6 seater Auto) from Mahad Bus stand and it also goes directly to the base village which charged about 50 rs per.  

I caught ST from Borivali Nancy Colony around 10 PM and reach at Pachad Naka around 4 AM.  

TREKKING & ADVENTURE

Because of its historical importance, easy to reach and also richness in fortifications & ruins, Raigad is one of the most famous trekking destinations in Maharashtra. There is three-way to reach the top of the fort.

Raigad Fort Trek

1)Via Chitta Darwaja:  Easy

This route is for all common people as there is a total of 1737 rock steps from start to end to reach the top. So it requires high endurance as steps are in height.

Note : You will missed to visit Nane Darwaja, Andherya caves if you take this route.

Time to Ascend: 2 hrs Max.

Time to Descend: 1 hrs Max.

2)Via Nane Darwaja: Moderate

This route is ideal for trekkers as it goes from the jungle and then it meets the above first route just before Mahadarwaja. Now this route is well made and marked by government & local authorities.

Note : You’ll be missed to visit Khubladha bastion and Valusare Khind if you take this route.

Time to Ascend: 3 hrs max.

Time to Descend: 1.30 hrs Max.

3)Via Ropeway:

For those who are not fond of trekking, there is a Ropeway to reach the Raigad Fort which takes only 5 minutes. The cost of the ropeway is in range of 180-300 and varies depending on the age of the person.  

Source : TreksandTrails

Note : Coming from Mahad, take left road (in photo) if you are going through Chitta and Nane Darwaja route, otherwise go straight till the end for Ropeway.

Road to Raigad Fort

Time to Explore:

Since it one of the largest fort of Maharashtra, it has a number of fortifications explore. So it will take a maximum of 2 Days to complete the Exploration of Raigad fort.  

FOOD & WATER FACITILIES:

Few eateries and hotels are there nearby the fort and even there is MTDC Canteen in the Hirakni buruj region of the fort.   

Refreshments in Ragiad Fort

Even local people who stay behind Bajarpeth(market) and some of on another side of Jagdishwar Temple also arrange delicious Marathi meal items like Pithal-Bhakri, Thecha, rice, etc on the cheapest cost.  some local sells Water Bottle(30rs), Lemon Juice, Taak, etc.

Parking Facilities :

There is a lot of paid parking space available. Bikes, four wheelers, and Volvo buses can be parked easily.

ACCOMMODATION:

Accommodation in Raigad Fort

There are many hotels nearby the vicinity of Raigad fort Maharashtra. MTDC resort with good accommodation facilities is also available in Raigad. 
As per my experience, there is one forest officer who also in charge of the place known as ‘Dharmashala’ at just ahead of Hatti Talao. I don’t idea about the exact money he charges but sure that it will be low as this room is specially made for common trekkers. I have stayed at this forest officer’s home in free of cost. He is very friendly, helpful and very popular among people who visiting Raigad fort number of times on special occasions. He also provides water for bathing and other activities as there are separate toilet and bathroom at just a few steps ahead from his home.  

USEFUL LINK

For Ropeway Charges, MTDC hotels booking and other Information regarding Raigad, you can check the official website of Raigad: https://raigadropeway.com/

SURROUNDINGS:

Lingana Pinnacle which is popular for adventure activities like Rock climbing and Rappelling is situated to the east side and Kokandiva to the north. If the skies are clear, we can see Famous trekking forts like Historical Rajgad-Torna on the east and Pratapgad, Vasota and Makarandagad on the south which provides some beautiful trek routes in Maharashtra.

If you are a hardcore trekker or you desire to experience Sahyadri more closely, then you can also plan range trek from Sinhagad-Rajgad-Torna-Raigad. Do refer blogs and other important information before planning this range trek as it is one of the hardest still worthful to do once in a lifetime.  

NEARBY PLACES

Samadhi of Rajmata Jijabai(Chhatrapati Shivaji’s mother):

Jijabai(Aausaheb) was said to be a lady of high values and spirits and lived so till her death. She was said to be the person behind the greatness of Shivaji Maharaj and the actual creator of the idea of the Maratha Empire.

Source: Internet

Apart from the Statute of Aausaheb, this place has several ruins that still giving inspiration to our generation and are now under the protection of the Archaeological Survey of India. To reach here, take the left road from Pachad Naka (1.1km).

Waghbil (Tiger’s Cave):

This is a hidden place near the Raigad fort. While going toward Raigad from Pachad, you’ll see two holes into the mountain located opposite to the Raigad. The route to Waghbil goes from behind the shop at a few distances from the base of Stairs route of Raigad which requires hardly 5 minutes to reach.

Waghbil

BEST TIME TO VISIT:

The ideal time to visit the Raigad Fort is from November to March as winters are not harsh here. The weather remains pleasant, and you will enjoy trekking or ropeway the most during winters. Summers are hot in Raigad as the mercury reaches up to 50 degrees Celsius. Therefore, March to June is generally avoided by tourists.

Devotees of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj not only in Maharashtra but all around the globe come together on special occasions like Shivajayanti (Birthday of Shivaji Maharaj), Shivarajyabhishek, Diwali and celebrate this festival in traditional ways.   This is one of the unique experiences that you don’t have to be missed in your lifetime.  

Source : Lokasatta

ADVICE

-Do take a guide if you are not aware of Raigad history; they are pretty knowledgeable.

Guide at Raigad Fort

-Follow all instructions and timing and all the rules displayed by govt.

Rules at Raigad Fort

-Don’t litter and Keep the place clean

-Avoid long weekends/and vacations due to rush.

Rush at Raigad Fort

-Respect all the fortifications in the fort whenever you visit as Raigad fort is the temple for billion admirers of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

Check the blog about my trek experience of Raigad fort

Raigad- A Life Changing Experience

And I finally planned to celebrate the Diwali festival of the year 2018 in the Raigad fort and return, I got an unforgettable moment for a lifetime and also the inspiration & confidence to do more solo treks that changed my life completely.

Here is my trek experience about my first overnight solo trek.

Read & Feel the experience.

Enjoy!!

YOUTUBE VIDEO

Final Thought about Raigad Fort:

“Raigad is not just a tourist spot; it is a sacred place of pilgrimage which holds the imprints of the grand vision of Hindavi Swarajya as cherished by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.” 

JAY BHAVANI.. JAY SHIVAJI..

KEEP WANDERING…

-Wandering Mann

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