Purandar Fort is a huge hilltop built in the 13th Century AD. It stands as an epitome of Shivaji’s rising battle against Mughals and the Adil Shahi Bijapur Sultanate. This fort is also the proud birthplace of Shivaji’s eldest son Shambhaji, who later became the second Chattrapati of the clan.
Purandar spreads across the Western Ghats and is 4472 ft above the sea level. Being just at 50KM southeast of Pune, slightly ahead of Saswad village, the fort is a popular destination for all par gliders and trekkers around the city.
Golden History of the Purandar Fort:
In the year 1596, Maloji Bhosale was granted the fort by one of the Ahmednagar Sultanate rulers. At a very young age of mere 19 years, Shivaji took control of the fort, amongst many of his initial victories. However, just after a year, Shivaji lost the fort to Aurangazeb’s forces.
Murarbaji Deshpande, the Killedar, made every attempt to retain the fort. However, his efforts had gone in vain as he lost his life and Purandar was besieged by the Mughal forces.
Thereafter, Shivaji was made to sign a treaty with Aurangazeb which took away 23 forts owned by the Maratha Empire including the Purandar. Nevertheless, it took only 5 years for Shivaji to fight back the Aurangazeb rule and reestablish his control on all the fortresses. It is because of this reason that the fort is known for Shivaji’s rising battle against the Mughals.
Shivaji then spend a considerable part of his life in this fort. And it is here that the Chattrapati was blessed with his eldest son, Shambhaji.
Architectural Overview - Places to visit within the fort:
Over the years, Purandar fort has had a number of occupants and thus built in different stages by various rulers. However, despite the architectural variety, Purandar is definitely a highly defensive fort and was therefore chosen to be the detention camp by the British during the Second World War.
The fort has been constructed in two different and vivid parts. The lower part is known as the “Machi” while the upper part is known as the “Ballekilla.”
Structures within the Machi:
As you enter the fort and go ahead towards the north of Machi, you will come across various cantonments and hospitals that had been built within the fort.
Moving ahead, you will come across various temples dedicated to lord Purandareshwar after whom the fort has been named. You will also find temples dedicated to Madhavrao Peshwa in this area.
The statue of Murarbaji Deshpade, who had sacrificed his life in an effort to save the fort from the Mughals grabs most of the tourist attention.
Structures within the Ballekilla:
Taking a staircase from the machi, you reach the upper part of the fort known as Ballekilla. One of the most popular structures to witness in this area is the Dilli Darwaza or Delhi Gate. The temple of Lord Shiva, Kedareshwar temple is also a beautiful and soothing place within the fort.
The Koli Chabutra stands as a beautiful monument built to acknowledge the love and sacrifice made by the Koli community towards Swarajya, who were later mercilessly killed by Aurangazeb.
Purandar Fort is a beautiful and a must visit place for all history lovers. People who have visited the place are also of the opinion that the fort has an easy trek and can be the best, first time experience for all aspiring trekkers.