Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Information About Pratapgad Fort

‘Pratapgad’ is a hill fort located around 24Kms away from ‘Mahabaleshwar’. The fort is around 1080 meters above the sea level and is one of the best vacation destinations in and around the city. The fort provides an alluring view of the entire costal ‘Konkan’. It is this mesmerizing look that accounts for the perpetual tourist visits to this place.



Historical Summary: 

The fort holds a significant position in Maratha history, for it was here that the famous battle between Afzal Khan and Shivaji Maharaj was fought. Thereafter, the fort had been a victim of many political controversies. It was in the year 1818, during the third Anglo - Maratha war, the fort was surrendered through private negotiation. It caused a great loss to the Maratha Empire.

The visit of Jawahar Lal Nehru to the fort in the year 1957 as the then Prime Minister holds special mention. It was again in this year that a road to the fort was constructed. Jawahar lal Nehru unveiled a bronze statue of Shivaji within the premises and is still a beautiful structure to witness.  Few years later, in the year 1960, a national park and guest house were constructed within the premises.

Architecture - Dual section fortification: 

The unique construction of this fort is what makes it a place worth visiting. The fort has been constructed into two parts - Upper fort and lower fort. The two sections appear as two different forts that are clubbed together. The upper fort occupies the north - western part of the hill; whereas the lower occupies the south - eastern side. This unique construction was completed under the supervision of ‘Moropant Trambak Pingale’ - Prime Minister of Maratha Empire.



Attractions within the fort:

Apart from the construction, the fort has number of places that interests visitors. Some of them are:

Afzal Buruj: 




During the great battle of ‘Pratapgad’, Afzal Khan lost his life at the hands of Shivaji. His death was fierce as he was beheaded and was hung before all to witness. The place where Afzal Khan’s head was hung has been now turned into his tomb under which he was buried.

Bhavani Temple: 

The lower fort holds the ‘Bhavani’ temple that was built by Shivaji in the year 1661. It is said that Shivaji Maharaj was once on his way to visit the great temple of ‘Bhavani’ at Tuljapur. However, unfortunately, due to extreme rains and adverse weather conditions, he failed to reach the temple.


This made him realize that he needs to construct a beautiful ‘Bhavani’ temple within the premises of his own forts. And therefore, he selected ‘Pratapgad’ to be the appropriate place where the ‘Bhavani’ temple could be constructed. The temple till today has suffered least damage and is a beautiful place to visit.

A trip to ‘Mahabaleshwar’ is simply incomplete without a visit to this fort. Due to the archaeological specialty, the fort has remained a very important site for related study. Besides, the historical importance that adds to the glory of the Maratha Empire attracts history lovers to this place. 

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Information About Sinhagad Fort

Sinhagad’ meaning the Lion’s fort is structured 700 meters above the sea level on the Sahyadri mountain ranges. The fort is around 30KM from the main city of Pune in the southwest direction. This fort is perhaps one of the most visited forts, as it is easily reachable from the city.


The name ‘Sinhagad’ or Lion’s fort was originally named as ‘Kondana’. In the famous Battle of ‘Sinhagad’, fought in the year 1671 , the fort received its present day name to honor a great warrior in Shivaji’s army - Shri. Tanaji Malusare. The fort is a symbol of bravery and loyalty of this great martyr who lost his life for the glory of the great Maratha Empire.


‘Sinhagad’ Fort is a great place to be in, not only for history lovers; but also for anybody who likes to travel and explore the beauty of nature.

In and around Sinhagad: 

Just as we fight back this exhausting summer and the monsoons are just about to enter, visiting ‘Sinhagad’ is perhaps the best plans to make. With beautiful waterfalls and greenery all around, the fort is truly magical to witness.


The entire trip to ‘Sinhagad’ from Pune is a short journey that can take half of your day. The fort has an easy climb unlike many forts in and around the district. Besides, it is not very far from the main city and thus you spend lesser time on commute.

Apart from the glory of this fort, ‘Sinhagad’ is a popular picnic spot for tourists as it has many things to offer in relation to number of places not only within the fort but also around the fort. To begin with:

Panshet: 


If water adventure is what goes you crazy, this is the best place to be in. A one day excursion filled with fun and thrill, the place has that all you may want. Water scooters, banana, speed boat rides are only few things that you can try.
 
Lavasa: 


A family trip to Lavasa is something that you can opt for this summer. However, you only need to skip the climb to the fort. A beautiful planned and structured hill destination, Lavasa is a beautiful place with all its natural beauty and the apt climate that it offers.

Varasgaon: 


Varasgaon dam also know as Veer Pasalkar dam. This dam along with Panshet and Khadakwasla form the primary water reservoir of the entire city. It is a 50 KM distance from the fort and people who visit the fort do proceed to this dam as well. This place is also a great attraction for cyclists in the city.

Nilkantheshwar Temple: 

One of the greatest attractions of ‘Sinhagad’ after the fort is this temple of Lord Shiva. It is a must watch for all who visit the place as it has loads to offer from its ample sculptural beauty and uniqueness. The temple has remarkable carvings of many mythological characters on walls. Some of them are ‘Ashta Vinayak’, ‘Dashavatara’ etc.


Besides, ‘Sinhagad’ also has two important water parks that are the greatest holiday destination for kids in the city. Thus, apart from the climb that makes ‘Sinhagad’ fort a tedious visit during summers, the place has loads to offer for such seasons as well. Thus, visiting ‘Sinhagad’ has to top the holiday destination spot for the year. 

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Information About Sindhudurg Fort

‘Sindhudurg‘Fort -  the naval headquarter of the Maratha Empire. This fort is an ocean fort surrounded by the Arabian Sea. Standing on one of its islet known as the Kurte Island in Malvan town of ‘Sindhudurg ‘district, the fort is just around 450KM south of Mumbai and 130 KM from Goa.



Historical Overview:

The beautiful location of the fort, where it stands today is said to be chosen by Shivaji Msaharaj himself. The Emperor had himself gone and chosen the location for the fort to be constructed and had asked one of his exceptionally skilled architect or engineer, Hiroji Indalkar Deshmukh, to construct the fort.

With an aim to keep intruders away from finding ways to the land through water ways, the fort was build and named ‘Sindhudurg’; meaning the fort of the waters.

Architectural Description:

As the fort is surrounded by water on all sides, a strong and mighty construction was imperative. It took around 3 years and 100 Portugal architects, who together worked to build this mighty and beautiful fort.

The fort spreads over 48 acres and has 30 feet high walls with a thickness of 12 feet. It is said that around 70,000 KG of iron was consumed in its construction, thus giving it the structure and strength it possesses.

One very interesting part of the construction is the main entrance of the fort. It has been constructed in such a way that, the gateway could confuse intruders for a wall, as it was intelligently constructed to appear as a wall from a distance. It was only when people could see it from close, they could realize the true structure of it.

Places of Visits:

The fort with its picture perfect ambience is in itself a treat to your eyes. The mighty fort and the soothing water combination could give a tough competition to many tourists spot in and around the state and the country as a whole.

Temples within the Fort:

Besides, there are a few temples within the fort. The designs of the temples and the carvings on them are no less than the construction of the fortress. The three important temples in the fort are - Temple of Goddess Bhavani, Hanuman Temple and Jarimari.

Shivaji Maharaj Temple

However, the greatest attraction within the fort is the temple of Shivaji. Rajaram, son of Shivaji had constructed this temple within the premises and it is only one of its kinds till date.

Coconut tree with branches:



Another very interesting attraction of the fort is the coconut tree that has branches. It is one of the rarest of the coconut trees that has branches and also bears fruits. It is because of this tree that many tourists and biologists visit the place from around the world.

Water Sports:

The fort also provides number of water sports to visitors who love adventure and explore the deep beautiful ocean. This serves as a major earning source for many residents of the place.


Thus, it would not be wrong to say that ‘Sindhudurg ‘is one of the exotic holiday destinations in Maharashtra and therefore a trip to ‘Sindhudurg ‘in the mid part of the year is a must for all history and water lovers.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Information About Torna Fort

Torna Fort, also known as “Prachandagad,” meaning massive or huge. The hill fort is located in the Pune district with and elevation of 4603 ft, making it the highest fort in district.


Torna fort is of utmost importance as it was the first fort captured by Shivaji Maharaj. It was around 1643 when Shivaji Maharaj had captured this fort at a young age of 17 years. Historians refer to this as the starting of “Hindavi Swarajya.”

Torna fort - Points of Attractions: 

The structure of the fort traces back to the 13th century architecture. Because of its remarkable elevation, the fort is unique in itself and has always been a great attraction for tourists.

Some people believe that the fort had many trees of the type ”Toran” and therefore was named Torna Fort.
 

  • Toranjai and Menghai: The fort has two important temples where goddess Toranjai and goddess Menghai are worshipped. The temples have simple yet remarkable construction that can give a sense of solace to people who spend some time in these temples. Some visitors also plan a stay in the ‘Menghai’ temple to experience the real beauty and peace of the environment. 


  • Two major “Machi”: Machi is the Marathi word for wings. The fort has two major wings known as ‘Zunzar Machi’and ‘Budhala Machi’.
    Budhala Machi
     Out of the two, ‘Budhala Machi’ has been described as a breadth taking site to witness. ‘Budhla’ means vessel and the structure of the ‘Machi’ is such that it appears to be a vessel placed upside down. Some although refer to it as a rocky structure appearing as a thumb held up.
    Zunjar Machi
    ‘Zunjar Machi’ had also been a beautiful spot. However, in recent times this part has been considerably destroyed and the route leading to the ‘Machi’ is not in good condition; thus making it a difficult destination to reach. 
    Konkan Darwaza


  • Binicha Darwaza and Konkan Darwaza: This serves as one of the main entrance to the fort from northwest direction. Moving a short distance ahead, we reach another important gate way known as the ‘Kothi Darwaza’. On the other hand, ‘Konkan darwaza’ leads us to the ‘Budhala Machi’. 
    Kothi Darwaza


  • Kothi Darwaza: It is an east facing gate that leads us to the Toranjai temple. This area is seen to have nothing much that few guardrooms and other store houses. However, the ‘Kothi Darwaza’ can also lead us to the Hanuman Bastion. 
    Hanuman Bastion


  • Hanuman Bastion: One of the most popular spots within the fort is the Hanuman idol facing south. This is yet another remarkable architectural beauty to witness in the premises. 
The fort is around 60KM away from the main city of Pune. In order to reach the fort visitors need to be in the Velhe village or the Rajgad Fort. The route through Velhe opens to ‘Bini darwazaa’ and ‘Rajgad’ route leads to ‘Budhala Machi’.

Due to its magnificent height and structure, the fort is better suited for experienced trekkers as far as trekking and adventure within the fort is concerned. However, from tourist point of view, it is definitely a must visit fort.

Information About Shivneri Fort

Shivneri fort,a reminiscent of Shivaji Maharaj’s childhood. It is this place that has witnessed the birth of such a great warrior king – ‘Shri Chattrapatti Shivaji Maharaj’. And it was here that he had spent most of his growing years with his mother, Jijabai, who made him the person he was.


Shivneri Fort was built during the 17thcentury in Junnar; a place that is almost 90KM from the main city of Pune, Maharashtra. The military fortification was built by Shahaji, father of Shivaji, with an aim to have a secure and comfortable place where his wife and son could live.

The splendid architecture of this fort spreads over 1.6 KM and has a number of spiral gates. To be precise, there are seven spiral gates depicting structural firmness that it possesses. ‘Shivneri’ is a hill fort that is somewhat triangular in shape.

The second entrance to this fort is something that interests everyone who visits this place. It is at the eastern side and is locally known as ‘Chain gate’. Visitors who enter the fort through this path can climb up the main entrance using chains available in this entrance. This gives an adventurous feel to tourists visiting this place.


Statues of Jijabai and young Shivaji are another attraction within the fort. The statues are situated to the south of ‘Badami Talav’; a pond just at the center of ‘Shivneri’. The fort also has a beautiful temple of Goddess ‘Shivai’ and it is said that Shivaji was named after the same goddess. Along with this, a tomb and a mosque add to its great ambience.

Moving just two kilometers away from the fort are the ‘Lenyadri’ Caves or one of the most popular Ashtavinayak Temples in Maharashtra. People who visit the fort must visit these beautiful caves that amplify the beauty of the already picture perfect place.


It is said that the best time to visit this place is during the monsoons. The fort has two water bodies; namely ‘Ganga’ and ‘Yamuna’ flowing across. This explains why monsoons are the best time to be around this place. It is said that these two springs served as a source of continuous water supply for people who inhabited the place then. They still continue to have continuous water flow throughout the year and a remarkable scenic beauty to witness. ‘Shivneri’ fort with its picture perfect aura is one of the best forts in Maharashtra.


Finally, ‘Shivneri’ fort is the best place for people who love trekking in order to find answers to many historical questions. In short, if you are a nature lover, avid reader of history and blessed with high physical stamina; Shivneri fort is where you need to be this coming monsoon!

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Information About Raigad Fort

Raigad, meaning the King’s Fort was the capital of the great Maratha Empire. The fort is of utmost importance, as it is here where ‘Chattrapatti Shivaji Maharaj’ was crowned as the King of Maratha kingdom; that later expanded to a huge empire under his rule and guidance.


Owing to massive structure and intelligent architecture, the British referred to it as the Gibraltar of East. Today the fort lies almost 150KM from the main city of Pune and is an excellent trekking destination. 

The fort which rises upto 2100 ft above the sea level requires 1737 steps leading to its main entrance. Thankfully, today we have aerial tramway and ropeways to reach the entrance which otherwise could have been a real difficult task to accomplish. 

Historical Overview:

Raigad, named after Rairi hill was seized by Shivaji from the royal ownership of Chandrarao More in the year 1656 AD.

It was Shahaji’s wish to see this fort as the capital of the fast growing Maratha Empire. He had spent six years of his life in this beautiful fortification. Soon after his death, Shivaji was crowned to the throne of Maratha Kingdom.

The beautiful architecture was designed by exceptionally skilled engineers of those times. Most important of them was 'Abaji Sondev', the governor of Kalyan, who owns majority of praises for the fort he had built. 

Places of Attractions:  

The two important villages located at the base of Raigad are - ‘Pachad’ and ‘Raigadwadi’. After crossing the “Jit Darwaza”, located at the base of Pachad, you will reach the main entrance of the fort known as “Maha Darwaza”. The entrance itself is sufficient to suggest the majestic beauty of this fort that was built around 350 years ago. 

Maha Darwaza: 


The entrance was so wisely constructed that elephants could not crash it down; let alone soldiers with ammunitions. Starting from the entrance to its end boundaries, the fort was built with an idea to give a tough competition to any of its attackers. The mighty construction of the fort was sufficient to counter external attack and therefore required least human intervention.
Meena Darwaza and Rani Vasa: 


“Meena Darawaza” was a special entrance for ladies in the house. To the right of “Meena Darwaza” was the 8 principal chambers of secretaries. And to its left was “Rani Vasa” or the Queen’s Chamber; that accounted to six in number used specifically by the royal ladies. 

Raj Bhavan and Nagarkhana: 

As the name suggests, “Raj Bhavan” was the court of the Kingdom. It was here where all decisions, discussions, celebrations and justice was made by the great king. 


Just a little distance from the “Raj Bhavan” is the Royal Bath .It was a true evidence of how efficient and flawless drainage systems were prevailing during that era. Something, that many metros of today’s fail to achieve. 



“Nagarkhana” was nothing but an entrance made for the common man so that they could enter the “Raj Bhavan”. The pathway was so cleverly designed that despite of a considerable distance between the two; whispers could even be audible. 

Samadhi of Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj:

The most significant and respectable site within the fort is the ‘Holi Cha Mal’, where the great Samadhi is located. Earlier it was a market place and every year the ground was used for Holi celebration. There are a number of temples in the place, the most important being the “Shirkai Bhavani temple” and “Jagdishwar“ temple.


Besides, a statue of Jijabai, Bara Tanki or huge water reservoir,‘Rameshwar’ temple are other important places of visits in and around the fort.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

All Forts of Shivaji Maharaj

Forts in Maharashtra, stand high and strong narrating stories about her fame and regal bearing. Talking in numbers, there are around 350 forts surrounding the state. That’s quite a many.



Well, most of these forts relate to the Maratha rule; or more precisely, to Shivaji Maharaj and his conquer. History reveals that Shivaji Maharaj, in the year 1643, at a mere age of 16 years captured his first fort known as Torna or Prachandagad. Thereafter, the history repeated itself over and again. And at the time of his death, he owned almost all forts that we have today.

Shivaji Maharaj, founder of Maratha Empire aimed at establishing “Swarajya” in our motherland. A land that is united and protected cannot be invaded by outsiders. And it was for this purpose, that one of his ruling strategies was to conquer as many forts as he could.

Not only did he capture forts, but also took utmost efforts to maintain these forts in best conditions. All of his forts had number of barracks for his staffs and officers. He also maintained water tanks,’Ambarkhana’ and ‘Darukhana’ within the premises.

The forts also served as a store house of arms and ammunition. Shivaji appointed personnel who could store and maintain ammunitions safely or efficiently. All of these appointments were carried out after applicants were strictly interviewed and examined.

Today these forts are a great tourist attraction. The administration and maintenance that persisted then still enthralls tourists who visit and learn about these forts. Well, people who visit Maharashtra can consider their stay futile if they do not visit the forts she can boast off.

Well, if you want to know more about these forts and have plans of visiting these historically important places; below is a list that can help to plan your trip.

Lists of forts in Maharashtra: 

Here is a list of beautiful forts in and around Maharashtra. Visit these to have the real taste of Maharashtra:


  • Lohagad Fort
Lohagad Fort

  • Panhala Fort 
Panhala Fort

  • Vijaydurg Fort 
Vijaydurg Fort

  • Ghodbunder Fort  
Ghodbunder Fort

  • Sajjangad Fort 
Sajjangad Fort

Torna Fort

Sindhudurg Fort

Raigad Fort

Shivneri Fort
Pratapgad Fort

  • Purandar Fort 
Purandar Fort

  • Rajgad Fort   
Rajgad Fort

Sinhgad Fort

  • Harishchandragad Fort
Harishchandragad Fort