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. 

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