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.

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