Friday, 6 July 2018

Information About Lohagad Fort

Maharashtra has many prominent forts that remind us about the glorious period of the Maratha empire. One of the forts without which its history is incomplete is, the Lohagad Fort. It is one of the hilly forts in Maharashtra built on the fabulous Sahyadri range of mountains at about 3,390 ft. above the sea level. Despite being under different rulers such as the Satavahanas, the Chalukyas, the Rashtrakutas, the Yadavas, the Bahmanis, Nizams, Mughals, and Marathas, it hasn't lost the charm. In fact, it has withstood all the ravages unleashed by the time with all its might. No wonder it was named Lohagad, which means Iron Fort.  What makes this fort stands out among all others is its brilliant fortification. Situated near one of the popular hill stations of Maharashtra – Lonavla, Lohagad fort is easily accessible from Pune and Mumbai.

How to Reach Lohagad Fort

Lohagad fort is reachable through both roads and railways. When using the roads, visitors can reach Malavali railway station using the old Mumbai-Pune highway. The base village to Lohagad fort is 9 km from Malavali. If taking the rail journey, visitors from Mumbai must get down at Lonavla, and board a local train to Pune. They can alight at Malavali railway station and walk down to the Lohagad fort. From Pune, a local train to Lonavla passes through Malavali, From there, visitors can either hike all the way or take a rickshaw and reach the base village.

Attractions at Lohagad Fort  (What to see at Lohagad Fort)

Ganesh Darwaja

This is the main entrance Darwaja (gate) to the fort, which is followed by the other three gates, namely Narayan, Hanuman, and Maha-Darawaja. After entering the main gate, a few metres away is a broken idol of Lord Ganesh. From here, at a  few distances away towards the right is the Narayan Darwaja. On the right of this Darwaja is a tiny, broken idol of Goddess Gauri in crossed-leg seated position with upturned souls, and hands resting on knees. She is wearing four bracelets in each hand, a bodice, and a crown on her head. Between Narayan and Hanuman Darwaja, there are two huge caves which the Marathas used for storing Nachni (ragi), and rice. From both these gates, at a distance is a carved image of Lord Hanuman on a cliff which is also half broken. Walking a few metres from here is the Hanuman Darwaja, which is believed to be built by Aurangazeb. The last gate is the Maha gate built in Moghul style with an arch, and a guard room.

Old Dargah

After entering the Maha Darwaja, there is dargah built on a stone platform. Locals say it was built in honour of Aurangazeb's and his favorite wife. There is no inscription of any sort on the dargah to prove the claim though. The dargah has one entrance and a dome. There are ruins of a small court-house near the dargah and remains of the armory.

Laxmi Kothi

There are a few caves inside the fort used for a specific purpose. But the main and important cave for the Marathas was the Laxmi Kothi. This cave was used by the Maratha chief, Nana Phadnavis to hide the treasure looted from the Surat's Nizam.

Water Tank

There are two water tanks inside Lohagad fort supposedly used for drinking purpose. The water tanks are built in octagonal and hexagonal shapes. These tanks are usually dry except during monsoon season.

Vinchu Kata (Scorpion tail)

This is the extension of the fort long and wide enough to offer a fantastic view of the gorgeous Sahyadri range. The specific size of the trail is 1500m in length and 3m in width. It is separated from the main fort and is a part of the mountain. It is named so because of its looks that resemble a scorpion sting. During those days, it was used to watch the nearby areas.

Other attractions you can enjoy at Lohagad fort are Mahadev temple, 16 angle lake, 8 angle lake, Buruj, cannons. Exploring the entire fort will take minimum 2 hours, depending on your pace. The best time to visit it is from September to March. 

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