Discussion in 'Maharashtra' started by rootle, Jul 24, 2016.
If there were only one fort in Maharashtra I could visit, which one would you suggest?
In Maharashtra alone, there's already about 350 forts. This state has the largest number of forts in all of India. All these forts have great history behind them and if you can, they're worth it to visit. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the great Maharajah ruler, built over 13 forts in his lifetime. But still, despite this huge number of forts, it's inevitable that a few stands out.
I cannot seem to pick one out, so I'll just list the top ten forts that you must visit in Maharashtra:
Raigad Fort - This fort is located in the Mahad, Raigad District of Maharashtra. It was Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj who built this fort. He made this fort his capital when he was crowned as King of a Maratha Kingdom in 1674. It is about 870 metres above sea level. You'd have to climb the 1737 steps to reach the fort by foot. Unfortunately, it was destroyed by the British Empire in the year 1818. The fort was called the Rairi Fort before Shivaji renovated it and renamed it the Raigad Fort. Though it's in ruins now, you can see the remains of the khalbatkhana, queen's quarters, a main palace, three watchtowers and a market. There's also a tomb for Shivaji's mother at the base of the fort. There's one wall here called the Hirakani Buruj, which still stands today. The story goes that a woman came to the fort to sell milk but she was locked in by sunset. Because she cared for her son so much, she climbed the wall by the cliff to get home. She repeated her climbing in front of the King Shivaji and this wall was built because of her courage. Just because of the history of this fort, it's definitely worth a visit. It is also said that the King Shivaji spent most of his days here.
Vijaydurg Fort - You can find this in the Sindhudurg Coast in Maharashtra. It was constructed during the time of Raja Bhoja II of the Shilahar Dynasty. It was renovated by King Shivaji though. It is believed to date back to the year 1193. It is surrounded by the Arabian Sea on its three sides. The saffron flag here is personally hoisted by the King Shivaji himself. Due to its location, this fort was practically invulnerable to captors. Vijay means victory and Durg means fort. This is also the oldest fort in the Sindhudurg Coast. Much of the structures in the fort are in ruins now but you can see the remains of the khalbatkhana, food storage and court.
Daulatabad Fort - You can find this in Devagiri in Daulatabad in Maharashtra. Like the Vijaydurg Fort, this fort was also almost impregnable. It has triple and double walls to protect it from attackers. It was the Yadavas of Deogiri that constructed this fort during the 11th Century AD. This was one of the most powerful forts of the Deccan. Besides its great defence system, the fort also has a unique water system that supplied water to the inhabitants during that era. Inside the fort, you'll find step wells, court buildings, temples and palaces. There's an entrance here called the Andheri or The Dark Passage. Enemies entering the passage are unable to finish the whole route or even enter the fort premises.
Murud Janjira Fort - This is one of the strongest and undefeated marine forts in the town of Murud, in the Western Coast of India. The translation of the name Murud Janjira is Island of the Siddis. Originally though, it was a fisherman-chieftain by the name of Rajaram Patil, that built this fort. It was so much smaller back then and was named Medhekot. Later, it was captured by Nizam Shah of Ahmednagar and much later by Malik Ambar. From there on, the Siddis became the primary occupants of the fort and they renovated it to what it is today. The great King Chhatrapati Shivaji even tried to capture the fort, but he was unsuccessful. Now, the walls and the bastions of the fort are intact but much of the other structures like palaces, mosques and tanks are in ruins already.
Panhala Fort - This fort is located in the town of Panhala in Maharashtra. This fort was built in between 1178 and 1209 CE by many rulers including Bhoja II and Shivaji. It is believed that even Kahan Gangu Telli has some relation to the fort. This is one of the largest forts of the Deccans as well which has numerous underground tunnels. Many of the structures inside the fort are still intact. You'll find temples, palaces and step wells inside. The Tarabai Palace is still in use now as a school, hostel and houses several government offices.
Tung Fort - Another name for this fort is Kathinghad Fort, Kathin meaning difficult. To reach the top of the fort, you'd have to trek steep and difficult climbs. It was the Adil Shahi Dynasty that built this fort in the 1600 CE. However, this was captured by Shivaji after. It is just a small fort and it's more like a watch tower. It cannot handle more than 200 troops at a time. But I think the best part about this fort is the trek to reach it. It's truly an adventure like no other and I'm sure hikers will have a lot of fun trying to reach its peak.
Shivneri Fort - You can find this fort near Junnar in the Pune District of Maharashtra. This fort is the birthplace of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Inside the fort, there's a small temple dedicated to the Goddess Shivai Devi, to which Shivaji was named after. Although it has a main entrance, there's also another entrance called as the Chain Gate since one has to hold chains to reach the top of the gate. The major structures here are the tomb, mosque and prayer hall. Other structures in the fort are the pond, water springs and statues.
Prabalgad Fort - You can find this fort between Matheran and Panvel in Maharashtra. It was known as Muranjan Fort before Shivaji conquered it and renamed it. This fort was built during the Bahaman Sultanate to keep an eye on the nearby forts of Panvel and Kalyan. To reach the fort is quite a challenge, as the climb is very steep and dangerous. There are no hand rails to guide your ascent and the descent is probably more difficult especially for people who have a fear of heights.
Torna Fort - You can find this in the Pune District of Maharashtra. This was the first fort captured by Shivaji at the age of 16 years old. This is also the highest hill fort in the district at an elevation of 1,403 metres above sea level. Its former name is Prachandagad but Shivaji renamed it to Torna Fort. It takes about three hours just to reach the top of the fort. En route to its peak, you'll encounter temples, buildings and water tanks.
Korigad Fort - This is in the town of Lonavala in the Pune District of Maharashtra. This is one of the forts conquered by the King Shivaji. Inside the fort, you'll find the Korai Devi Temple and several smaller temples. There are also about six cannons inside the fort. Most of the walls of the forts are still intact.
There you go. I hope you enjoyed this list!
Yeah thanks, that's a very extensive list. When I finally get the opportunity to go to MH I'll try to go to some of these. I should also read up a little more into the history of Maharashtra and these forts.
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