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Rajgad (Pune)

It is a known fact that most of the history of Maharashtra has been composed and reconstructed by none other than the Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. And when there is any mention of this warrior king, Rajgad cannot be left behind. This magnificent and spacious fort on a hill in the Sahadri range where Shivaji spent almost 24 years of his life. Until 1672, it was the capital of the Maratha Empire.

At 1,395 meters above sea level, Rajgad fort is located right in the middle of Nira, Velvandi, Gunjavani and Kanad rivers. It is said to be one of the most fortified and almost invincible forts, built after Shivaji first took possession of Torna fort at the young age of 16 where he found gold in a bastion. The entire treasury was spent on the construction of Rajgad fort on the hill which was earlier known as 'Murumbadevacha Dongar'. The structure of the fort consisted of three galleries ('Machi') named Padmavati, Suvela and Sanjeevani and a large fort ('Balekilla') with 'Alu Darwaza' with artistic carved doors.

As Rajgad fort served as Shivaji's capital, there was provision for adequate water supply throughout the year. In fact, two large tanks of potable water are still in use today. The fort is an example of the excellent structure and construction that provided protection to the soldiers and Shivaji as well. The two-tiered ramparts of Sanjeevani Machi are just a miracle. The path is built between two ramparts and you have to go through a small hidden door carved in stone. The ramparts are so strong that they repel the biggest attacks. There is a large hole in a rock at Suvela Machi. This narrow gallery is also secured with curved ramparts, allowing the builder to pay attention to the details that went into it.

There is a temple of Goddess Padmavati and a water tank on Padmavati Machi. Rajgad fort witnessed many adventurous events in Shivaji's life, including the birth of Shivaji's son Rajaram; Shivaji's successful return from Aurangzeb's captivity; Tragic demise of his queen Saibai, etc. He also showed the ideal governance system of the Maratha king.

The fort is very popular among tourists and trekkers because of the amazing view you get from its ramparts. You can see other forts in the Sahyadri range like Torna, Raigad, Purandar, Lingana, Pratapgad, Chandragad, Mangalgad etc. For those who want to stay overnight at the fort, there are options like the premises of Padmavati temple or the big hall built for it. There is enough water and meals can be arranged with prior notice from the locals. The fort is quite accessible and state transport buses run from Swargate bus stand in Pune. Rajgad is well connected by roads and local transport is easily available from Nasrapur, Velha and Bhor.

Distance from Mumbai: 210 km