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Raigad Fort (Raigad)

Raigad, a fort which was also known as the ‘Gibraltar of the East by the Europeans is a magnificent fort that was also once the capital of the Maratha Empire.

This fort which was earlier known as Rayri was named ‘Raigad’ which means ‘Royal Fort’, by the Founder of the Maratha Empire, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj who made it his capital.

Districts/ Region    
Raigad district, Maharashtra, India.

History    
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj won this fort in 1656 in a battle with Chandrarao More, a feudal lord ruling a part of the Western Ghats. Due to the fort's massive size, steep slopes and easy communication with the mainland and the sea, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj chose this fort as his capital in 1662.

After which he asked the governor of Kalyan, Abaji Sondev and architect Hiroji Indulkar to embellish the fort with royal and public buildings. There were about a total of 300 stone houses, mansions, palaces, offices, a coin mint, garrisons accommodating 2000 men and a market which was one mile long on the fort. The fort was well decorated with gardens, pathways, pillars, bastions, water reservoirs and residences of commoners and dignitaries!   

The fort's fortifications and defence were created in such a way that it was accessible to family and friends but was impossible for foes to penetrate. One such bastion built to make the fort impenetrable was the Hirkani Buruj. The Buruj has an interesting story behind its origin. A milk selling woman named Hirkani used to visit the fort to sell milk every day. Her home was at the base of the fort. One day she got late, and the gates of the fort closed after sunset. 

She persuaded the guard to let her go as her infant child was alone at home waiting for her. However, the guard refused, and Hirkai thought of another way to reach her child. She started descending the steep slope and made her way back home. In the morning, when the gates opened and the guard came to look for Hirkani, she was gone and this issue reached Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. He was impressed by her willpower and rewarded her while constructing a bastion from the point she descended named ‘Hirkani Buruj’.

There are numerous structural remains on the fort. Hundreds of plinths evince the residential structure. The main complex of Royal houses can still be seen on the fort. The main court of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj known as Darbar and the royal housing complex are adjacent to each other. Darbar is the place where the coronation of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj took place. 

This is considered an architectural marvel. Not far from this is a residential complex of nobles. There are some of the structures identified as storehouses.There is a large water reservoir known as Gangasagar. Not far from this is a marketplace also can be seen.
Among the structural complexes on the fort, another important one is of Jagadishwar Temple and the Samadhi of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

Geography    
Raigad is a hill fort situated in the Sahyadri Mountain ranges or the Western Ghats. It has steep slopes and rises 2851 ft above sea level. The top of the fort stretches about 2.5 KM from the East to the West and 1.6 KM from North to South.

Weather/Climate    
The prominent weather in this region is rainfall, the Konkan belt experiences High Rainfall (ranges around 2500 mm to 4500 mm), and the climate remains Humid and warm. The temperature reaches up to 30 degrees Celsius during this season.
Summers are hot and humid, and the temperature touches 40 degrees Celsius.
Winters in this region have a comparatively milder climate (around 28 degrees Celsius), and the weather remains Cool and Dry.

Things to do    
 
1.    Maha Darwaja
2.    Hirkani Buruj
3.    The King’s Durbar
4.    Takmak Tok
5.    Bhavani Tok
6.    Trek up the fort.
7.    Ropeway
Apart from these Raigad has scenic views of beautiful valleys and mountain breeze which may make you want to travel back in time!

Nearest tourist place    
While planning a trip to Raigad here are a few things you could visit too!
●    Sagargad fort. (95 KM)
●    Pachad, Jijamata Samadhi (2.1 KM)
●    Harihareshwar Temple (86 KM)
●    Bankot (99 KM)
●    Mahad (25 KM)
●    Gandharpale Caves (26.5 KM)

How to travel to tourist place

●    Air: The closest airport to Raigad is the Mumbai International Airport. (169 KM)
●    Railways: The closest railway station is the Veer Railway station which is 30 KM from the fort and is connected to Mumbai. 
●    Road: One may take the Mumbai-Goa highway (NH 17) up to a town called Mahad, Mahad is 28 KM from the fort, ST buses and private vehicles are available for transportation.

Way up to the Fort: There are two options to ascend the fort, one may trek their way up the fort, which is a climb of 1450 steps taking about 2-3 hours depending on one's pace and second being the Ropeway, through the ropeway one reaches the mountain top in only 5 minutes while enjoying the scenery around them.

Special food speciality and hotel    
Maharashtrian cuisine is mainly found on the fort, there are no specific restaurants, however, there is no shortage of food or water on the Fort.

Accommodation facilities nearby & Hotel/ Hospital/Post Office/Police station    
●    There are residential facilities on the fort and at the base of the fort. 
●    Mahad Taluka police station is the closest police station. (25.5 KM)
●    Government Hospital Poladpur is the closest hospital. (40.9 KM)

MTDC Resort nearby details    
The closest MTDC resort is Raigad MTDC resort on the fort of Raigad.

Tourist guide information    
There are local tourist guides available on the fort once you enter it. 

Tour operator information    
There are a lot of tour operators that take planned tours to Raigad, which include transportation, meals and guided tours.

Visiting Rule and Time,
Best month to visit    The best months to visit this fort are between November and March. The best time being 8:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. 
Things to take care of are,
●    If one plans on trekking up to the fort wear sports shoes and carry an adequate water supply.
●    Wear clothes which are appropriate to the season you are visiting.
●    Take note of the Ropeway timing.
●    If one plans on descending the fort then one should start descending two hours before the sunset. 
●    One may have to pay for an entry ticket.

Language spoken in area    
English, Hindi, Marathi.