Raigad Fort is a hill fort situated in Mahad, Raigad district of Maharashtra, India. It is one of the strongest fortresses on the Deccan Plateau and was the capital of the Maratha Empire under Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The fort is a symbol of the glorious history and culture of the Marathas and attracts thousands of visitors every year. In this article, we will explore the location, timing and entry fees, how to reach, things to do/must see, significance and history of Raigad Fort. Raigad Fort One day Trip From Mumbai and Pune
Raigad Fort Location/ Timing and Entry Fees
Raigad Fort is located about 25 km from Mahad town and about 125 km from Pune city. The fort is situated on a hill that rises 820 metres above base level and 1,356 metres above sea level in the Sahyadri mountain range. The fort covers an area of about 12 square km and has several structures and monuments within its premises.
The fort is open for visitors from 8 am to 6 pm every day. The entry fee for Indian nationals is Rs. 50 per person and for foreign nationals is Rs. 300 per person. There is also a fee for parking, camera and video recording. The rope-way facility is available at Raigad Fort, which allows visitors to reach the fort from the ground in only four minutes. The rope-way fee is Rs. 300 per person for a round trip.
How to Reach Raigad Fort
Raigad Fort can be reached by road, rail or air. The nearest airport is Pune International Airport, which is about 140 km from the fort. From there, one can take a taxi or a bus to Mahad town and then hire a local vehicle to reach the base of the fort. Alternatively, one can also take a flight to Mumbai International Airport, which is about 170 km from the fort, and then follow the same route.
The nearest railway station is Veer Railway Station, which is about 40 km from the fort. From there, one can take a bus or a taxi to Mahad town and then hire a local vehicle to reach the base of the fort.
The fort can also be reached by road from Pune or Mumbai via NH-4 or NH-17. The road condition is good but may be crowded during peak hours or weekends. There are many signboards and directions along the way to guide the travellers.
Things to Do / Must See Raigad Fort
Raigad Fort has many attractions and activities for visitors of all ages and interests. Some of the things to do/must see at Raigad Fort are:
- Maha Darwaja: This is the main entrance gate of the fort, which was closed at sunset during Shivaji’s time. The gate has two huge bastions on both sides and is decorated with carvings and sculptures. The gate leads to a spacious courtyard where ceremonies and festivals were held.
- Raj Bhavan: This is the main palace of Shivaji Maharaj, where he lived and conducted his affairs. The palace was made of wood but only the stone pillars remain today. The palace has six chambers with private restrooms for Shivaji and his family members. The palace also has a balcony that offers a panoramic view of the surrounding hills and valleys.
- Samadhi of Jijabai: This is the final resting place of Jijabai, the mother of Shivaji Maharaj, who died at Raigad Fort in 1674. The samadhi is similar to that of Shivaji but smaller in size. It is located near his samadhi and has a statue of Jijabai in front of it.
- Jagdishwar Temple: This is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, who was the patron deity of Shivaji Maharaj. The temple was built by Shivaji himself and has a shivalinga made of black stone. The temple also has an idol
- Mena Darwaja: This is a special entrance for the royal ladies of the fort that leads to the queen’s quarters. The gate is smaller and more ornate than the Maha Darwaja and has a watch tower above it.
- Ganga Sagar Lake: This is an artificial lake created by Shivaji Maharaj to provide water supply to the fort. The lake is named after the holy river Ganga and has a temple dedicated to Goddess Ganga on its bank.
- Raigad Museum: This is a museum that showcases the history and culture of the Marathas and displays various artefacts, weapons, coins, paintings, sculptures and documents related to Shivaji Maharaj and his successors. The museum also has a statue of Shivaji Maharaj in his coronation attire.
- Ropeway: This is a modern attraction that offers a thrilling and scenic ride from the base of the fort to the top. The ropeway covers a distance of 750 metres and a height of 400 metres in four minutes and can carry 18 passengers at a time. The ropeway also provides a spectacular view of the surrounding landscape and the fort.
- Trekking: This is an adventurous activity for those who love nature and challenge. The fort can be reached by trekking from various routes that vary in difficulty and duration. The most popular route is from Pachad village, which takes about two hours to reach the Maha Darwaja. The trek offers a glimpse of the flora and fauna of the region and the historical landmarks along the way.
Significance of Raigad Fort
Raigad Fort is not just a historical monument but also a cultural and spiritual heritage of Maharashtra. The fort was the seat of power and glory of the Maratha Empire under Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, who established a Hindu kingdom that resisted the foreign invaders and protected the rights and dignity of the people. The fort witnessed many important events in the history of the Marathas, such as:
- The coronation of Shivaji Maharaj as Chhatrapati in 1674, which marked the beginning of his reign and his vision of Hindavi Swarajya (self-rule).
- The death of Shivaji Maharaj in 1680, which plunged the Marathas into grief and mourning.
- The escape of Sambhaji Maharaj, the son and successor of Shivaji Maharaj, from the captivity of Aurangzeb, the Mughal emperor, in 1689, which boosted the morale and spirit of the Marathas.
- The siege of Raigad Fort by Siddi Johar, an ally of Aurangzeb, in 1689, which resulted in the surrender of the fort by Sambhaji’s widow Yesubai and his son Shahu.
- The recapture of Raigad Fort by Shahu with the help of Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath in 1707, which restored the Maratha rule over the fort.
- The transfer of Raigad Fort to Kanhoji Angre, a naval chief and admiral of the Maratha navy, by Shahu in 1713, which made Raigad Fort a naval base for the Marathas.
- The attack on Raigad Fort by Colonel Prother, a British officer, in 1818, which led to the fall of Raigad Fort to the British East India Company.
Raigad Fort is also a sacred place for many devotees who revere Shivaji Maharaj as a hero and a saint. The fort has many temples and shrines dedicated to various gods and goddesses that were worshipped by Shivaji Maharaj and his followers. The fort also hosts many festivals and ceremonies that celebrate the life and legacy of Shivaji Maharaj, such as:
- Rajyabhishek Utsav: This is an annual festival that commemorates the coronation of Shivaji Maharaj as Chhatrapati on June 6th. The festival involves various cultural programs, processions, rituals and prayers at Raigad Fort.
- Shiv Jayanti: This is an annual festival that celebrates the birth anniversary of Shivaji Maharaj on February 19th. The festival involves hoisting of saffron flags, singing of patriotic songs, offering flowers and sweets at his samadhi and paying homage to his statue at Raigad Fort.
- Holi: This is an annual festival that marks the arrival of spring and symbolizes joy and harmony. The festival involves playing with colours, lighting bonfires and dancing
Raigad Fort is a hill fort in Maharashtra that was the capital of the Maratha Empire under Shivaji Maharaj. The fort has many attractions and activities for visitors, such as the Maha Darwaja, the Raj Bhavan, the Samadhi of Shivaji Maharaj, the Jagdishwar Temple, the Ganga Sagar Lake, the Raigad Museum, the Ropeway and the Trekking. The fort is also a symbol of the history and culture of the Marathas and hosts many festivals and ceremonies that celebrate Shivaji Maharaj’s life and legacy.