Raigad is a hill fort situated in the Mahad, Raigad district of Maharashtra, India. The Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj built this fort and made his capital in 1674 when he was crowned King of the Maratha Kingdom which later developed into the Maratha Empire eventually covering much of western and central India.
The fort, which rises 820 meters (2,700 ft) above sea level, is located in the Sahyadri mountain range. There are approximately 1737 steps leading to the fort, though today Raigad Ropeway, an aerial tramway, exists to reach the top of the fort in 10 minutes. The fort was looted and destroyed by the British after its capture in 1818.
History Of Raigad
Shivaji Maharaj had seized the fort in 1656, then the fort of Rairi, from Chandrarrao More, a feudatory of the Sultan of Bijapur. Shivaji Maharaj renovated and expanded the fort of Rairi and renamed it Raigad (the King’s Fort). It became the capital of Shivaji Maharaj’s kingdom.
Pachad and Raigadwadi villages are located at the base of the Raigad. These two were very important villages during the Maratha rule. Actual climb on the top of Raigad starts from Pachad. In Maratha rule, 10000 cavalries were always kept as a standby in Pachad village.
After capturing Rairi from Chandrarao More, Shivaji Maharaj also built another fort Lingana which is around 2 miles away from Raigad. where he used to keep prisoners.
In 1689 Zulfikhar Khan captured Raigad and Aurangzeb renamed it as ‘Islamgad.In 1707, Siddi Fathekan captured the for and held it until 1733.
In 1765 the Raigad Fort, along with Malwan in present Sindhudurg District, the southernmost district of Maharashtra, was the target of an armed expedition by the British East India Company, which considered it a practical stronghold.
In 1818 the fort was bombarded and destroyed by using cannons from the hill of Kalkai. and as per treaty on 9 May 1818, it has been handed over to British East India Company.
The fort was built by Chandrarao More in 1030. Its ruins today consist of the queen’s quarters: six chambers, with each chamber having its own private restroom. The main palace was constructed using wood, of which only the bases of pillars remain. Ruins of three watchtowers can be seen directly in front of the palace grounds overlooking an artificial lake called Ganga Sagar Lake created next to the fort. Now only two are visible. The third watchtower collapsed in bombarding. It also has a view of the execution point called Takmak Tok, a cliff from which the sentenced prisoners were thrown to their death (in Marathi: kadelot). The area is now fenced off. The fort also has ruins of the market, and it has such structure that one can shop even while riding on a horse.
Maha Darwaja (literary Huge Door) having two very huge bastions on both sides of the door which are approximately 65–70 feet height. the top of the fort is 600 ft higher from the location of this door. Fort was having only one access route which goes through this Maha Darwaja.
Khubladha Buruj, Nane Darwaja, Hatti Talav (Elephant Lake), Gangasagar are the famous attractions of the fort.
A memorial (Samadhi) to Jijabai, Shivaji Maharaj’s mother. can be seen at base village of Pachad
The fort has a famous wall called “Hirakani Buruj” (Hirkani Bastion) constructed over a huge cliff. Its story is that a woman by the name of Hirakani from a nearby village Walsure at the foothills of Raigad had come to sell milk to the people living in the fort. She was inside the fort when the gates were locked by sunset. The love for her infant son back at her village gave her the courage to climb down the cliff in the dark. She repeated the feat in front of King Shivaji Maharaj and was rewarded for it. In appreciation of her courage, Shivaji Maharaj arranged for a wall built at this location. Even today we can see it standing.
The king’s public court (Durbar) has a replica of the original throne that faces the main doorway called the Nagarkhana Darwaja. This enclosure had been acoustically designed to aid hearing from the doorway to the throne. A secondary entrance, called the Mena Darwaja, was supposedly the private entrance of the royal ladies of the fort; it leads to the queen’s quarters. The erstwhile main entrance to the fort is the imposing Maha Darwaja. The convoy of the king and the king himself used the Palkhi Darwaja. To the right of Palkhi Darwaja, is a row of three dark and deep chambers. Historians believe that these were the granaries for the fort.
A statue of Shivaji Maharaj is erected in front of the ruins of the main market avenue that eventually leads to the Jagdishwar Mandir and his own Samadhi (tomb) and that of his loyal dog Waghya. The statue was removed by alleged members of the Sambhaji Brigade in July 2012 as a protest but was re-instated by Shri Shivaji Maharaj Raigad Smarak Samiti, the Archaeological Survey of India, sculptor Rambhau Parkhi and the District Administration the best time to visit Raigad Fort is from June to January.
Contact for Food and Stay :
Nilimi Tai : 9637744226
What to see on the fort:
- Market place
- Holicha Mal
- Hirkani Buruj
- Takmak Tok
- Jagdishwar Temple
- Samadhi of Shivaji Maharaj
- Samadhi of Waghya (Shivaji Maharaj’s Dog)
- Throne of Shivaji Maharaj
- Queens Palace
- Meena Darvaja
- Wagh Darwaja
- Wyadeshwar Temple
- Palkhi Darwaja
- Shirkai Devi temple
- Hanuman Taake
- Gangasagar Talav
- Hatti Talav
- Bhavani Temple
- Bhavani Kada
Raigad Fort on Raigad Mahotsav