Raigad Fort was the capital of Maratha Empire Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Raigad fort is situated in Sahyadri mountain range of Mahad taluka in Raigad district of Maharashtra state, India. This fort is situated at about 2700 feet above the sea level.
The history of Raigad Fort is very interesting. It is said that Shivaji seized the fortress of Rairi. He renovated and expanded it and also renamed it as Raigad Fort. Raigad was the capital of Maratha’s during the reign of Shivaji. when he was crowned King of the Maratha Kingdom which later developed into the Maratha Empire eventually covering the majority of modern-day India. A climb of about 1450 steps. the Raigad Fort is situated a top of the hill.
Today a rope-way exists to reach the top of the fort. This fort has supported its rulers during battles and war periods, as it contains many hiding places surrounding the fort thereby helping them to attack the enemies eminently. Even during the ruling of British Empire across India, the Raigad district was found to be difficult for the Englishmen to bring under control as the Raigad Fort was in the hands of the local king who restricted them from entering the area. At last, the British troops were left with no option other than destroying the fort by cannons in 1765.
Best Viewing point of Raigad Fort:
after a difficult climb comes the Maha Darwaja. Built over 350 years ago, this main entrance to the Fort stands majestically. It is as imposing and stout today, as it was then! The design of this Maha Darwaja is an enigma. It defies detection of its location to the attacker. Blind curves en route make it impossible for the attacker to use elephants to knock it down. In the battle of those historic times, elephants were used to demolish fort entrances.
In front of the Rani Vasa is the Palkhi Darwaja. A special entrance for the convoy of Shivaji Maharaj. On the right side of Mena Darwaja, is the office complex of 8 principal secretaries of Shivaji Maharaj. Also, the right of Palkhi Darwaja, there is a row of three dark chambers. Historians believe that these were the granaries for the fort.
Entrance for common public to Raj Sabha (Rajdarbar) was through theNagarkhana. In those times, the royal band played here round the clock. It is an excellent example of architecture and miraculous acoustics.
Holi cha Mal:
it is outside the Nagarkhana. It is a wide open ground, used for annual Holi festival. Also, There is a temple of Shirkai Bhavani, a presiding deity of the fort.
In front of Holi Cha Mal, there is a spacious and well laid-out marketplace. It is built on a high plinth and is separated by a 40-foot wide road leading to the Jagadishwar Temple.
Samadhi of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj:
Adjacent to Jagadishwar Temple, is the most revered place on Fort Raigad, the Samadhi of Shiv Chhatrapati. The Samadhi is intact and well-maintained, even today. Shivsamadhi was reconstructed by ‘Shri Shivaji Fund Committee’ founded by Lokmanya Tilak in 1895.
Throne of Shivaji Maharaj:
The location where the throne of Maratha kingdom stood and where Shivaji Maharaj was anointed as a king. The throne was made of gold and weighed about 1400 Kg. It was stolen by the British.
The fort has many huge water reservoirs, one of which is the picturesque Ganga Sagar. Two main entrances from the Royal Palace open into a sprawling lawn. It’s a belief that this lake was built before King Shivaji’s Rajyabhishek (the crowning ceremony) and water had been brought to this lake from the holy river “Ganga”. that’s why it is known as “Ganga Sagar Lake”.
The lake is situated in the front of “Bale Killa”. Balekilla means the central part of the fort and because of that, it is the most protected area of the fort. The water of this lake is also a major source of drinking water for the nearby villages and the resorts situated on the hilltop.
The legend goes this way that Hirakani (possibly Aukirkar), a milk seller from the village at the foothills of the fort, was locked in the fort, after not being able to get out before closing time. She had left her little kid at home and wanted to go down at any cost. She alighted from here and managed herself down. Shivaji later came to know of her adventure and rewarded her for her bravery, by naming the place after her. Shivaji had the edges of this rock sharpened, sayng “If a woman can get down from here, then the enemy can easily climb up”. Hirkani’s original village was renamed as Hirkani-Wadi.
The punishment point is the place where Shivaji`s enemy was brusquely chucked down into the valley. The rock faces inclined down over 1200 ft. and presents a tremendous vision of the Sahyadri hills and its dropping crevasses and over folding edges.
This was the special entrance for the royal ladies and the queens. To the left of Mena Darwaja is the Rani Vasa or “Queens’ Chambers”.
The queen quarters in the fort consists of six chambers with each chambers having its own private commode with plumbing. It was constructed using wood. The queen royal chamber is called Rani Vasa, and its plenty of rooms and passages show the obvious privilege of the queen.
The Ropeway lands you at the top of the fort near Mena Darwaja. This was the special entrance for the royal ladies and the queens. To the left of Mena Darwaja is the Rani Vasa or “Queens’ Chambers”.
- Chit or Jit Darwaja: at the foothills near village Pachad.
- Jagdishwar Temple
- Rameshwar Mandir
- Wagh Darwaja
- Bara Tanki