Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fort Raigad - worth a visit

Chhatrapati Shivaji can undoubtedly be counted as one of the greatest kings of India. Starting with conquering Fort Torna at the tender age of 16, Shivaji took on the combined might of the Mughals of Agra and the Adilshah and the Nizams who ruled the Deccan Plateau. His daring exploits, such as the stunning escape from captivity from Agra in a box carrying mithai, to the conquest of the dreaded Afzal Khan, far taller and stouter than him, in hand to hand combat can easily fit into a Bollywood storyline. At its peak, Shivaji’s rule covered parts of the Deccan plateau, and extended South to modern day Karnataka and spread as far as Jinji and Vellore in today's Tamil Nadu. Shivaji was recognized not just for his brilliant battlefield tactics, but also for his extraordinary benevolence. Stories of his generosity and large-heartedness have been documented by several people, including foreign travelers who passed through India during his time. Shivaji’s conquests laid the foundations of the Maratha Empire, which the Peshwas eventually extended from Panipat in the North (today’s Haryana) to Tanjore in the South (Tamil Nadu).

The ropeway has made it easier to visit the Fort
I recently visited Fort Raigad, the seat of Shivaji’s power where he was coronated in 1673. The Fort is at a distance of around 200 km from Mumbai, a 5 hour drive on the Mumbai – Goa Highway. Located in the midst of the towering Sahyadris, at a height of around 2700 feet above sea level, Raigad makes for an outstanding weekend gateway for the tired Mumbaikar. You can take your car right upto the foot of the mountain, from where a private ropeway carries you to the Fort in a few minutes.

Architectural photographers will love the place
The main Fort, spread across an area of almost 100 acres is now largely in ruins. You can hire Government empanelled tourist guides, who parrot their prepared text and take you through the important places of tourist interest. Among these are the palaces of Shivaji’s six (of the seven) queens, the durbar, the granary which also doubled as a prisoner’s cell, and the main bazaar. A grand statue of Shivaji, erected in recent times, serves as the perfect background for the customary photo op session. At one end of the fort is a Shiva temple. Shivaji’s samadhi, where he was cremated on his untimely death in 1680 lies next to the temple. Its almost ordinary façade tells its own story, one of governmental neglect and lost tourist potential. The more adventurous can walk across to places like the Hirkani buruj or the Takmak tok (point) to get a glimpse of surrounding mountains. On your return, you can dump the ropeway and even walk down the 1500-odd stairs to view the main entrance to the Fort.

From the Fort, you get an extraordinary view of the surrounding valleys and mountain ranges. The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has a few rooms for overnight stay, and in fact, this is what makes the place worth your visit. For, the best time to visit the Fort is from dusk to dawn! When the sun begins to set, the day tourists have gone back, and cool breeze begins to set in. As it gets dark, you can listen to the wind, watch the stars and simply amaze at the pitch dark sky!

The fort gives you an excellent view of the Sahyadri Mountains

Magical moments - around the sunset & the sunrise


  1. Very Well written post, thoroughly enjoyed it and your clicks are also awesome. Raigad Fort is really amassing place. You can also check my post at Raigad Fort History at

  2. Nice post on Raigad Fort. It is famous fort in Maharashtra. Many Tourist visit this fort. If you like to visit forts then get information or history of forts at

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.