Saturday, June 25, 2011

Rajgad - King of Forts


Rajgad (The king of all forts in Marathi) is one of the most important forts in Maharashtra.The fort was the capital of Maratha empire for more than 25 years. This was one of the first few forts captured by Shivaji Maharaj

The fort is situated about 42 km to south west of Pune. To visit the fort, one can go to Nasarapur which is about 35 km from Pune along Mumbai - Bangalore national highway. Rajgad is just 22 km from Nasrapur. From Nasrapur you can reach to villages at the base of Rajgad : Gunjawane or Wajeghar, from where the trek starts.

Today the fort is attraction for trekkers because of it's huge size, its sky rocking height, the difficult route and the historical importance of the fort. The trek to this fort can also be done from the fort Torna. The fort Torna is located very close  in the west to Rajgad. The Torna to Rajgad trek is also attraction for trekkers.

Rajgad is witness to the many important incidents in nascent Maratha Empire. The fort was called 'Murumb Devecha Dongar' (the mountain of god 'Murumb') before Shivaji Maharaj captured it from Aadilshaha. Shivaji Maharaj renovated the fort and constructed the fortification for this fort.The treasure he had got while construction of Torna was utilized for this task. He then renamed the fort to 'Rajgad'. 

There are many places to visit on the fort :
  1. Padmavati Machi
  2. Suvela Machi
  3. Balekilla
  4. Sanjeevani Machi
  5. Nedhe (The big hole to the rock)


Below is the photograph taken from Torna to Rajgad Trek. This is how the Rajgad looks from west side. The Sanjeevani Machi, the Suvela Machi and the Balekilla at the center are visible in the below pic.



Rajgad as seen from west side
This is how the balekilla looks like when seen from west. This snap is also taken from the route of Torna -Rajgad Trek. This presents the terrifying look of the fort.
Balekilla of Rajgad as seen from west side

Rajgad as seen from west side
Below is the pic of the end of Sanjeevani Machi, the west most point of the fort Rajgad. From this rock Rajgad to Torna Trek starts and the Torna to Rajgad trek ends.
The end of Sanjeevani Machi

Gate in the fortification wall on Sanjeevani Machi
Below is the snap of 'Alu Darwaja' (the Alu gate) of the fort. This is on Sanjeevani Machi of the fort.
Alu darwaja (Alu Gate)
The Sanjeevani Machi of the fort has dual fortification. This shows the prescience of Shivaji Maharaj. The dual fortification has made the fort more robust. Below is the pic how the Sanjeevani Machi looks like with the dual fortification.

Dual Fortification of Sanjeevani Machi
Visitors can stay in the temple of goddess Padmavati, on Padmavati Machi. The drinking water is available in the Padmavati lake or from two wells on Padmavati. The wells are known as 'Panaychi taki' (water tanks in Marathi)

Below is the pic how Balekilla looks like in morning.
Balekilla as seen from Padmavati Machi

Balekilla as seen from Padmavati Machi
Saibai, the fist wife of Shivaji Maharaj and mother of Chhatrapati Sambhaji, pased away on this fort in September 1659. When Shivaji Maharaj was preparing to fight Afzalkhan on Pratapgad. She was just 26 years old then. Her tomb is on Rajgad's Padmavati Mahi, before the temple of goddess Padmavati. Below is the pic of her tomb.
Tomb of Saibai
This is the temple of goddess Padmavati.
Padmavati Temple

 Remains of the construction on Padmavati Machi

Torna as seen from Padmavati Machi of Rajgad
The trek to Balekilla from Padmavati Machi is exciting for trekkers. Below are some snaps of this route. At the end of the route there is the Mahadarwaja of Rajgad's Balekilla, the most exciting place on Rajgad.
Trek to Balekilla of Rajgad
Way to Balekilla of Rajgad

Way to Balekilla of Rajgad
This is the Mahadarwaja of  Rajgad's Balekilla. It is beyond imagination that how the King Shivaji have constructed this monument at the difficult place. This can be seen as an excellent piece of engineering .
After Afzalkhan was killed at Pratapgad, his head was sent here and was buried in the walls of Balekilla.
 Balekilla Mahadarwaja

 Balekilla Mahadarwaja
Below is the temple of goddess Janani.
Janani Devi Temple
This is one of the lakes at the top of Balekilla. The shape of this lake is similar to that of the moon decrescent. That is why this is called 'Chandratale' (The moon lake).
Chandratle
This is the temple of Bramharshi situated on the Balekilla.
Bramharshi Temple
These are the ruins of the palace of Shivaji Maharaj on Balekilla.
 Remains of palace
Below are the stoves that were used to cook.These are present in the ruins of palace on Balekilla.
Stoves
Below is the excellent look of fort Torna from Balekilla of Rajgad. The snap also shows the route to Torna from Rajgad. It also shows the thumb rock on the Budhala Machi of Torna.
Another very exciting scene that can be seen from here is that, at the time of sunrise, the shadow of Rajgad falls on Torna and at the time of sunset the shadow of Torna falls on Rajgad.
Torna as seen from Balekilla of Rajgad

Water tanks on Balekilla and the Sanjeevani Machi

Sanjeevani Machi as seen from Balekilla

Padmavati machi and Pali Darwaja as seen from Balekilla
This is how the Mahadarwaja of Blaekilla looks from top. This shows the the strategical placement of the door. In most of the forts, the arrangement is made such that minimum space is left outside of the main gate. This is to make sure that during war minimum number of enemy soldiers can occupy the important space before the main gate. Also the holes are provided in the bastions adjacent to the door. These holes are used to shoot the enemy soldiers with cross bow or with gun. The holes are also visible in the below pic.
Mahadarwaja Balekilla
Suvela Machi of Rajgad can be seen from Mahadarwaja of Rajgad. Below is the snap how the eastern side (Suvela Machi) is seen from Mahadarwaja of Rajgad.
Sanjeevani Machi as seen from Mahadarwaja of Balekilla

Balekilla as seen from Suvela Machi
The Mahadarwaja of Balekilla can not be seen from Padmavati Machi, as it is facing towards east, so can be seen from Suvela Machi. This is how it looks from Suvela Machi.
Balekilla Mahadarwaja

In the below image, the Suvela Machi and the flag bastion ('Zenda Buruj' in Marathi) are visible.
Suvela Machi and Zenda Buruj
There is a big natural hole to the Elephant Rock on Suvela Machi. In Marathi, the hole is called as 'Nedhe'. The Nedhe is big enough to provide space for 10 - 12 persons in the hole. The hole is seen in the below image.
Nedhe (the  hole)
Below snap shows how the Balekilla and the Padmavati Machi of Rajgad are seen from Suvela Machi. This shows the hugeness of the fort.
 Balekilla and Padmavati Machi as seen from Suvela Machi

Suvela Machi as seen from the top of Elephant Rock

Guard's place on  Padmavati Machi
This is the Pali Darawaja (Pali Gate) of Rjagad. This is along one of the relatively easy route to Rajgad. This is on Padmavati Maci and facing to west. Torna for can be seen from this gate.
Pali Darwaja

Torna as seen from Pali Darwaja of Rajgad

Gate before Pali Darwaja

5 comments:

  1. Truly said, Rajgad fort is the king of fort. Once the capital of Maratha King, Shivaji, Raigad is a hill fortress situated near Mahad, Raigad district of Maharashtra. The fort can be accessed both by a cable car or by climbing around 1,500 steps. Click here to know more about Rajgad fort.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's the best fort, it has got the feeling of being in that time.

    ReplyDelete
  3. http://www.vanillapoise.com/rajgad-fort-trek/ this might help more

    ReplyDelete
  4. A good information with good pics.. Thanks...

    ReplyDelete