Maharashtra is considered to be one of the most diverse states in India, and for a very good reason. Be it geographical landscapes, cuisine, forts, hill stations, beaches and water bodies - Maharashtra has it all. Tourism in Maharashtra has emerged as a major industry. The state is especially rich in history, with the Maratha Empire being its main focal point. There are many forts in Maharashtra with diverse history and architecture.
These forts have been the centre of many great events and have seen many conflicts between the Marathas, Mughals and the British. Along with history, these forts provide a great trekking experience as well! So if you are a history lover and a nature lover, then there is nothing better than the magnificent forts in Maharashtra.
We have listed the 12 best forts in Maharashtra that you should explore for a heritage vacation!
1. Shivneri Fort
Shivneri Fort is one of the most illustrious forts in Maharashtra. The fort was the birthplace of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the greatest Maratha ruler and one of the most renowned emperors in India. The fort is a 17th-century fortification and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was born at the fort in 1630. This fort originally belonged to the Yadavas of Devagiri. It was then passed on to the Bahmani Sultanate and then to the Ahmadnagar Sultanate. In 1595, Maloji Bhosle, the grandfather of Shivaji Bhosale, was given the fort by the Admadnagar Sultan, Bahadur Nizam Shah.
Shivneri Fort has a triangular shape and has 7 well-defended spiral gates. At the centre of the fort is a water pond known as Badami Talav. At the south of the pond are the statues of Shivali and Jijabai. The trek to the fort is a scenic journey, surrounded by forests and the goodness of nature. Some steps lead to the fort and it is beautifully laid. There are two water springs at the fort, Ganga and Yamuna, that flow throughout the year.
The fort is located in Junnar, which is easily accessible by Pune and Mumbai by road. The fort is open from 5:30 AM to 7:00 PM. The entry fee is ₹5.
2. Raigad Fort
Raigad Fort is considered to be one of the strongest forts in Maharashtra. The fort was earlier known as Rairi Fort and was the seat of Maratha Clan Shirke in the 12th Century. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj had made this fort a capital in 1674 when he was crowned as the king of the Maratha Kingdom, which later became the Maratha Empire. Shivaji Maharaj had captured the fort from Rajchandraji More in 1659.
In 1662, he changed the name of the fort to Raigad Fort and added more structures to it. Shivaji Maharaj died in 1680 and was cremated at the fort. The fort was then shortly taken over by the Mughals. The fort was also called the “Gibraltar of the East” by the Europeans.
The fort's beauty and architecture attract many tourists. It is one of the best tourist attractions in Maharashtra and offers a spectacular view of the Sahyadri hills. The fort is a favourite among trekkers due to the difficult trek and the view it offers. If you love adventure, then the fort is definitely for you! The Fort is open from 8 AM To 5 PM and the entry fee is ₹20.
3. Rajmachi Fort
Rajmachi Fort is located amidst the Sahyadri hills and is considered to be one of the most picturesque forts in Maharashtra. The route to the Rajmachi fort is blessed with waterfalls, deep gorges, quaint villages, streams and valleys. If you are an adventurer, painter or photographer, then the fort is the one for you!
There are two routes to get to the fort - Lonavala or Kondivde or Kondhane village in Karjat Taluka. The Lonavala route is a straight walk with only a few ups and downs. From the Kondivde or Kondhane Village, the route to the fort is a steep climb.
There are two fortified peaks at Rajmachi fort - Shrivardhan and Manaranjan. The view is magnificent and it’s best to visit during the monsoon season when the Sahyadris are at their best. The fort also has several temples, caves, reservoirs - giving a glimpse into the lives of the Marathas. The Entry is free and the timings are from 8 AM to 6 PM.
4. Pratapgad Fort
Pratapgad is just 24 kilometres away from Mahabaleshwar and is a fort in Maharashtra with historical significance. The Battle Of Pratapgad was fought on 10 November 1659 between Shivaji Maharaj and Bijapur Sultanate General Afzal Khan. The Marathas won the battle. There are many lakes within the fort complex and they flow during the months of Monsoon.
The fort has a bronze equestrian statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, which was inaugurated by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1957. There are many trekking routes toward the fort and is visited by tourists as a day trip from Mahabaleshwar. The entry is free and the timings are from 8 AM to 6:30 PM.
5. Malhargad Fort
Malhargad is a hill fort located in Sawsad, 30 kilometres from Pune. It is one of the most popular forts in Maharashtra, and one of the last forts to be built by the Marathas. The fort was built in the period between 1757 - 1760. The fort is the perfect place to be if you want to escape from your normal life. The fort offers a perfect site of the ghats and valleys.
There are two temples constructed inside the fort, one for Lord Khandoba and another for Lord Mahadeva. From the fort, Jejuri and Parvati Hills can be sighted. The fort is open 24 hours and entry is free.
6. Lohagad Fort
Lohagad's name means ‘the iron fort’. It is close to the hill station of Lonavala and 52 Kilometres from Pune. The fort has been occupied by various dynasties including Chalukyas, Rashtrakukas, Yadavas, Bahamanis, Nizams, Marathas and the Mughals. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj captured the fort in 1648 but was forced to surrender it in 1665. The Maratha Emperor took the fort back from the Mughals in 1670.
The fort is best for trekking, especially during monsoons due to its scenic beauty and trekking route. From the top, one can also view the Parvana Reservior. It is also interconnected to the nearby Visapur fort. If you want, you can visit both the forts. One can also take a detour towards the Bhaja Caves. The fort entry timing is from 9 AM to 6 PM and the entry is free.
7. Kolaba Fort
Located in Alibaug, the 300-year-old monument is one of the best beach forts to visit in Maharashtra. The fort was used as a military fortification during the reign of Shivaji. The fort was used as a naval station for launching attacks against the British.
You can take the long road route to Alibaug or you can choose a jetty/ferry to reach Alibaug from The Getaway Of India. If you take the ferry or jetty, you can enjoy the calm waters en route to Alibaug. The timings are from 6 AM to 6 PM and the entry fee is ₹5.
8. Tikona Fort
The name Tikona comes from the triangular shape of the fort. It is one of the most popular forts in Maharashtra for trekkers. The fort is situated at the height of 1107 metres and consists of many magnificent caves. The fort has narrow steps and only one person can climb a step at a time. The base village of the fort is the Tikona peth which is 26 Kilometres from Kamshet. The fort offers a wonderful view of the mountains. The Trimbakeshwar Temple is inside the fort.
The fort was captured by the Marathas from the Nizam in 1657 and was surrendered to the Mughals in 1665. It was recaptured again by the Marathas and then the British captured it in 1818. The fort timings are from 8 AM to 6 PM and the entry is free.
9. Tung Fort
Tung Fort is another popular fort in Maharashtra that overlooks Pawna Lake. The alternate name ‘Kathingad’ means difficult in Marathi, which itself shows how difficult it is to trek the fort. However, trekking the fort is especially worth it since you can get a spectacular view of Pawna Lake. You can visit the Tungi Devi Temple and Ganpati Temple. You can visit the fort all day and the entry is free.
10. Torna Fort
Torna Fort, also known as Prachandagad is a historically significant fort in Maharashtra since it was the first fort to be captured by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in 1646 at the age of 16. The name Prachanda means Big and Gad means fort. The best time to visit the fort is after the rains when everything becomes lush green. It is located 1403 metres above sea level, making it one of the highest forts in Pune.
11. Sinhagad Fort
Sinhagad Fort, also known as Kondana Fort, is considered to be the pride of the Maratha Empire. It is one of the most popular forts in Maharashtra. It is the sight of one of the epic Maratha - Mughal battles, the Battle of Sinhagad in 1670. Tanaji Malusare, one of the greatest Maratha warriors, captured the fort from the Mughals and sacrificed his life in the process.
Once you reach the fort, you will get a fabulous view of the Khadakwasla Dam. The fort has two entrances, one in the northeastern region, known as Pune Darwaza, and one in the southeastern region, also known as Kalyan Darwaza. Sinhagad fort also has Rajaram’s tomb, monoliths of Tanaji Malusare, Kali Temple and Hanuman Effigy. The entry time is from 8 AM to 6 PM and the entry fee is ₹20.
12. Vasai Fort
Vasai Fort dates back to the 6th century when a Greek merchant Cosma Indicopleustes came to visit the area. The fort can be visited between 9 AM to 6 PM and entry is free. The Fort is near Mumbai and the nearest station is Vasai Road station.
With these many forts in Maharashtra, you will be able to enjoy the rich history of the state and make memories. Check out more of our blogs to know more about getaways and resorts!