Maharashtra and forts have an intimate relationship. Forts highlight the historical and cultural significance of the state. From the ancient kingdoms, Nizam Shahi, Mughals, Maratha and the British, these forts have been an integral part of the history of Maharastra. The Maratha period is especially considered to be one of the most important periods in Maharashtra’s history. One such crucial fort is the Raigad Fort.
Raigad Fort - Its History And Significance
The Europeans called Raigad Fort the Gibraltar of the East due to its impregnability and size. The fort was the capital of the Maratha Empire. The name ‘Raigad’ means royal fort. The fort was given this name by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the founder of the Maratha Empire.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj had won the fort during this battle with Chandrarao More, a feudal lord. The fort was made the capital of the Maratha Empire in 1662. The fort’s huge size, its steep slopes and the easy communication with the mainland and sea gave it huge strategic importance.
The governor of Kalyan Abaji Sondev and architect Hiroji Indulkar added royal and public buildings inside the fort. The fort was created in such a way that it was easily accessible to family and friends but was impregnatable for the enemies.
There were 300 stone houses, mansions, palaces, a coin mint, offices, and garrisons accomodating 2000 men. Raigad Fort had a market which was one mile long. It also has bastions, water reservoirs, gardens and pathways.
Structure And Architecture
Raigad Fort is considered to be an architectural masterpiece. The fort has a large water reservoir, known as Gangasagar. There are also the former residential complexes for the nobles. The fort also has the Jagadishwar temple and the Samadhi of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
The main complex of the royal houses is still present in the fort. The main court of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is known as the Darbar. This is where the coronation of Shivaji Maharaj took place.
Geography And Climate
Raigad Fort is situated at a height of 2851 metres above sea level in the Western Ghats. It is located in the Konkan belt, receiving heavy rainfall. It receives around 2500 - 3500 mm of rainfall every year. The summers are hot and humid, with temperatures reaching 40 degrees celsius during the summers. The winters are cool and dry, with temperatures being 28 degrees celsius on average.
How To Reach Raigad Fort
There are two ways to reach the fort. One is by trekking for 2 - 3 and, and the other is by ropeway. With the ropeway, you can reach the fort in 5 minutes. If you are a trekker, you will love this fort!
The fort is located in Raigad, which is 169 Kilometres away from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport. The nearest railway station from the fort is Veer Railway Station which is 30 Kilometres away and is connected to Mumbai.
Things To Do
There are many things you can do in Raigad Fort. Some of the places you can visit inside the fort are:
The King’s Darbar
You can also get a wonderful view of the surroundings from the fort. It is a paradise for trekkers. The Ropeway is also a major highlight of the fort.
Raigad Fort has a rich history and is one of the best places to visit in Maharashtra. You will surely have a great weekend getaway in Maharashtra. Read our blogs to know more about the various getaways near Mumbai and Pune.