Welcome to Fort Raigad!
is much more than a mere tourist spot. It is a sacred place
of pilgrimage, which has left an imprint of the grand vision
of Hindavi Swarajya as cherished by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj."
Fort Raigad was the capital of the most illustrious Maratha
sovereign, nurtured by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. It is
a monument of his prophetic vision of Hindavi Swarajya.
This is a preamble prior to your electrifying excursion around
Fort Raigad. It has been described by European historians
as 'The Gibralter of East'. Various landmarks have
lent it the credo of 'Shivtirth'. The holy shrine has
become vibrant by the valour, courage and patriotism of Chhatrapati
The sheer vertical rock face tearing into the sky above,
appears defiant and insurmountable. It has stemmed many a
foreign aggression and protected the Hindavi Swarajya during
those historic times.
When he first saw the place, Shivaji Maharaj could not help
"This Fort is formidable. All sides
appear as if chiselled from a mountain of solid rock. Not
even a blade of grass grows on the sheer vertical rock. This
is a paragon to house the throne".
At the foothills near village Pachad, is Chit Darwaja,
also known as Jit Darwaja. After gruelling foot-slogging,
you reach Khoob Ladha Buruj. It is a strategically
located turret, from where an aggressor attacking from either
flank could be repelled. Nearly
a mile ahead, 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 enroute
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.
A steep climb of nearly 1450 steps and three and a half hours
of extreme demands on your physical stamina, leaves you too
exhausted. The magic mantra - Raigad
Ropeway - has opened a new chapter of sightseeing - the
Fort Raigad. It whisks you to the top, through the clouds
and whistling winds, in just 4 minutes. Gone is its exhausting
inaccessibility. Now you have all the energy and time to enjoy
the sightseeing! Well-trained and courteous guides are at
hand to give you a conducted tour of the Fort.
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". They are six in number and
were being used by the mother of Shiv Chhatrapati - Jeeja
Mata, Soyarabai, Putalabai and other royal ladies.
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. To the right of Palkhi Darwaja, there
is a row of three dark chambers. Historians believe that these
were the granaries for the fort.
To the right of the granaries is the palace of Shivaji Maharaj.
It is called the Raj Bhavan, where he dispensed justice
in petty and routine matters. The
palace rests on a double plinth and had wooden columns to
support the palatial structure. The Raj Bhavan is a mute witness
to the joys, sorrows, anger, victories and overwhelming generosity
of Shiv Chhatrapati. The plinth adjoining Raj Bhavan, holds
two large water tanks and by its side, is the location of
the Royal Bath. Excellent toilet and drainage system highlights
the structural design of that era. To the east of Raj Bhavan
is in an open space, there is an underground cellar. It was
used for secret dialogues, worshipping Bhavani Mata and for
storing war booty after the raid on Surat.
The fort has many huge water reservoirs, one of which is
the picturesque Ganga Sagar. Two
main entrances from the Royal Palace open in to a sprawling
lawn. This is the Raj Sabha. It has witnessed the splendour
of the glorious coronation of Shiv Chhatrapati. The shackles
of 300 years of slavery were broken and Shivaji Maharaj proclaimed
establishment of Hindavi Swarajya! The magnificent throne,
studded with diamonds and gold, rested on eight columns of
pure gold weighing almost 1000 kilos. It also bears the royal
emblem of Shivaji Maharaj. The umbrella over the throne was
adorned with strings of precious stones and pearls.
for common public to Raj Sabha was through the Nagarkhana.
In those times, the royal band played here round the clock.
It is an excellent example of architecture and miraculous
acoustics. The distance between 'Nagarkhana and the Royal
Throne is more than 200 feet, yet even the slightest whisper
can be heard from both ends very clearly.
Holi Cha Mal, is outside the Nagarkhana. It is a wide
open ground, used for annual Holi festival. 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. Adjacent to this temple, is the most revered place
on Fort Raigad, the Samadhi of Shiv Chhatrapati. The
Samadhi is intact and well-maintained, even today, due to
the personal initiative of Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
Other places of interest are ammunition depot, Bara
Tanki i.e. more than a dozen huge water reservoirs, Rameshwar
Mandir, Wagh Darwaja, Takmak Tok - an execution
place for the proclaimed criminals, etc. These are testimony
to the valour, courage and ultimate sacrifice of Maratha soldiers,
who made Hindavi Swarajya a reality.
Wish you a happy and fruitful excursion around the fort!
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