If you are wondering how many forts are there in Maharashtra, the answer is 350! Yes, this is truly mind-boggling and we were equally amazed to know this. 

Not just in numbers, the ancient forts in Maharashtra will also stun you with their grandeur, and tales of courage and bravery. They also give you a unique insight into the lives of the people from the bygone era and glimpses of their tradition and culture. Forts in Maharashtra, along with offering a sneak-peek into the lives of the Maratha warriors, also  make for an amazing trekking experience because of their offbeat hilltop locations and lush scenic beauty.

Without further ado, here we present a curated list of the best forts in Maharashtra that you must explore while in the state.

1. Raigad Fort, Maharashtra

Raigad Fort

#1 of 15 Best Forts in Maharashtra

The epitome of Maratha pride, Raigad Fort is one of the most historically significant forts in Maharashtra. It is situated 820 metres above sea level on the Sahyadris hills.

The walls of this fort have seen a lot of intriguing events. Famously called the ‘Gibraltar of the East’ by Europeans, it belonged to the distinguished Maratha ruler – Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. He seized the Raigad Fort from Rajchandraji More in 1659 but shortly after his demise, the fort was captured by the Mughals, and was eventually acquired by the British Empire. Despite the destruction caused over the years, the fort still stands glorious and will let you imagine its greatness and splendour back in 1030 CE.

Speaking of splendour, the fort’s history is not the only thing that attracts visitors. Its majestic built and cleverly executed architecture, the view of the lush green valleys of Sahyadri Mountains and the beautiful Gangasagar Lake nearby are also reasons why this fort is famous amongst trekkers. With a difficult terrain and over 1,737 steps to reach the top, Raigad Fort is considered as one of the best forts in Maharashtra for trekking.

  • Entry Timing: 8 AM to 5 PM
  • Entry Fee: ₹ 20
  • Nearest Airport: Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Airport and Pune International Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Mangaon Railway Station
  • How to reach: Raigad Fort’s distance from Mumbai and Pune city is 163 km and 131 km, respectively. Raigad Fort is 17 km from Mangaon Railway Station, and you can use the local transport to reach the fort. Mangaon is well connected to both Mumbai and Pune by road.

2. Rajmachi Fort

hotels near Rajmachi Fort

#2 of 15 Best Forts in Maharashtra

The trail to Rajmachi Fort encompasses several waterfalls, deep gorges and valleys, quaint and rustic villages, and water streams. If you are a painter or photographer, this trail is a Pandora of inspiration. If you thought the trail was everything, wait till you get to the two fortified peaks at Rajmachi – Shrivardhan and Manaranjan. The view is breath-taking. During the monsoon season, you can even marvel at the sight of fireflies dancing in the air.

The fort also has several temples, caves, water reservoirs – giving you a peek into the lives of the Maratha dynasty. All this can only mean one thing – an unforgettable trekking experience.

  • Entry Time: 8 AM to 6 PM
  • Entry Fee: Free
  • Nearest Airport: Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Airport and Pune International Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Karjat Railway Station
  • How to reach: From Mumbai, you can get on the local train and reach Karjat and then hire a shared auto to reach Kondana village. This village is at the base of the Rajmachi Trek. From there, it is a 3-4 hours journey to the fortress. The other route is from Pune/ Lonavala, where you have to drive to the Udhewadi base village and trek for 30-40 minutes. Both the roads are a bit bumpy, and the Pune route is more hazardous during the monsoon.

Also read: 51 Destinations for a Complete Maharashtra Experience

3. Shivneri Fort

Shivneri Fort

#3 of 15 Best Forts in Maharashtra

Famous for being the birthplace of the Maratha Empire’s founder Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the Shivneri Fort is a 17th-century military fortification. It is located in the Junnar district of Pune. The trek to this fort is a short one with beautiful scenery along the way. Because it is short, it is considered to be one of the best forts in Maharashtra for beginners as the steps are perfectly laid. At the fort, you will find two water springs called Ganga and Yamuna, which flow throughout the year. The pond in the middle of the fort and the gardens along the way are great places for you to relax and re-energise.

  • Entry time: 5:30 AM to 7:00 PM
  • Enter Fee: ₹ 5
  • Nearest Railway Station: Pune City Railway Station is 94 km from Junnar
  • Nearest Airport: Pune International Airport
  • How to reach: The fort is located in Junnar, and it is a 2-km trek to its base. Junnar is well connected to major cities – Mumbai and Pune. From Mumbai, you can take the Mumbai-Pune Expressway to reach Junnar. From Pune, you can take the Old Mumbai Highway.

4. Tung Fort

Tung Fort

#4 of 15 Best Forts in Maharashtra

Overlooking the dazzling Pawna Lake, this oval fort is a sight to behold. It is blanketed by the tropics standing at a height of 1,075 metres above sea level. It makes you wonder how the Adil Shahi dynasty built a fort this high in 1600 CE.

You know that hiking here will be a difficult task as the name ‘Tung’ itself means ‘difficult.’ However, hiking to the top of this mountain is totally worth it. The view from the top is beautiful beyond measure. Once there, you can also visit Tungi Devi Temple and Ganpati Temple.

  • Entry Time: All day
  • Entry Fee: Free
  • Nearest Railway Station: Lonavala Railway Station
  • Nearest Airport: Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharah Airport and Pune International Airport
  • How to reach: After reaching Lonavala, one can make use of local transport to reach Malawi. The fort is located 12 km from Malawi Railway Station. 

5. Pratapgad Fort

The fort, situated just 25 km from Mahabaleshwar, has immense historical significance because of the famous Battle of Pratapgad that took place here. Yes, the very same that we read about in our history books. Pratapgad Fort translates to the Fort of Valour. Apart from the fort’s battle story, you can also view the famous lakes within the fort complex. There are four of them and they often overflow during the monsoon season. The fort overlooks the beautiful villages of Kinsevar and Par. At a height of 1,080 metres above sea level, the fort oozes old-world charm, courtesy its rustic feel, making it one of the best forts in Maharashtra for trekking.

  • Entry Timings: 8 AM to 6:30 PM
  • Entry Fee: Free entry
  • Nearest Railway Station: Pune Railway Station, Satara Railway Station
  • Nearest Airport: Pune International Airport and Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Airport
  • How to reach: Mahabaleshwar is well connected by railways and roadways to both the major cities – Pune and Mumbai. You can avail local transport from Mahabaleshwar to reach Pratapgad Fort.

6. Malhargad Fort

Built by the Maratha Empire as a watchtower on Devi Ghat, Malhargad Fort is said to be one of the last forts built by the Marathas. This fort is a perfect escape, especially if you want to get away from the city for a short trek. The beautiful sights of the ghats and valleys are enough to revitalise you over the weekend. If you are lucky, you will be able to spot animals like deer, porcupines and wild boars along the trail and around the fort. In addition, you can also see the magnificent Jejuri Temple and Parvati Hills from the top.

  • Entry Timings: Open 24 hours
  • Entry fee: Free
  • Nearest Railway Station: Pune Railway Station
  • Nearest Airport: Pune International Airport
  • How to reach: The fort is just 30 km from Pune. You can take a bus or train from the city to reach the base village of Sonori near Saswad.

While you are in Pune: Explore 10 Best Things to do in Pune

7. Kolaba Fort

Surrounded by the waters of the Arabian Sea, Kolaba Fort or Alibag Fort is definitely worth a visit. According to historians, this now 300-year-old ancient fort in Maharashtra was used as a military fortification during the reign of Shivaji Maharaj. It was also considered as a chief naval station and a stronghold for launching attacks on British troops. If you choose waterways to get here, you can enjoy the peaceful waves and the quietude that comes with the absence of a crowd’s cacophony. With such historical significance, Kolaba Fort has been designated as a nationally protected monument by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

  • Entry Timings: 6 AM to 6 PM
  • Entry Fee: ₹ 5
  • Nearest Airport: Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Pen and Panvel Railway Station
  • How to reach: Alibag is well connected to Mumbai’s roadways and waterways. You can choose to take a long ride and explore the scenic road route to Alibag or choose to travel via jetty/ ferry, available at the Gateway of India to Alibag. From there you can get to Alibag Beach by local buses, car rides, or auto rides.

8. Lohagad Fort

Lohagad Fort

#8 of 15 Best Forts in Maharashtra

A military marvel built in the 16th century, Lohagad Fort was ruled by the Maratha Empire throughout (apart from a short span of 5 years when it fell into the hands of the Mughal Empire). Standing 1,033 metres tall above sea level, Lohagad Fort is one of the best forts in Maharashtra for trekking. It is inter-connected to Visapur Fort by a small range. So, if you like a good challenge, you could visit two forts in one day.

During the monsoon season, the trail to the fort is even more beautiful. If you take a small detour, you can explore the majestic Bhaja Caves, especially if spelunking is your thing. Another option is to scale this mountain in a motor vehicle, as there is a well-paved tar road that goes all the way up to the fort. Once you reach the top, you can enjoy the stunning views of Parvana Reservoir.

  • Entry Time: 9 AM to 6 PM
  • Entry Fee: Free
  • Nearest Airport: Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Airport and Pune International Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Malavi Railway Station
  • How to reach: Lonavala is well connected by railways and roadways to both Mumbai and Pune. Once in Lonavala, you can opt for a local train to reach Malavli Railway Station and then take a shared cab or auto to the fort, which is just 5 km away. You can also book a private cab or use a public bus from Lonavala to reach Malavli Station.

9. Tikona Fort

Tikona Fort

#9 of 15 Best Forts in Maharashtra

Situated at a height of 1,107 metres, this is among the most popular forts in Maharashtra for trekking. The name Tikona comes from the triangular shape of the hill. Also called Vitangad, the fort is a dominant hill fortress of Konkan’s Pawan Maval region. It consists of enchanting Buddhist and Satavahana caves. Are you thinking about meditating already? But you might want to keep your eyes open to soak in the views of the Sahyadris, which will instantly melt all your exhaustion from trekking. After you have rested, you can also visit the Trimbakeshwar Mahadev Temple within the fort. It signifies the spiritual beliefs of the first residents of this fort.

  • Entry Time: 8 AM to 6 PM
  • Entry Fee: Free
  • Nearest Airport: Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Airport and Pune International Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Lonavala Railway Station, Kamshet Railway Station
  • How to reach: Lonavala is well connected to Mumbai and Pune by road and rail. Once you reach Lonavala, you can find local transport to take you to Kamshet, and from there, you can reach Tikona Peth. You can also reach Kamshet directly from Mumbai and Pune by road.

10. Shaniwarwada Fort

Shaniwarwada Fort

#10 of 15 Best Forts in Maharashtra

This is one of the few forts that will give you a glimpse into the imperial architecture of the Maratha era. It was built by Peshwa Baji Rao I and was the royal abode of the Peshwa dynasty. The stone walls of the fort convey stories of the colourful life led by the heroic Marathas. A visit to this fort is a must to relive the bravery of the Maratha Kingdom.

  • Entry Time: 8 AM to 6 PM
  • Entry Fee: ₹ 5
  • Nearest Airport: Pune International Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Pune Railway Station
  • How to reach: It is located right in the heart of Pune. The fort is 12 km from the airport. One can easily get local transport or can take a private car to reach this fort.

Learn more about the throne of the Peshwas

11. Sindhudurg Fort

One of the few forts in Maharashtra built on the seafloor, Sindhudurg Fort is located on the beautiful shore of Tarkarli Beach. It was built by none other than the ruler of the Marathas, Shivaji Maharaj. The fort was constructed over a period of 3 years, thanks to the expertise of over 100 Portuguese architects and thousands of Indian labourers. You can enjoy the calming sea breeze and admire the beautiful Arabian Sea from here. 

  • Entry Time: 8 AM to 6 PM
  • Entry Fee: ₹ 5
  • Nearest Airport: Dabolim Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Kudal Railway Station
  • How to reach: You have to reach Tarkarli and use local transport to reach the beach. You can also take a train from major cities like Mumbai, Pune, Goa to reach Kudal Railway Station, which is 45 km from the beach. There are plenty of buses available till Malven, which is just 6 km from Tarkarli. You can also take the NH 17 or NH 4 route via Mumbai-Pune Expressway in a private car.

12. Vasai Fort

Vasai Fort

#1 of 12 Best Forts in Maharashtra

The history of Vasai Fort dates back to the 6th century when the Greek merchant Cosma Indicopleustes visited the nearby areas. The Chinese traveller Xuanzang also visited the area somewhere around 640 CE. Also known as Fort Bassein, the fort is famous as a shooting location, and many Bollywood movies have been shot here. You might want to get a selfie while you are here.

  • Entry Time: 9 AM to 6 PM
  • Entry fee: Free
  • Nearest Airport: Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Vasai Railway Station
  • How to reach: You can take the Mumbai local train to Vasai Station and get on a local bus or hire a private car to reach Vasai Beach.

13. Sinhagad Fort

Sinhagad Fort

#1 of 13 Best Forts in Maharashtra

Sinhagad Fort, also known as Kondana Fort, was the pride of the Maratha Empire. In the epic Mughal-Maratha Battle of 1671, Tanaji Malusare won back the Kondana Fort from the Mughals and sacrificed his own life in the process. It is one of the most celebrated and bittersweet victories of the Maratha era. The fortress has an elevation of around 1,312 metres above sea level and has breakneck slopes that were meant to protect it against enemies. Once you reach the fortress, you can soak in the mesmerizing views of Khadakwasla Dam.

The fort has two entrances – one in the north-eastern region (Pune Darwaza) and the other in the South-Eastern region (Kalyan Darwaza). It also consists of Rajaram’s Tomb, monoliths of Tanaji Malusare, Kali Temple, breweries, and a Hanuman effigy.

  • Entry Time: 8 AM to 6 PM
  • Entry Fee: ₹ 20
  • Nearest Airport: Pune International Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Pune Railway Station
  • How to reach: The fort is 37 km from Pune and well-connected to the city’s local transport system.

14. Daulatabad Fort

Daulatabad Fort

#1 of 14 Best Forts in Maharashtra

Just 15 km from the city of Aurangabad, this 12th-century fort was built by Yadava Prince Bhillama V in 1187. Situated on a hilltop that is 200 metres above sea level, the fort overlooks the city of Daulatabad. You can only imagine the strategic brilliance of the prince in building such a fort. The panoramic views make it one of the best forts in Maharashtra for trekking. So, if you have a free weekend, you can visit this architectural marvel.

  • Entry Time: 9 AM to 6 PM
  • Entry Fee: ₹ 10
  • Nearest Airport: Aurangabad Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Aurangabad Railway Station
  • How to reach: The fort is about 20 km from Aurangabad city, railway station and airport. You can hire a private car or use local transport to reach it.

Check out Top Places to Visit near Aurangabad (within 100 km)

15. Prabalgad Fort

Built by the Bahmani Sultanate, Prabhalgad Fort was used as a watchtower to keep an eye on Panvel Fort and Kalyan Fort. This fort was previously known as Muranjan but was rechristened under Shivaji’s rule. Flanked by the Western Ghats, the trail to the fort is covered by dense forests, making the trek an adventurous one. Pro trekkers might know the fort as Kalavantin Durg or Kalavantin’s Fort. It is believed to be named after Queen Kalavantin of the 15th century.

  • Entry Time: All day
  • Entry Fee: ₹ 20
  • Nearest Airport: Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Panvel Railway Station 
  • How to reach: Panvel is easily accessible via Mumbai’s local railway and roadways. From Panvel, you can hire local transport to reach Thakurwadi, the base village of the fort, and can start the trek from there.

So, you now know about the most important forts in Maharashtra and their information. Explore them when you are yearning for leisure, adrenaline rush or a historically exciting time. As long as you are prepared with the right gear, food and water, fort-trekking in Maharashtra can turn out to be an unforgettable experience.