Perched on a hilltop in the Raigad district of Maharashtra, Raigad Fort is an impressive affair, boasting intricate history. Overlooking the serene Gangasagar Lake, this once-mighty stronghold of the Maratha Empire houses a magnificent statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji. This strategically constructed hill fort can be reached by climbing a whopping 1,450 steps approximately. If this seems challenging, an idyllic ropeway ride can get you there too, in just four minutes. Eager to know more?
For starters, the Raigad Fort location is easily accessible from different parts of the country. You can take a flight to Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport (112 km away) and then hire a cab. Or, if you prefer to travel by train, the closest station is the Mangaon Railway Station (28 km away). The fort is also well-connected via roadways as frequent buses are run by Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC). To know more about this historic attraction, read on.
Information About Raigad Fort
Raigad district, Maharashtra
10 AM – 6 PM (Daily)
Still and Video Cameras
Year of Establishment
Best Time to Visit
October to March
The above information about Raigad Fort will help you chalk out an itinerary easily. This wonderful edifice is a fine example of the Maratha era and has a lot for you to explore. To start with, its glorious past dates back to the 1600s.
Raigad Fort: History
Raigad Fort, formerly named as the Fort of Rairi, was seized by the brave warrior king of the Maratha Dynasty, Chhatrapati Shivaji. He renamed it as the Raigad fort. The Mughals, later in the year 1689, took over this fort, and the sixth Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, titled it ‘Islamgad’. An armed expedition by the British East India Company targeted this fort as a piratical stronghold. It is believed to be partially destroyed owing to bombardments from Kalkai Hills in May 1818.
This fort has witnessed various historical events and has managed to retain its old-world charm beautifully. It still flaunts the grandeur of the Marathas through its architecture, which draws a variety of tourists every year.
Raigad Fort: Architecture
Raigad, meaning the King’s fort, was built by Chhatrapati Shivaji. However, the true mastermind behind the Raigad Fort architecture was the visionary architect Hiroji Indulkar. Every nook and cranny of Raigad Fort reflects his architectural expertise.
Once you reach the fort, the sole pathway towards the entrance is the ‘Maha Darwaza’. Its boundaries and watchtowers were strongly built and have stood the test of times. The interiors consist of eight chambers for eight queens of the king. At the back of the chambers, there is an enormous lake called the Elephant Lake (once used for bathing elephants).
As you proceed, you will reach the Durbar Hall that houses the throne of Chhatrapati Shivaji. The Durbar Hall is believed to be an example of an acoustic architectural arrangement. If you whisper anything from any one corner of the Durbar, it can be easily heard at the throne. When you walk out of the Durbar and walk down the lane, you can spot the sculpture of Chhatrapati Shivaji on a throne. It is placed right in the centre of the marketplace. If you walk further to the right, you will find the Jagadishwar Temple (dedicated to Lord Shiva). The samadhi of Chhatrapati Shivaji and his loyal dog ‘Waghya’ are placed in the front of the temple.
Raigad Fort: Today
The fragmented ruins of Raigad killa still retain the charm of olden times through its aesthetically pleasing ambience. It stands tall as a glorious reminder of Maratha opulence. And if you need the kind of adrenaline rush that comes from adventures, you can opt for a Raigad Fort trek.
Things to see in Raigad Fort
The fort is a complex of massive gateways, queen chambers, court complexes, and much more for you to explore. Here’s the list:
- Rani Vasa, a complex consisting of six chambers where Jijabai Shahaji Bhonsle, mother of Chhatrapati Shivaji, stayed with other queens.
- Palkhi Darwaza, a special passage used by the King and his convoys.
- Raj Bhavan, the royal court where the king announced his verdicts on trivial matters to the people of his kingdom.
- Raj Sabha or a huge complex where a huge number of people gathered on occasions of joy, sorrow, or importance.
- Royal Bath, a bathing area strictly used by the royal family members. It has an impressive drainage system that is inspired by modern technology, way ahead of its time.
- Watch towers, used to spot enemies from afar.
- Holi Cha Mal, a huge open ground where Holi celebration took place every year.
- Hirakani Buruj, a robust bastion built over a clifftop named after a strong woman who managed to climb the cliff without fear.
- Takmak Tok, a solid gigantic rock cliff at 12,00 feet, which offers picturesque views of the valley.
Lesser-Known Facts about Raigad Fort
Why settle for facts that everyone else knows, when you can know more?
- The ‘Mena Darwaja’ is the second entrance into the fort, which was a former private entrance for the royal ladies.
- The right side of the Palkhi Darwaza leads to three deep chambers used for storing granaries.
- The ‘Takmak Tok’ was earlier used as an execution point, from where the prisoners were pushed to their death from the cliff.
- The ‘Maha Darwaja’ comprises huge bastions on both sides that are 65-70 feet in height.
- A group of 10,000 men from the cavalry division was always on guard in the Pachad Village at the foothill of the fort.
- The much-talked-about throne of Chhatrapati Shivaji was made of pure gold and studded with precious stones. It had a golden umbrella on the top that weighed 1280 tons.
Attractions Near Raigad Fort
These are the top places to visit near Raigad Fort:
- The Jagadishwar Temple, a historical temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is around 300-year-old and still counted as one of the most well-maintained temples in Raigad.
- The Jijamata Palace, a palace dedicated to the birth mother of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaja, Jijamata Shahaji Bhonsle. You can visit it in the Pachad Village on the way to the fort.
- Raigad Museum, a treasure trove of royal artefacts and exhibits weaponry of its times. You can even find the turban collection of Shivaji here and rare photographs and hand-written scripts, etc.
Raigad Fort Trek: Time to Grab Your Trekking Shoes!
A trek to the fort is a popular weekend activity for people in Mumbai and Pune as it can be covered on the same day. The monsoon season is the best time to visit Raigad Fort for the trek as the scenery is simply mesmerising. An exciting climb takes you to the top of the fort from where you can enjoy spectacular aerial views of the landscape. The Sahyadri Mountain ranges surrounding the fort offer great panoramic views too. Planning a Raigad fort trek during the monsoon? Carry essentials like a water bottle, light snacks, an extra pair of clothing, a portable flashlight, and rain covers. This will ensure a safe and hassle-free trekking experience.
So, what are you waiting for? The majestic aura and enchanting history of Raigad Fort deserves your close attention, whether you like time travel, exciting moments or shooting amazing photographs. Plan a visit today!