Raigad, situated in the Raigad district of Maharashtra, India, is a hill fort located in the town of Mahad. It is one of the strongest fortresses on the Deccan Plateau and was historically referred to as Rairee or Rairy fort.[1]

Raigad Fort
Raigad District, Maharashtra
(near Mahad)
Raigad Fort entrance
Raigad Fort is located in Maharashtra
Raigad Fort
Raigad Fort
Shown within Maharashtra
Raigad Fort is located in India
Raigad Fort
Raigad Fort
Raigad Fort (India)
Coordinates18°14′01″N 73°26′26″E / 18.2335°N 73.4406°E / 18.2335; 73.4406
TypeHill fort
Height1,356 metres (4,400 ft) ASL
Site information
Owner
Open to
the public
Yes
Site history
ArchitectSardar Hiroji Indalkar
MaterialsStone, Lead
Garrison information
Past
commanders

Shivaji, the Maratha ruler, along with the his chief engineer Hiroji Indulkar, oversaw the construction and development of various buildings and structures within Raigad. In 1674, after being crowned the king of the Maratha Kingdom of the Konkan, Shivaji chose Raigad as his capital.[2]

Located at an elevation of 820 metres (2,700 ft) (2,700 ft) above its base and 1,356 m (4,449 ft) (4,449 ft) above sea level within the Sahyadri mountain range, the fort offers views of the surrounding area. Accessing the fort requires ascending approximately 1,737 steps. Alternatively, visitors can opt for the Raigad Ropeway, an aerial tramway spanning 750 m (2,460 ft) (2,460 ft) in length and reaching a height of 400 m (1,300 ft) (1,300 ft), which conveniently transports them from the ground to the fort in just four minutes.

Major features

edit
 
The Maha Darwaja
 
The Samadhi of Rajmata Jijabai ".

The main palace was constructed using wood, of which only the base pillars remain. The main fort ruins consist of the queen's quarters, and six chambers, with each chamber having its private restroom. The chambers do not have any windows. In addition, ruins of three watch towers can be seen directly in front of the palace grounds out of which only two remain as the third one was destroyed during a bombardment. The fort also overlooks an artificial lake known as the Ganga Sagar Lake.[3]

The only main pathway to the fort passes through the "Maha Darwaja" (Huge Door) which was previously closed at sunset. The Maha Darwaja has two huge bastions on both sides of the door which are approximately 20–21 m (65–70 ft) in height. The top of the fort is 180 m (600 ft) above this door.

The king's court, inside the Raigad Fort, has a replica of the original throne that faces the main doorway called the Nagarkhana Darwaja. It faces the East Side. It was here where Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's Rajyabhishek took place. This enclosure had been acoustically designed to aid hearing from the doorway to the throne. A secondary entrance, called the Mena Darwaja on the south side, was supposedly the private entrance for the royal ladies of the fort that lead to the queen's quarters. The convoy of the king and the king himself used the Palkhi Darwaja. on the north side. To the right of Palkhi Darwaja, is a row of three dark and deep chambers. Historians believe that these were the granaries for the fort.[4]

From the fort, one can view the execution point called Takmak Tok, a cliff from which sentenced prisoners were thrown to their death. This area has been fenced off.[5]

A statue of Shivaji is erected in front of the ruins of the main market avenue that leads to the Jagdishwar Mandir, which has Sardar Hiroji Indalkar's name engraved on the first step, his own Samadhi and that of his dog named Waghya. The Samadhi of Rajmata Jijabai, Shivaji's mother, can be seen at the base village of Pachad. Additional attractions of the fort include the Khubladha Buruj, Nane Darwaja and the Hatti Talav (Elephant Lake). Henry Oxienden was on the fort from 13 May to 13 June 1674 & he quoted "We arrived at the top of that strong mountain about sunn sett, which is fortified by nature more than art, being off very difficult access, and but one advance to it, which is guarded by two narrow gates, and fortified with a strong high wall, and bastions thereto. All the other parte of the mountaine is a direct precipice, so that it is impregnable except the treachery of some in it betrayes it. On the Mountaine are many strong buildings, as the Rajahs Court,and houses for other Ministers of State, to the number of about 300, It is in length about 21 miles and breadth * a mile, but noe pleasant trees nor any sort of grains growes thereon. Our house was about a mile from the Rajahs Pallaoe, into which wee retired with noe little content."[3]

Hirakani Buruj

edit

The fort has a historic buruj called "Hirakani Buruj" (Hirakani Bastion) constructed over a huge steepcliff. The legend goes "that a milkmaid named as Hirakani from a nearby village had come to sell milk to the people living at the fort. She happened to be inside the fort when the gates got closed and locked at sunset. Hearing the cries of her infant son back at the village echo after nightfall, the anxious mother couldn't wait till dawn and courageously climbed down the steep cliff in pitch darkness all for the love of her little one. She later repeated this extraordinary feat in front of Shivaji and was rewarded for her bravery." Noticing that this was a potential loophole, Shivaji built a bastion over the cliff and named it after the milkmaid as Hirakani Buruj.[3][6]

Incidents

edit

The statue of Shivaji's pet dog was removed by alleged members of the Sambhaji Brigade[7] in July 2012 as a protest but was re-instated by Shivaji Raigad Smarak Samiti, the Archaeological Survey of India, sculptor Rambhau Parkhi and the District Administration.[8]

edit

See also

edit

References

edit
  1. ^ Sengar, Resham. "This is why you should visit Maharashtra's Raigad Fort". The Times of India.
  2. ^ "Raigarh". Imperial Gazetteer of India, Volume 21. 1909. pp. 47–48. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Verma, Amrit (1985). Forts of India. New Delhi: The Director of Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 86-9. ISBN 81-230-1002-8.
  4. ^ "Write-up from the Raigad ropeway". Archived from the original on 5 January 2007. Retrieved 13 January 2007.
  5. ^ Gunaji, Milind (2005). Offbeat Tracks in Maharashtra. Popular Prakashan. p. 41. ISBN 81-7154-669-2. Retrieved 17 March 2009.
  6. ^ Gunaji, Milind (2010). Offbeat Tracks in Maharashtra. Popular Prakashan. ISBN 978-81-7991-578-3.
  7. ^ "73 held for removing Shivaji's dog's statue from Raigad fort". DNA. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  8. ^ "Vaghyacha putala punha basavala". Sakal. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
edit