Capital of Maratha Empire.
Height : 820 metres (2,700 ft)
Address: Mahad, Raigad, Maharashtra, India.
Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj seized the fort in 1656, then known as the fort of Rairi from Raje Chandrarraoji More, The King of Jawli and a descendant of Chandragupta Maurya family. Chatrapati Shivaji renovated and expanded the fort of Rairi and renamed it as Raigad (King’s Fort). It became the capital of Chatrapati Shivaji’s Maratha kingdom. The villages of Pachad and Raigadwadi are located at the base of the Raigad fort. These two villages were considered very important during the Maratha rule in Raigad. The actual climb to the top of the Raigad fort starts from Pachad. During Chhatrapati Shivaji’s rule, A cavalry of 10,000 was always kept on standby in Pachad village.
In 1818, the fort was bombarded and destroyed by cannons from the hill of Kalkai. And on 9 May 1818, as per the treaty, it was handed over to the British East India Company. The fort was looted and destroyed by the British after it was captured in 1818.
There are approximately 1737 steps leading to the fort. The Raigad Ropeway, an aerial tramway exists to reach the top of the fort in 10 minutes.
The Raigad Fort was built by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Maharashtra and the chief architect/engineer was Hiroji Indulkar. The main palace was constructed using wood, of which only the base pillars remain. The main fort ruins consist of the queen’s quarters, six chambers, with each chamber having its own private restroom. 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 Raigad Fort also has ruins of a market which was accessible to horseback riders. The fort also overlooks an artificial lake known as the Ganga Sagar Lake.
The Maha Darwaja
The only main pathway to the fort passes through the “Maha Darwaja” (Huge Door). The Maha Darwaja has two huge bastions on both sides of the door which are approximately 65–70 feet in height. The top of the fort is 600 ft higher from the location of this door.
The fort has a famous wall called “Hirakani Buruj” (Hirkani Bastion) constructed over a huge steep cliff. The legend goes “that a woman by the name of 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 past 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 dark all due to the love for her little one. She later repeated this extraordinary feat in front of Shivaji and was bravely rewarded for it.” In appreciation of her courage and bravery, Shivaji built the Hirkani Bastion over this cliff.
The King’s durbar inside the Raigad Fort has a replica of the original throne that faces the main doorway called the Nagarkhana Darwaja. This enclosure had been acoustically designed to aid hearing from the doorway to the throne. A secondary entrance, called the Mena Darwaja, 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. 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.
The Takmak Tok
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.
The statue of Chatrapati Shivaji is erected in front of the ruins of the main market avenue that leads to the Jagdishwar Mandir and his own Samadhi and that of his loyal dog named Waghya. The Samadhi of Rajmata Jijabai Shahaji Bhosale, Chatrapati Shivaji’s mother, can be seen at base village of Pachad.
The Samadhi of Jijabai
Additional famous attractions of the fort include the Khubladha Buruj, Nane Darwaja and the Hatti Talav (Elephant Lake).