|Raigad District, Maharashtra|
Raigad Fort towers
|Height||1,356 metres (4,400 ft) ASL|
|Owner||Government of India|
|Controlled by|| Maratha Empire (1656-1689)
Mughal Empire (1689-1707)
Maratha Empire (1707-1818)India (1947-)
|Built by||Hiroji Indalkar|
Raigad is a hill fort situated in the Mahad, Raigad district of Maharashtra, India. The Raigad Fort was seized by Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and made it his capital in 1674 when he was crowned as the King of a Maratha Kingdom which later developed into the Maratha Empire, eventually covering much of western and central India.
The fort rises 820 metres (2,700 ft) above the sea level and is located in the Sahyadri mountain range. 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 fort was looted and destroyed by the British after it was captured in 1818.
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 1689, Zulfikhar Khan captured Raigad and Aurangzeb renamed it as Islamgad. In 1707, Siddi Fathekan captured the fort and held it until 1733.
In 1765, The fort of Raigad along with Malwan in present Sindhudurg District, the southernmost district of Maharashtra, was the target of an armed expedition by the British East India Company, which considered it a piratical stronghold.
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 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.
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.
Additional famous attractions of the fort include the Khubladha Buruj, Nane Darwaja and the Hatti Talav (Elephant Lake).
- The statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji's pet dog was removed by alleged members of the Sambhaji Brigade in July 2012 as a protest but was re-instated by Shri Shivaji Raigad Smarak Samiti, the Archaeological Survey of India, sculptor Rambhau Parkhi and the District Administration
Statue of Shivaji at the spot where his rajyabhishek took place.
- "Raigarh". Imperial Gazetteer of India, Volume 21. 1909. pp. 47–48. Retrieved 2014-02-19.
- Naravane, M.S. (1998). The maritime and coastal forts of India. New Delhi: APH Pub. Corp. p. 61. ISBN 9788170249108.
- Write-up from the Raigad ropeway
- Gunaji, Milind (2005). Offbeat Tracks in Maharashtra. Popular Prakashan. p. 41. ISBN 81-7154-669-2. Retrieved 2009-03-17.
- "73 held for removing Shivaji's dog's statue from Raigad fort". DNA. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
- "Vaghyacha putala punha basavala". Sakal. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Raigad Fort.|
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