Raigad Fort

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For the town in Chhattisgarh, see Raigarh.
Raigad Fort
Raigad District, Maharashtra
(near Mahad)
RaigadFort3.jpg
Raigad fort towers
Raigad Fort is located in Maharashtra
Raigad Fort
Raigad Fort
Shown within Maharashtra
Coordinates 18°14′01″N 73°26′26″E / 18.2335°N 73.4406°E / 18.2335; 73.4406
Type Hill fort
Height 1,356 metres (4,400 ft) ASL
Site information
Owner Government of India
Controlled by

 Maratha Empire (1656-1689)

Mughal Empire (1689-1707)

 Maratha Empire (1707-1818)

East India Company (1818-1857)

British Raj (1857-1947)

 India (1947-)
Open to
the public
Yes
Site history
Built by Hiroji Indulkar (Deshmukh)
Materials Stone, Lead
Garrison information
Past
commanders
Shivaji Killa
Occupants Sambhaji

Raigad is a hill fort situated in the Mahad, Raigad district of Maharashtra, India. The Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj built this fort and made his capital in 1674 when he was crowned King of a Maratha Kingdom which later developed into the Maratha Empire eventually covering majority of modern-day India.[1][2]

The fort, which rises 820 metres (2,700 ft) above sea level, is located in the Sahyadri mountain range. There are approximately 1737 steps leading to the fort, though today Raigad Ropeway, an aerial tramway, exists to reach the top of the fort in 20 minutes. The fort was looted and destroyed by the British after its capture in 1818.

Europeans also used to call it 'Gibraltar of the East'

History[edit]

The Ghats from Ryghur
Raigad 1896

Shivaji had seized the fort in 1656, then the fort of Rairi, from the royal house of Chandrarrao Mores, a junior or Cadet dynasty to descended from the ancient Maurya imperial dynasty. The last More king (or raja) was a feudatory of the Sultan of Bijapur. Shivaji renovated and expanded the fort of Rairi and renamed it Raigad (the King's Fort). It became the capital of Shivaji's kingdom.[citation needed]

Pachad and Raigadwadi villages are located at the base of the Raigad. These two were very important villages during the Maratha rule. Actual climb on the top of Raigad starts from Pachad. In Maratha rule 10000 cavalry was always kept as a standby in Pachad village.

After capturing Rairi from Chandrarao More, Shivaji also built another fort Lingana which is around 2 miles away from Raigad. where he used to keep prisoners.

In 1689 Zulfikhar Khan captured Raigad and Aurangzeb renamed it as 'Islamgad'

In 1765 the Raigad Fort, 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.[citation needed]

In 1818 the fort was bombarded and destroyed by using cannons from the hill of Kalkai. and as per treaty on 9 May 1818, it been handed over to British East India Company[citation needed]

Major features[edit]

Dawn at Raigad Fort

The fort was built by Chandrarao Mores in 1030. Its ruins today consist of the queen's quarters: six chambers, with each chamber having its own private restroom. The main palace was constructed using wood, of which only the bases of pillars remain. Ruins of three watch towers can be seen directly in front of the palace grounds overlooking an artificial lake called Ganga Sagar Lake created next to the fort. It also has a view of the execution point called Takmak Tok, a cliff from which the sentenced prisoners were thrown to their death. The area is now fenced off.[3] The fort also has ruins of the market, and it has such structure that one can shop even while riding on a horse.

Maha Darwaja (literary Huge Door) having two very huge bastion on both sides of the door which are approximately 65–70 feet height. the top of the for is 600 ft higher from the location of this door. Fort was having only once access route which goes through this Maha Darwaja.

Khubladha Buruj, Nane Darwaja, Hatti Talav (Elephant Lake), Gangasagar are the famous attractions of the fort.

Tomb of Jijabai, Shivaji's mother. can be seen at base village Pachad

The fort has a famous wall called "Hirakani Buruj" (Hirkani Bastion) constructed over a huge cliff. Its story is that a woman by the name of Hirakani from a nearby village at the foothills of Raigad had come to sell milk to the people living in the fort. She was inside the fort when the gates were locked by sunset. The love for her infant son back at her village gave her the courage to climb down the cliff in the dark. She repeated the feat in front of King Shivaji, and was rewarded for it. In appreciation of her courage, Shivaji arranged for a wall built at this location. Even today[when?] we can see it standing.[citation needed]

The king's public court (Durbar) 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 of the royal ladies of the fort; it leads to the queen's quarters. The erstwhile main entrance to the fort is the imposing Maha Darwaja. 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.[4]

A statue of Shivaji is erected in front of the ruins of the main market avenue that eventually leads to the Jagdishwar Mandir and his own Samadhi (tomb) and that of his loyal dog Waghya. The statue was removed by alleged members of the Sambhaji Brigade[5] 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[6]

Gallery[edit]

Samadhi (Tomb) of Chhatrapti Shivaji

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Raigarh Fort". Retrieved 2012-05-18. 
  2. ^ "Raigarh". Imperial Gazetteer of India, Volume 21. 1909. pp. 47–48. Retrieved 2014-02-19. 
  3. ^ Gunaji, Milind (2005). Offbeat Tracks in Maharashtra. Popular Prakashan. p. 41. ISBN 81-7154-669-2. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  4. ^ Write-up from the Raigad ropeway
  5. ^ "73 held for removing Shivaji's dog's statue from Raigad fort". DNA. Retrieved 4 August 2012. 
  6. ^ "Vaghyacha putala punha basavala". Sakal. Retrieved 4 August 2012. 

External links[edit]