Maharashtra is a state with a rich history. The Mughals and Marathas owned a lot of lands here and built some beautiful forts. Almost every fort in Maharashtra was built by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and his Maratha Empire. They built some outstanding forts that stand proudly in Maharashtra. We take a look at all forts in Maharashtra you must visit.
List of Forts in Maharashtra
1. Shivneri Fort
Shivneri fort is the birthplace where Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was born. It is located neared Junnar town in the district of Pune, 105 Kilometres far away from Pune. This fort is surrounded by steep upward slopes from all four sides and is unassailable. There is a small temple of Goddess Shivai and the idols of Jijabai (Mother of Shri Shivaji) and Shivaji in his childhood. Shivneri fort is shaped in like Shiv-Pind (Shiva’s sacred symbol; Divine Phallus). This fort is visible as soon as you enter Junnar town.
This fort is not that big in the area. Dr. John Friar of East India Companies visited this fort in 1673. He has mentioned in his book that, this fort can hoard sufficient food to meet the needs of one thousand families enough to last for Seven years. Considered as the birthplace of Shivaji Maharaj, the Shivneri Fort holds high esteem in Maratha and Maharashtrian history.
The fort was constructed in a unique triangular shape and had many mosques, ponds, and a tomb inside. Here, there is a temple that is dedicated to Goddess Shivai Devi and a massive chain gate at the entrance. Noteworthy sites here are the statues of Jijabai and a young Shivaji. The climb up to the fort is pretty easy. However, if you are good at trekking, you can try going up to the fort from the chain route located on the western side of the fort (this would be a bit challenging for amateurs).
• visiting Hours: All Day •
the Nearest Railway Station: Pune
2. Sinhagad Fort
Sinhagad is a hill fortress located at around 36 km southwest of the city of Pune, Sinhagad fort is one of the hills fortresses which are situated at around 36 km southwest from the Pune. The meaning of the form name is nothing but Marathi word “Lion.” Sinhagad One of the more popular forts in Maharashtra, this fort is believed to have been conquered by Tanaji Malusare’s brother from the Mughals.
There are few old stables at the fort which were used by the Maratha army to keep their horses. There is also a memorial built in honor of Tanaji Malusare, a brave Maratha warrior. Inside the ruins city of Pof the fort also lies the tomb of Rajaram Chhatrapati and a small temple dedicated to Goddess Kali. As per history, there are some indications that say is the fort might be built before 2000 years ago.
Their caves and carvings made in the Kaundinyeshwar temple is the biggest proof of that history. This fort was previously named as a Kondhana. The fort had been a history of many battles, most notably the Battle of Sinhagad in 1670. Resting on an isolated cliff of the Bhuleswar range in the Sahyadri Mountains, the fort is situated on a hill about 760 meters above ground and 1,312 meters above mean sea level.
The Lion’s fort or Sinhagad was ideally and strategically built to a supply natural protection because of its very sharp, and steep slopes. At key places, the walls and bastions were constructed carefully. The fort has two gates to enter at the fort, one is Kalyan Darwaja which is positioned at the southeast and the other one is Pune Darwaja which is at north-east ends respectively.
The fort was also strategically located at the center of a string of other Maratha occupied forts such as Rajgad Fort, Purandar Fort, and Torna Fort.
3. Rajgad Fort
• Visiting Hours: Open all-day
• The Nearest Railway Station: Pune
The Rajgad Fort was built on the Murumbadevi Dongar Hills in the Sahyadris range. Rajgad is an ancient hill fort situated at a distance of 54 km from the Pune district of Maharashtra. The fort is a popular trekking spot for locals and tourists in the monsoon. We can see a marvelous view of the gorgeous Sahyadris from the top of the Rajgad fort.
It is one of the popular tourist places of Maharashtra from the trekking and tourist point of view. Sahyadri mountains and hills have got one of the grand forts which are Rajgad Fort that lies at an altitude of 1400 m (4, 600 feet). Rajgad Fort was formerly known as Murumdev and it was the capital during the rule of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj for 25 years. The Torna Fort has got some treasures found which was later used to build Rajgad Fort.
This was one of the favorite forts of Shivaji Maharaj, and he stayed the most in this fort. This fort is the witness of many historical events which took place in this fort, some of them are the birth of Shivaji’s son named Rajaram Chhatrapati, his queen called Saibai’s death, and Afzal Khan’s head is buried in the fort. The fort is split into four different parts which are nothing but Padmavati Machi, Suvela Machi, Sanjeevani Machi, and Balekilla (small fort).
The fort is an example of splendid design and construction. The fort has a 40 km diameter at the base which makes it difficult for anybody to lay siege to it. Sanjeevani Machi has three-layered bastion which simply marvels and is situated on the southwest end. This extends approximately 2.5 km along with many cisterns.
Fort has a lower layer which was separated by fortified bastion along with the gate. Due to defend independently. The fort also has an underground escape route which in case of emergency opens directly to the outermost bastion.
On the eastern part of the Rajgad fort is Suvela Machi which is a narrow strip that leads to a fortified end. There is one Hanuman temple situated before the fortification and towards that temple, Nedh is there. Nedh is a giant hole on the rock face about 3 m in diameter carved by years of erosion.
The Padmavati machi was most preferably used for the reason of Military base as well as residential purposes. The Padmavati Machi has a Lake, Padmavati Temple, Pali Darwaja, Chor Dawaraja. Also, some famous spot there Gunjawane Darwaja, Daru Kothar, Diwankhana, Rajwada, and Ghod Tale. Besides these, there is also a Samadhi of Saibai, Shivaji’s first wife.
In Rajgad fort, Balekilla was one of the highest parts in the fort in which we found most beautiful caves, water cisterns, and places. The entrance door of the Balekilla is called as Maha Darwaja. We can easily capture a complete view of the fort from this point. The Rajgad fort is one of the most popular destinations in Maharashtra from the trekking point of view which is located nearby Pune.
The fort has many trekking routes to reach in the fort. You can start the trek from Gunjawane village with one of the most popular routes for trekking from Padmavati Machi via Chor Darwaja. From the village, it takes around three and a half hours to reach Padmavati machi which approximately covers a distance up to 4.5 km. And this trek is a little tough to reach.
From Pali the village, we can start trek for Pali Darwaja which is simple to climb. It will take approximately Two hours to reach the fort from Pali Darwaja. There is one more route is there which is called Bhor route that starts from Bhutonde village. From Bhutonde village, a 3 -4-hour trek will take visitors to Alu Darwaja of Rajgad. This route is not as popular as the other two routes. The Nearest Railway Station is Pune.
4. Pratapgad Fort
Pratapgarh fort is the largest fort in Maharashtra. Popular attractions at the fort are the tomb of Afzal Khan and the temple dedicated to Goddess Bhavani. Just about 25 kilometers away from the Pratapgad Fort is the popular hill station Mahabaleshwar, which is an ideal place for a weekend getaway.
This fort is located approximately 25 km from Mahabaleshwar in the Satara district of Maharashtra and 1,080 meters from sea level. This fort was the site of Pratapgarh’s battle, now it is a popular tourist destination.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the King of Maratha Empire, appointed Prime Minister Moropant Trimbak Pingale to build Pratapgad Fort to protect the banks of the Nira and Koyna rivers. Construction of Pratapgad Fort was completed in 1596. This was Shivaji Maharaj’s first victory. In 1659, the Pratapgarh battle was fought between Maharaja Shivaji and Afzal Khan.
Structure of Pratapgad Fort
Pratapgarh fort is divided into 2 parts. One of these is called the upper fort, while the other is called less fortress. The upper fort was constructed on the top of a hill and it is approximately 180 meters long, which has many permanent buildings.
On the north-west side of the fort is the temple of Lord Mahadev, which is surrounded by rocks at a height of 250 meters. On the other side, the lower fort at the south-east end of the fort is rescued from high towers and strongholds, which is 10-12 meters high.
In 1661, Shivaji Maharaj was unable to visit the goddess Bhavani temple in Tuljapur. He decided to build a temple of Goddess in this fort. This temple is situated on the eastern side of the lower fort. This temple is made of stone, and it has a black stone statue of Goddess.
Pratapgad Fort Attractions –
• The tomb of Afzal Khan: The tomb of Afzal Khan is the main attraction which is situated far away from the fort to the south-east.
• Entrance: The entrance is very beautiful and still in good condition.
• Devi Bhavani Temple: This temple was originally built by Shivaji Maharaj and he established a beautiful statue of Bhavani Devi in the temple. You can also see the sword of Hambirrao Mohite in the temple.
• Above the fort, Shivaji Maharaj has built a memorial.
How to reach Pratapgad Fort?
1) Road Trip: Pratapgad Fort is about 25 km away from Mahabaleshwar. You can take an ST bus from Panvel to Poladpur. From Wada village, you can go to Fort Fort from 4-wheeler.
2) Railway Travel: Satara Railway Station located near Pratapgad Fort.
3) Air Travel: Karad Airport is the nearest airport located in the Satara district. It is located around 125 kilometers from Pratapgarh.
Best time to travel
• The best time to visit Pratapgad Fort and Mahabaleshwar is from October to June. The journey of Pratapgad Fort can be planned at any time of the year but during the monsoon, the beauty of this area is increased further.
• Usually, tourists plan to travel from Mahabaleshwar to Pratapgarh. We hope that all information about Pratapgad Fort is available here which is useful for you.
• Nearest Railway Station: Pune
5. Purandar Fort
Purandar Fort is a very well known place for the birthplace of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s son Sambhaji. The fort is repeatedly mentioned in the rising of Shivaji against the Adil Shahi Bijapur Sultanate and the Mughals. The fort of Purandhar stands at 4,472 ft (1,387m) above the sea level in the Western Ghats, 50 km to the southeast of Pune.
The twin forts of Purandar and Vajragad (or Rudramal) of which the latter is the smaller of the two, is located on the eastern side of the main fort.
The upper level is called the Balekilla, while the lower one is known as Machi. At the site of Balekilla, there is a big gate called the Dilli Darwaza that is a great spot for photography. The lower level does not have any noteworthy sites. In the Purandar Fort, one can also see the Kedareshwar temple that was built in honor of Shiva.
• Nearest Railway Station: Pune
• Visiting Hours: 9 am to 5 pm
6. Lohagad Fort
One of the most strategically important forts for the Marathas, the Lohagad Fort was conquered twice by Shivaji Maharaj. This imposing fort stands tall at a height of 1033 meters. Inside the fort, there is a massive chhatri, an elevated, dome-shaped pavilion that now lies in ruin. It is a great spot for photography.
You will also find a few old doors and carvings at the fort. From the fort, take a trip a little away and visit the Bhaja Caves, one of the most fascinating sights in the region.
• Location: Lohagad Trek Road.
• Visiting Hours: Daily till 6 pm
• Nearest Railway Station: Lonavala.
7. Panhala Fort
One of the more famous forts in Maharashtra, the Panhala Fort was the battleground in many wars, the most famous being the Battle of Pavan Khind. The fort is believed to the former home of Tarabai, the queen of Kolhapur. On the fort premises, one can see the Andhra Bavadi, an underground well, the Kalavantinicha Mahal, and the Amberkhana, the site of the three granaries inside the fort.
There are also a few temples within the fort, one of them dedicated to Sambhaji II. The other is the famous Ambabai Temple, believed to be where Shivaji used to offer prayers before going on expeditions.
• Location: Panhala
• Visiting Hours: Open All Day
• Nearest Railway Station: Kolhapur
8. Sindhudurg Fort
Situated on the shores of the Malvan region, the Sindhudurg Fort is spread over 43 acres of land. It took about three years to construct. The fort has a massive wall that served two purposes: it protected the fort from the sea and it prevented enemies from trespassing.
Within the limits of the fort are a few houses and temples dedicated to lords Maruti, Mahadeo, and Mahapurush. Entry to the fort during the monsoon is restricted because of the high tides that reach the top of the fort in the rainy season.
• Location: Malvan
• Visiting Hours: 9 am to 5 pm
• Nearest Railway Station: Sindhudurg
9. Raigad Fort
This is one of the most important forts in Maharashtra. The capital of Shivaji’s empire, the Raigad Fort, stands 2690 feet high above sea level in the Sahyadri mountain range. The fort has a very interesting piece of history behind it.
Did you know that it was the place where Shivaji was coronated as the King of the Maratha Empire? The Raigad Fort also happens to be the place where Shivaji breathed his last. Despite it being attacked by the British, the fort today is still intact. Some important sites here are the Hirkani Buruj and the famous Maha Darwaja.
A marvelous spectacle, the Murud-Janjira fort is in the sea. The fort has a few escape gates, 26 rounded bastions, a ruined mosque, and a pool that today lies empty. There are enormous cannons inside the fort which are very much famous and are known as Kalalbangdi, Landa Kasam and Chavri.
To get to the fort, one has to take a boat that departs from the dock. You can either rent a private boat for Rs. 600 or choose to book a ticket for Rs. 20 per passenger.
- Location: Murud
- Visiting Hours: 7 am to 6 pm
- Nearest Railway Station: Nagothane
So, the next time you are looking to explore the outdoors and at the same time learn the history and about ancient Maratha architecture, a visit to these forts in Maharashtra will do just fine. If you already have visited these forts, we would love to know your experience in the comments section below.