THE TRAVEL BINGE – Raigad Fort
Located in Mahad, Raigad district of Maharashtra, this hilly fort is a wonder to visit. RAIGAD was the capital city of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in 1674 where he was crowned the king of Maratha Kingdom. At a distance of around 135 kms from Pune, it takes approximately 4 hours to reach the foothills of the Raigad fort. There are no trains to this place and one needs to go by road to visit the old fort. From Mumbai the route is via Durshet – Kolad and the time taken is almost the same.
The Raigad Ropeway, an aerial tramway exists to reach the top of the fort in 10- 15 minutes. The climb is very steep and almost at an angle of 90 degrees . There are only two ropeways which move on either sides alternatively.
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 . Originally known as Rairi and seized by Shivaji to rename as Raigad by rebuilding it with help of engineer Hiroji Indulkar .
Raigad is also famous for the Hirabai which tells about a woman who sold milk and who crossed the huge wall to cross the steep terrain in night after the doors of the fort got closed only to be opened the next morning while her child was left alone at home.
It takes around 2- 3 hours to completely have a look around the scattered portions and remains of the fort.
There are few sellers who render drinking water, fruits, candies, berries ,etc up there. They all come back before sunset ,when the ropeway has its last trip. There are ways to go down the hill through different corners and sides and are sometimes used by villagers but the climb is too steep and dangerous.The place has scenic beauty and sunset from the top of the fort gives an excellent view of the valleys around the same.
Carry your camera, i -phone or any phone which has a good resolution for some exquisite pics of nearby valleys, sunsets and of course the selfies!
Do’s and Don’ts
- Ensure you carry enough water during the trip.
- Road to Raigad from either sides are bad ,wither we take the highway from Bhor , while coming from Satara , or we come from the Vile side. So have enough time in hand while you plan the trip.
- On weekends, there is a huge queue for the ropeway where one can also have his number after 5 hours depending on the crowd.
- Wear and carry light woollens in winter as the place is very windy,similarly wear light and loose clothes in summer where its too hot and humid to even breathe.
- There are few options of stay basically the paying guest accommodation besides the MTDC guest house that is at the top,although it is very small and has lesser rooms.
- There are few small eateries and local restaurants which serve lunch ,dinner.
- Basic amenities like washrooms are in pathetic condition , which makes this place not so tourist friendly.
Although Britishers had named it as “GIBRALTER OF THE EAST” and now it is a proud possession of Maharashtra. There are lot of measures that need to be taken to preserve and conserve these forts which are an integral part of our history and archeology. Such monuments of history which are symbols of significance of the richness of historical era of Chhatrapati Shivaji should be maintained in order to carry forth the legacy of Maharashtra.