Cover Photo by Vicky Munde
Maharashtra doesn’t click as a state of forts, does it? But truth be told, the state houses some of the best historical forts that offer scenic views, magnificent history, and a time that’s worth remembering. Maharashtra is known for its mesmeric beaches, monsoon, and of course, for housing the city of India’s dreams – Mumbai. Other than this, hill stations in Maharashtra are also very famous. However, in this blog, we will take you on a virtual tour of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaja’s Maharashtra; the one of heritage and splendorous forts. Here are the top 10 historical forts in Maharashtra that you must visit at least once in your lifetime: –
1. Sinhagad Fort
Known to be the pride of the southwestern region of Pune, Sinhagad Fort is the first entrée to the list of forts in Maharashtra. During the ancient battles, the Sinhagad Fort served as one of the supports to Maharashtra, amongst which, the Battle of Sinhagad in 1671 is one of the most significant ones. Elevated at 1312 metres above sea level, the Bhuleshwar range of the Sahyadris houses this historical monument. With breakneck slopes that protect the fort from all the sides, there are two entrances to enter the fort – one is located in the north-east region and named as Pune Darwaza and the second one is located in the southeastern part and is known as the Kalyan Darwaza. Visitors can experience the authenticity and regal quotient of the Sinhagad fort that is almost around 1000 years old. This famous fort in Maharashtra houses a Kaundinya Eshwar Temple and the intricate carvings on the walls of the temple make the fine craftsmanship evident. The Sinhagad Fort offers a breathtakingly spectacular view of the Khadakwasla Dam on one side and Torna Fort on the other.
2. Shivneri Fort
If historical forts in Maharashtra are being spoken of, the Shivneri Fort definitely needs a mention. It is one of the most famous trekking destinations near Pune and is enclosed with a rich and regal history. Constructed in the 17th century, the Shivneri Fort is a military fortification and the birthplace of the great and mighty Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the founder of the Maratha Empire. The Shivneri Fort is designed beautifully with rock-cut architecture, has a water system, and houses the Shivneri Caves that make use of this place since the 1st century more evident. The fort was eyed by the Mughals as well and after being tossed between the Mughals and the Marathas, the fort was taken over by the British Army in 1820 that led to the Third Anglo-Maratha War. The Shivneri Fort is triangular and it has a pond that is known as the ‘Badami Talav’. Adding to this, the fort also houses two water springs that are named Ganges and Yamuna, from which the water flows all through the year. Visitors on a tour of the Shivneri Fort can also visit the Lenyadri Caves that is a nearby attraction. In total, this fort in Maharashtra is a must-visit.
3. Rajgad Fort
Located yet again in Pune, the Rajgad Fort was previously known as Murudev. This fort was the capital of the Maratha Empire for 26 years when Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was ruling the empire. What is more interesting about the Rajgad Fort is that the fort was constructed from the treasures of the Torna Fort. Perched at a height of 1,376 metres above the sea level, this is one of the highest forts in Maharashtra, and the ruins of this fort consist of caves, palaces, and water cisterns, to name some. The Rajgad Fort is constructed on a hill named Mumbadevi Dongar, which means the mountain of the Goddess Murumba. The fort takes pride in standing at such a scenic location and is said that Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was hosted here for the highest numbers of days. The history attached to this fort is both interesting and disheartening. Interesting because, the birth of Rajaram Chhatrapati, the son of his Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was witnessed here, and disheartening because, the fort is the deathbed of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s queen, Saibai. Amongst all the forts in Maharashtra, the Rajgad Fort is quite a famous monsoon trekking destination and trekkers, as well as other visitors, prefer to spend the night in the fort itself as it is huge and cannot be explored in just a few hours. There is a temple at the top of the fort that is known as the Temple of Padmavati, which serves as the lodging place for the trekkers.
4. Pratapgad Fort
Situated 1,080 metres above the sea level offering a mesmeric view, the Pratapgad Fort is known as the ‘Fort of Valour’. The fort is of extreme significance because of the Battle of Pratapgad and has good historic talks surrounding it. This fort in Maharashtra oversees of the beautiful villages of Par and Kinesvar and houses four lakes within its premises. The lakes overflow during the months of monsoon and it is stated as one of the best historical forts in Maharashtra. The main entrance of the Pratapgad Fort is known as the Maha Darwaja and has a watchtower constructed beside it. The watchtower offers scenic views of the cliffs surrounding the forts, pleasing the eyes and making your visit totally justified.
5. Tung Fort
One of the most attractive and famous forts in Maharashtra – the Tung Fort is known for the picturesque views and enthralling treks. It is elevated at a height of 1,075 metres above the sea and is bounded with lush greens and beautiful tropics. The fort is peaky and oval in its structure that makes it even more noticeable from a fair enough distance. Visitors can experience the eye-pleasing views of the Pawna Lake, Tikona, and Visapur Fort from atop the Tung Fort. Trekkers, as well as, the other visitors, can also pay their visit to the Tunga Devi and Ganapati Temples located within the complex of the fort. If you are craving for sights that will not only please your eyes but also soothe your mind – Tung Fort is one of the places to visit in Maharashtra.
6. Korigad Fort
Located around 20 km away from Lonavala, Korigad Fort is among the best forts in Maharashtra that is known to showcase the opulence of the legacy that Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj reigned with. The Korigad Fort is an epitome of elegance and was constructed back in the 15th century. The fort is perched at a height of 929 metres and offers a view to the visitors like no other. Three temples built at the peak of the fort are very well-maintained and the serenity of the fort remains untouched. To reach the fort, you need to climb 600 stairs from the base point i.e. the Peth Shahpur village. You can get a deeper insight into Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s lifestyle while ogling at the fascinating architecture and design of this best fort in Maharashtra. The display boasts of the brave Maratha warriors and is encircled by the massive ranges. The way to the fort is definitely a little tiring but every tough trail leads to the best views.
7. Lohagad Fort
The Lohagad Fort is a military marvel that was one of the strengths of the Marathas. Built at a soaring height of 1,033 metres, the fort is linked to the nearby Visapur fort by a small range. It oversees the Parvana Reservoir and has four gates that still stand strong and are in a very good condition. The Lohagad Fort in Maharashtra is yet another scenic trekking trail for the adventure junkies, especially during the monsoon. On the way to the fort, if you take a small diversion, you can see the magnificent Bhaja Caves. There is also a tar road that goes to the fort, making it accessible by vehicles.
8. Sindhudurg Fort
Constructed by the Maratha King, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, this fort in Maharashtra took a span of three years. It is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Tarkarli. The Sindhudurg Fort means “fort built on the floor of the ocean”. The fort was built by more than 100 Portuguese architects and thousands of Indian workers and craftsmen whose fine craftsmanship can be seen on the walls and pillars of the fort. The Sindhudurg Fort is yet another sea fort in Maharashtra that was constructed to help the Marathas defend their empire from the attacks of the enemies.
9. Panhala Fort
One of the biggest forts in Maharashtra and the entire Deccan region, the Panhala Fort connects the state to the Arabian Sea through Bijapur. It is located closer to the city of Kolhapur and is very meticulously built to offer the visitors pleasant views and time to cherish. The fort is designed with variants of motifs, bastions, and other relics of the different dynasties. In addition to this, the fort also has a dash of Indo-Islamic architecture. The Panhala Fort gives you the best insight into the Maratha Empire’s history and visitors can also enjoy a 360° view from the peak.
10. Vijaydurg Fort
Last on the list of forts in Maharashtra is the Vijaydurg Fort that is one of the two forts where the mighty Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj hoisted the saffron flag himself. The oldest fort on the coast of Sindhudurg, the fort is known as the ‘Victory Fort’ symbolising the wins of the Marathas against the enemies. It was located close to the Girye village and has a natural port adjacent to it that is still used by the local fishermen. This is also known as a beautiful sea fort in Maharashtra because of its linkage to the Arabian Sea.
Other than this, the Harihar Fort in Maharashtra, Shanirwada Fort, Torna Fort, Raigad Fort, and so on are some of the other historical forts that you must visit. And, with customizable Maharashtra Darshan tour packages online, you can explore the more effortlessly!