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Maharashtra Tour

Forts in Maharashtra

There are nearly 350 forts in Maharashtra, so it is said that forts are the glory of Maharashtra. Most of these forts are associated with the great Maratha ruler, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. It is believed that he developed as many as thirteen forts.

Vijaydurg fort is regarded to be the best sea fort developed by Shivaji. Every fort has temple inside that was a powerful inspiration to the Maratha fighters. 510 km away from Mumbai is the famous Sindhudurg and Vijaydurg forts. This twin fort was constructed with the special guidelines from Shivaji. This fort is famous for its serene environmental beauty and its historic importance.

Shivner fort is the fort where Shivaji was born. This fort is nearly about 120 km from Pune. Pratapgad fort reminds the fiery battle fought between Shivaji and Afzal Khan. One must see the 300-year old fine architectural fort of Murud - Janjira fort, Lohagad and Visapur Forts, Harishchandragad Fort, Arnala Fort and Ajinkyatara Fort are ideal for trekking. Adventure lovers must visit these forts.

Ahmadnagar Fort

Ahmadnagar Fort, which was built in 1490 AD, is located 1 km away east of Ahmadnagar city in Maharashtra. This 500-year old fort is circular in shape and has 18m high wall reinforced with 22 bastions. To keep enemy at bay, a deep trench was dug that surrounded the fort.

First Prime Minister of free India, Pandit Nehru wrote 'Discovery of India' when he was imprisoned in this fort here in 1944. Leaders rooms are still alive inside the fort, where leaders of freedom struggle were imprisoned from 1942-45. Although, the Indian army occupies the fort, entry into the fort is allowed by signing at the gate. But photography is not allowed inside the fort.

Ahmadnagar is in the central Maharashtra, which is close to most of the major cities in Maharashtra. Pune is 120 km away from here, while Mumbai is at a distance of 300 km. Its good location makes Ahmadnagar easy to reach both by road and by train. Good hotels are available in Ahmadnagar.

Ajinkyatara Fort

Ajinkyatra Fort is in Satara, Maharashtra. The fort is located at Ajinkyatara Mountain, which is 3,300 feet high. As the fort is in the higher altitude, visitors can enjoy a magnificent view of the entire Satara city. There are number of water tanks inside the fort for storing water. So, there is no scarcity of water even as the fort is in the higher place.

Viewing the Ajinkyatara Fort from far Yawateshwar hill too is so nice. Main attractions of this place are hiking, trekking and mountaineering. For the best view, one must start breasting up the hill from the base of Ajinkyatara at around 3.30 pm.

In 1708, Shahu Maharaj won Ajinkyatara, remained with the Marathas till 1818. The Ajinkyatara fort is a major historic place of Maharashtra, and was very vital as one could keep watch of the entire South Maharashtra.

Visitors can also visit the temples of Devi Mangalai, Lord Shankar and Lord Hanuman on the northeast side of the fort. Nandgiri and Chandan-Vandan forts on the east and Jarandeshwar and Yawateshwar hills on the west can also be seen from the fort. Satara is well connected by rail and road with Pune, Sangli, Miraj and Kolhapur. One can stay at the hotels in Satara.

Arnala Fort

Anara Fort is located at Arnala Islands, which is at a distance of 8 miles north of Vasai in Maharashtra. As it is surrounded on all sides by water, Arnala Fort is also known as 'Jaldurg' or 'Janjire Arnala'. Anara Fort is mainly on the north side of Anara Island. The main entrance is on the northern side, while the fort has broad and strong high walls with three gates.

Steps are made that lead to ramparts (walls), so one can take a walk around the entire boundary wall. To allow entry in the small rooms and storehouses below, the ramparts have number of small openings in its broad walls. Villagers use some of these storehouses to store their paddy crop. One would come across a canon ball still stuck on the inner side of the west side of the wall near the temple.

It is believed that Shivaji built this fort under the leadership of Kanoji Agare. Arnala Fort came under the British control in 1803 after Bajirao II Peshwa signed the infamous Treaty of Vasai. The fort also has a 'Shankar Temple' and a Mosque where religious festivals are celebrated every year. The villagers grow vegetables on plots inside the fort, as well as on the western side out side the fort.

Bassein Fort

Bassein Fort is located at Vasai, about 55 km from Mumbai, Maharashtra. Bahadur Shah, Sultan of Gujarat, built the fort. The main gate of this large fort leads to a small courtyard; from here one can climb the ramparts to take a look at the old structures, which are now in ruined conditions.

Despite the fort is so old and in the condition of ageing, there are many remains, which are still livens the wonderful architecture of the olden days. Three chapels inside the fort are in the condition, which can be easily recognized. They have facades typical of 17th century Portuguese churches. The southernmost of these has a well-preserved barrel vaulted ceiling. Many of the watchtowers still stand so strong, with secure staircases.

Bassein was ruled over by many rulers such as the Portuguese, the Marathas and finally the British and in the course of time Bassein became a flourishing shipbuilding centre and the famous Bassein stone was very much in demand.

Chakan Fort

Chakan Fort is located at Chakan near Pune in Maharashtra. The last Maratha-British war was fought in this fort. This fort was built keeping in mind that it might become a rare kind of fort in Maharashtra. The fort is in the ageing condition, which needs lots of maintenance.

One can also visit Lord Vishnu Temple in Varah Avatar near the fort. 'Varah' means pig and is the third avatar (incarnation) of Lord Vishnu, which is seen very rarely in India. These remains of the carvings are found in an ancient temple of Shri Chakreshwar, which is inside the Chakan fort. These carvings are really worth seeing.

Pune is well connected by air, rail and road to the important places within the state and also within the country. Hotels are available in Pune.

Daulatabad Fort

Daulatabad is located at a distance of 13 km from Aurangabad. This fort, which was once known as Devagiri, is a magnificent 12th century fortress standing atop a hill. Daulatabad, which is constructed with excellent architecture, is one of the few invincible forts in Maharashtra.

Mohammed Bin Tughluq, the sultan of Delhi gave the name Daulatabad 'The city of fortune'. Series of trick defense and secret escapes routes are the famous features of this fort. Jami Masjid, Bharatmata Mandir, the Chand Minar, Elephant Tank and 'Chini Mahal' or Chinese Palace are the important monuments inside the fort. Daulatabad Fort, which initially had stronghold of Yadav, passed through the hands of several dynasties in Deccan.

Daulatabad is included on the MTDC tour of Ellora from Aurangabad. The hourly shuttle buses between Aurangabad can also reach the place and the Ellora caves. Hotels are available in Aurangabad.

Gavilgad Fort

Gavilgad Fort is near Chikhaldara hill station in Amravati district, Maharashtra. It is believed that the fort is 300 years old. Some beautifully carved idols, which is believed to carve during the period of the Nizams, when Elichpur was their capital are worth to see.

Elephants, bulls, tigers, lions and Hindi, Urdu and Arabic scripts comprise the carvings on the walls of the fort. Idols of Lord Hanuman and Lord Shankar are also seen in the fort. 10 cannons made of iron; copper and brass are also there inside the fort.

Gavlis, who were rulers of the shepherd community in the 12th /13th century built the fort. Then came on the hands of Gond community till the time they were defeated by the Mughals. The fort is at present under the Melghat Tiger Project. Nagpur is the nearest airport, 230 km away, while Amravati is the nearest railway station, 100 km away. Chikhaldara is well connected by road.

Mumbai Fort

An old British fort was located at north of Colaba, so the area north of Colaba is known as Mumbai Fort. There are a lot of imposing buildings from Mumbai's golden period here.

Among many, the St. Johns Church is a striking building in the fort area, which is worth to visit. The church has been dedicated to the warriors who laid down their lives in the Sindh campaign of 1838 and the first Afghan war of 1843.

This area has now been established as a commercial centre of Mumbai. So the area is jam-packed with commuters, street stalls and the grand facades of 19th century British institutions and trading houses.

Mumbai is well connected by air, rail and road with all the important places within and beyond the state. City buses, local trains, and taxis are available for local transportation. Hotels are available in Mumbai.

Kandhar Fort

Kandhar Fort is at Kandhar town in Nanded district of Maharashtra. The fort is encircled with a ditch full of water. It is believed that Rashtrakuta King Krishna III of Malkhed who styled himself as Kandharpuradhi Swar constructed the fort. The ruins of this majestic and historic fort are located at a distance of 50 km from the Ranthambhore National Park.

Old Idgah is at some distance from the fort. Ranthambhore National Park is also so near from the fort. One can catch buses from Nanded to Kandhar, accommodation is available at the hotels in Nanded.

Murud Janjira

Murud-Janjira is located 60 km away from Alibaug, Maharashtra. This small village is on the top of a hillock. It is believed that the rulers of Ahmednagar constructed the fort in the 15th century. Despite the ravages of wind and tide, the fort is almost entirely intact. This 300-year old fort is famous for its fine architecture.

Since its construction by the Ahmadnagar rulers under the supervision of their regent Malik Ambar in the 15th century, any enemy never conquered the fort for over 300 years. Murud-Janjira is probably the only of its kind on the 720 km Maharashtra coastline.

Murud is popular for its appealing beach, murmuring casuarinas, coconut and betel palms and an ancient fort. The shrine of Lord Dattatreya is near the fort on a hillock. The palace of the Nawab and the Janjira caves are also worth visiting. The beaches of Kashid and Nandgaon are in a few kilometers away from the fort.

Nearest airport is at Mumbai (165 km), while nearest railway station is at Roha. Regular ferry services are available from Ferry Wharf up to Rewas (23 km). One needs to take a bus via Alibag and Chaul after Rewas. There are also regular catamarans from the Gateway of India in Mumbai going up to Mandwa.

Narnala Fort

Narnala Fort is located in Akola district in Maharashtra. The fort is still in a good condition. The fort is located amidst forest. The fort is well maintained and is worth giving a shot.

Neglect of the Archaeological Survey Department is visible in this fort. The fort has a fortress wall and beautiful bastions. Akola is well connected by road with the important and big cities of Maharashtra. Hotels are available in Akola.

Panhala Fort

Raja Bhoja founded Panhala fort in the late 12th century. This fort is located 18 km northwest of Kolhapur. It has connection with God Parashurama as well. Panhala fort, which carries a rich heritage, is the largest of all the Deccan forts. This is the only fort where the great ruler, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is believed to have spent more than 500 days. It was built between the 1178-1209 AD.

The fort covers a vast area having huge boundary walls of over 7 km in length and a steep slope beneath. Three magnificent double-walled gates protect the entrance of the fort. There is a large amberkhana (granary) inside the fort, which has the capacity of containing 25,000 khandis of grains.

Shilahara dynasty, Yadava and Bahamani kingdoms, Shivaji, Devagiri Yadavas, Adil Shahi dynasty of Bijapur army, Mughal Aurangzeb (1700) became the controllers of the fort from time to time. It became Maratha state capital under Tarabai upto 1782, and then British conquered it in 1827.

Sajja Kothi - where Sambhaji was imprisoned, Ambabaji Temple - where Shivaji used to seek blessings before venturing on expeditions, Pavankhind - where Baji Prabhu laid down his life to cover Shivaji's escape, Someshwar Temple are also worth to visit. This place is an ideal for trekking as well. The nearest railway station is at Kolhapur, 18 km away. It is only 428 km from Mumbai.

Pratapgad Fort

Pratapgad Fort is a mountain fort built by Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The fort is at a distance of 24 km from the hill station of Mahabaleshwar. The fort holds a sturdy view of coastal Konkan. The Bhavani Temple and Afzal Khan's tomb are other places of interest.

Pratapgad consists of two forts - an upper fort built on the top of the hill and a lower fort immediately below on the south and the east. Surrounding areas can be easily taken guard from the fort on almost all the sides. The southern side is rocky while the eastern side has a strong outwork ending in the Afzal Buruj.

The famous minister More Tirmal Pingale on the command of Shivaji Maharaj to control the rebellious satraps of the surrounding Javali Basin built Pratapgad Fort in 1656. It is believed that Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaja was blessed with a shining sword at the temple of Goddess Bhavani here.

The historic battle between Chatrapati Shivaji and Afzal Khan, the commander of the Bijapur Sultanate fought here. Bhavani Temple and Afzal Khan's Tomb are major attractions where are situated near the fort.

Purandhar Fort

Purandhar Fort is located at a distance of 40 km from Pune. It played an important role in the history of the brave ruler of the Maratha kingdom, Chhatrapati Shivaji. Purandhar was the capital of the Maratha Kingdom, when it was in the budding stages for quite sometime.

With the insistence of Jay Singh, Shivaji concluded a peace treaty at Purandhar fort in which he was agreed to pay visit to Aurangzeb at the Imperial court of Agra.

Situated atop a mountain at a height of 1,350 metres, Purandhar fort is also regarded as an ideal picnic spot. National Cadet Corps restores the past glory of the fort. Pune is well connected by air, rail and road with the important places of India and abroad. Hotels are available in Pune.

Raigad Fort

Raigad was the capital of the Marathas under Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Britishers named it 'Gibralter of the East' as the well-fortified structure atop a hill that had repeatedly defied attackers. Shivaji built the fort in the 14th century. Chit Darwaja, also known as Jit Darwaja is at the foothills near village Pachad.

Khoob Ladha Buruj is a strategically located tower, from where any attacker from both the side could be defended. Maha Darwaja is at a distance of nearly a mile ahead after a difficult climb. This 350 years-old main entrance to the fort stands so majestically. Mena Darwaja is a special entrance for the royal ladies and the queens.

Rani Vasa or Queens' Chambers is to the left of Mena Darwaja. The royal ladies were using these six rooms. In front of the Rani Vasa is the Palkhi Darwaja, special entrance for the convoy of Shivaji Maharaj. There is a row of three dark chambers to the right of Palkhi Darwaja. There is the palace of Shivaji Maharaj to the right of the granaries.

Mahabaleshwar, Harihareshwar, Ganpatipule, Shivthar Ghal, Gandhar Pale, Torana: Nijampur - Fort Mangad - Raigad Trek, Birwadi - Raigad Trek are the other attractions.



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