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Raigad:The Gibralter of East'
Jun 20, 2005 04:02 PM 9770 Views
(Updated Jun 22, 2005 02:08 PM)

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Your heart wants to scream ''Shivaji Maharaj Ki Jai '' when you ascend Raigad . Located at a distance of 140 kms from Mumbai and 150 kms from Pune is Fort Raigad the capital of the most illustrious Maratha sovereign Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.Fort Raigad is much more than a mere tourist spot. It is a sacred place of pilgrimage, which has left an imprint of the grand vision of Hindavi Swarajya as cherished by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.When he first saw the place, Shivaji Maharaj could not help exclaim: ''This Fort is formidable. All sides appear as if chiselled from a mountain of solid rock. Not even a blade of grass grows on the sheer vertical rock. This is a paragon to house the throne''. At the foothills near village Pachad, is Chit Darwaja, also known as Jit Darwaja. After gruelling foot-slogging, you reach Khoob Ladha Buruj. It is a strategically located turret, from where an aggressor attacking from either flank could be repelled. Nearly a mile ahead, after a difficult climb comes the Maha Darwaja. Built over 350 years ago, this main entrance to the Fort stands majestically. It is as imposing and stout today, as it was then! The design of this Maha Darwaja is an enigma. It defies detection of its location to the attacker. Blind curves enroute make it impossible for the attacker to use elephants to knock it down. In the battle of those historic times, elephants were used to demolish fort entrances.elcome to Fort Raigad! A steep climb of nearly 1450 steps and three and a half hours of extreme demands on your physical stamina, leaves you too exhausted. However a ropeway has now been started that whisks you to the top in 5 minutes near the Mena Darwaja(special entrance for royal ladies).To the left is the Rani Vasa or ''Queens' Chambers''. They are six in number and were being used by the mother of Shiv Chhatrapati - Jeeja Mata, Soyarabai, Putalabai and other royal ladies. In front of the Rani Vasa is the Palkhi Darwaja. A special entrance for the convoy of Shivaji Maharaj. To the right of Palkhi Darwaja, there is a row of three dark chambers. Historians believe that these were the granaries for the fort. To the right of the granaries is the palace of Shivaji Maharaj. It is called the Raj Bhavan, where he dispensed justice in petty and routine matters.The fort has many huge water reservoirs, one of which is the picturesque Ganga Sagar.Raigad has witnessed the splendour of the glorious coronation of Shiv Chhatrapati. The shackles of 300 years of slavery were broken and Shivaji Maharaj proclaimed establishment of Hindavi Swarajya!


How to Reach: State transport buses are available from Mumbai as well as Pune. Also one can travel by train upto Virdasgaon station and then by road .


Where to stay:Lodging and boarding facilities are available on top .


It is a popular destination for hikers as well as for rappelling and rock climbing activities.


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