Forts in Maharashtra
Located close to the city of Pune, the Sinhagad Fort gets its name from the Marathi word Lion. One of the more popular forts in Maharashtra, this fort is believed to have been conquered by Tanaji Malusare’s brother from the Mughals. At the fort you will see a few old stables that were believed to have been used by the Maratha army to keep their horses. There is also a memorial built in honour of Tanaji Malusare, a brave Maratha warrior. Inside the ruins of the fort also lies the tomb of Rajaram Chhatrapati and a small temple dedicated to Goddess Kali.
A small fort located on the outskirts of Pune, the Tung Fort was built by Adil Shah some time before 1600 CE. It has seen plenty of wars, the famous ones being between the Marathas and the Moghuls.
The Tung Fort is well known for its conical and oval shape and as a trail for experienced trekkers. Inside the fort there are steep steps that lead to a former water reservoir that now lies in ruins. The climb up to the Tung Fort is quite difficult to navigate through, so it’s best to go with a guide if you are planning a trek to the fort.
The Pratapgad Fort is an important fort built by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Actually, the main fort consists of two forts (one at the top of the hill and the other at the south east end). The Pratapgad Fort is known for the battle of Pratapgad that took place between Shivaji Maharaj and Afzal Khan.
Popular attractions at the fort are the tomb of Afzal Khan and the temple dedicated to Goddess Bhavani. Just about 25 kilometres away from the Pratapgad Fort is the popular hill station Mahabaleshwar, which is an ideal place for a weekend getaway.
The Rajgad Fort was built on the Murumbadevi Dongar Hills in the Sahyadris range. It was the first capital of Shivaji Maharaj, and is also believed to the place where Shivaji’s wife, Saibai, spent her last few days. Inside the fort lie the ruins of palaces, caves and a few water cisterns. The fort is a popular trekking spot for locals and tourists who throng the place in the monsoon. From the top of the Rajgad Fort, one can see landscape views of the gorgeous Sahyadris.
Considered to be 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.
Malhargad Fort (Sonori Fort)
Named after the Hindu God Malhargad, this fort lies about 30 kilometres away from Pune. To get to the fort, one has to climb a hill in the Sonori village. Although the outer structure of the fort remains intact, the interiors are in ruins. The only thing that remains here are the old water tanks and the Lord Mahadev and Lord Khandoba temples. From the fort you can see panoramic views of the Jejuri village.
The Purandar Fort is believed to be the place where Shivaji’s son, Sambhaji, was born. Situated about 50 kilometres away from Pune, the Purandar Fort is one of the few in Maharashtra that has two levels within its premises.
The upper level is called the Balekilla, while the lower one is known as Machi. At the site of Balekilla there is 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 honour of Shiva.
The Korigad Fort is located close to Lonavala and sits at a height of 923 metres above sea level. The main feature of the fort is that, till this day, most of its structure is intact. Inside the fort, there are many temples where prayers are offered daily. Of all the forts in Maharashtra, this one is the most popular trekking spot. Adventure sports lovers come here from Lonavala and cities like Mumbai. Close to the Korigad Fort is the Aamby Valley.
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 metres. Inside the fort, there is a massive chhatri, an elevated, dome-shaped pavilion that now lies in ruin.
Perched at a height of 3000 feet above sea level, the Ghangad Fort was formerly under the Maratha Empire. It changed hands in 1818 and was taken over by the British. Once believed to be a jail, the fort now lies in ruins.
Tikona (Vitandgad) Fort
A stunning fort in Maval, not much is known of the Tikona Fort. The fort is designed to resemble a triangular pyramid. This is why it is called Tikona. It was the battlefront in a few wars between the Marathas and the Mughals and once also belonged to the Nizams. Noteworthy sites inside the fort are its large doors, the Trimbakeshwar Mahadev temple and the the Satvahan caves. The Tikona fort is also a popular trekking destination among the people of Pune and Mumbai.
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 Andhar Bavadi, an underground well, the Kalavantinicha Mahal, and the Amberkhana, the site of the three granaries inside the 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.