Importance of Rajgad fort
“Treasure of Maharashtra”, and the longest serving capital during the reign of King Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the fort has a great history including lots of historic events. Shivaji’s son Rajaram was born on this very fort, and the same palace also witnessed the death of Shivaji’s queen Saibai. Also, after one of the greatest escapes that can be termed as a Sherlock Holmes mystery for the Mughals, King Shivaji after his escape from Agra returned to Rajgad that was a Maratha safe house during the period.
A Trekkers Paradise
At the moment, the fort still holds intact the remains of caves, palaces, and water reservoirs that was designed during the mid-1600s.The main entrance door to the fort is known as the Mahadarwaja, where according to historians, the Maratha army had buried the head of Afzal Khan after being stabbed by Shivaji Maharaj.
When I visited the place, it was my first time on this mammoth fort and I was unaware of the history.But our sudden trekking plan worked wonders, as a slight drizzle of rain made our experience, even more, cherishable.The view of Ballekilla from the base of the mountain looks like an absolute paradise, considering the scenic beauty that surrounds the fort.
The trek starts from Gunjavane village with tricky and crooked paths. Make sure you can carry all the necessary equipment required for climbing, staying, eating and camping. The beautiful surroundings, wild plants, and flowers covering majestic views of the rich green Sahyadri Mountains hypnotize you, moreover gives a feeling of complete satisfaction. The fort is the excellent symbol of classical architecture.
Four routes available to visit the fort:-
- Chor Darwaja through Gunjavne village
- Pali Darwaja through Vajeghar Gaon
- Gunjawane Darwaja
- Torna Darwaja
We used the first route as we were visiting the place for the first time. Chor darwaja and huge Mahadarwaja reminds you the greatness of the Maratha history. If you’re planning on a night camp, do not forget to see the dawn from Balekilla, which is a view that you may want to capture in your eyes and take home. As there are many places to explore in and around the fort, it will take a day or two to complete the trek.
When we reached to Padmavati Machi through Chor Darwaja, it had started to rain, but to our surprise, the place was looking more spectacular in the drizzle. On the fort, there is a Mandir, Lake and old rooms which now used as an accommodation for visitors, and Pali Darwaja. The villagers and small eatery owners provide you with all the necessary camping stuff according to your stay, so do not forget to assemble everyone together before starting the night trek. For most of the times, it rains and gets cold pretty quickly.Fresh lake water and delicious local food just add to the enjoyment.
I was very fascinated by the sheer size and beauty of Rajgad, and also pondered on the fact that this Engineered epitome was planned, conceived and has sustained for centuries now, and we are still using the place.The remains of the Great Maratha Kingdom and the greatness of Shivaji Maharaj can be still felt on the fort and the respect for our forefathers only grows from this experience.
After completing my fun filled journey and trek, it was time for us to return to the base and head home. The returning drive to Pune from Rajgad was much more adventurous with lots of cold and drizzle, and it was a surprise, as January rains are unknown in this part of the country.
Lastly, I want to share that the journey and the trekking experience was one of the best in my life as I was accompanied by my besties, to the best ever places I have visited. It became so memorable that even after a year that we went on the trip; I still remember each and every fun activity we did up there during our trek.
If you are a trekking enthusiast or are planning a road trip not so far from Pune, then Rajgad is the place to be!!