Famous Forts to Visit in Maharashtra
What better way to celebrate the formation of the state than offer a glimpse of its history, right? In the pages to follow we bring you stunning photographs of the state's majestic forts.
Devagiri (Daultabad of the later period), 11km north-west of Aurangabad, is a famous for its formidable hill fort.
The fort is situated on an isolated cone-shaped hill rising abruptly from the plain to the height of about 190 metres.
Its fortification constitutes of three concentric lines of defensive walls with large number of bastions.
Among the noteworthy features of the fort are the moat, the scarp and the subterranean passage, all hewn of solid rock.
The upper outlet of the passage was filled with an iron grating, on which a large fire could be used to prevent the progress of the enemy. Among the important structures within the fort are the Chand Minar, the Chini Mahal and the Baradari.
Nearby is a round bastion topped with a huge canon with ram's head, called Kila Shikan or Fort breaker.
The Baradari, octagonal in shape, stands near the summit of the fort. The principal bastion at the summit also carries a large canon.
The famous Ellora Caves are just 16km away from Devagiri-Daulatabad. http://www.atriptoindia.com/
Situated on a rock of oval shape near the port town of Murud, 165km south of Mumbai, Janjira is one of the strongest marine forts of India (the word 'Janjira' is a corruption of the Arabic word Jazira for island).
The fort is approached by sail boats from Rajapuri jetty. The main gate of the fort faces Rajapuri on the shore and can be seen only when one is quite close to it. It has a small postern gate towards the open sea for escape.
All of its 19 rounded bastions are still intact.
There are many canons of native and European make rusting on the bastions.
Now in ruins, the fort in its heyday had all necessary facilities, eg, palaces, quarters for officers, mosque, a big fresh water tank, etc.
On the outer wall flanking the main gate, there is a sculpture depicting a tiger-like beast clasping elephants in its claws. This sculpture, its meaning difficult to interpret, appears on many fort-gates of Maharashtra.
The fort's 5.1sq km hill-top plateau has three main points Hirakani in the west, Takamak in the north and Bhavani in the east. There is only one pathway to Raigarh, probably in keeping with Shiviaji's strategy 'the fort's approach should be easy for friends and impossible for foes'.
A motorable road leads to Chit Darwaja, about 2kms from Pachad, the village at the base, where lies the Samadhi of Jijabai, Shivaji's mother. A long climb from Pachad takes one to the Mahadarwaza, flanked by two massive bastions and a high curtain wall.
The top plateau is covered with a large number of remains of buildings and reservoirs. Behind the Ganga Sagar reservoir are two high towers, in Muslim style.
Behind the towers is the Balekilla or citadel, entered by the Palakhi-darwaza.
On way to the right are remains of chambers of women of Royal families and on the left those of the Darbar of Shivaji. On a low mound in the centre is the site of Shivaji's throne.
Further north is the two-row market place, the Jagadishwar temple in an enclosure and the Samadhi of shivaji, and also that of his favourite dog, Waghya.
Sindhudurg fort stands on a rocky island, known as Kurte, barely a km, from the Malavan is 510kms south of Mumbai and 130km north of Goa.
It is also recorded that 3000 workers were employed round the clock for three years to build Sindhudurg. It was the body from the Sack of Surat that went into the building of Sindhudurg.
One of the best preserved forts of the Marathas, the 48-acre Sindhudurg fort has a four kms long zigzag line of 9 metres high and 3 metres wide rampart with 42 bastions.
Apart from the huge stones, the building material involved 2000 khandis (72,576kg) of iron erecting the massive curtain wall and bastions. A notable feature is that the foundation stones were laid down firmly in molten lead.
The fort is approachable from the Malavan pier by a boat through a narrow navigable channel between two smaller islands of Dhontara and Padmagad. The main gate, flanked by massive bastions, faces the city. http://www.atriptoindia.com/
On the parapet, close to the entrance, under two small domes Shivaji's palm and footprint in dry lime are preserved.
The fort also has houses of some 20 Hindu-Muslim hereditary families.
On a rocky island between Sindhudurg and the coast stood the small for of Padmagad, now in ruins. It acted as a screen for Sindhudurg and was also used for ship-building.
Panhala or Panhalgarh, about 19kms north-west of Kolhapur, is possibly the largest and most important fort of the Deccan.
Roughly triangular in shape, the hill fort stands at a height of about 850 metres and has a circumference of approximately 7.25km.
Half of its length is protected by a natural scarp reinforced by a parapet wall and the remaining half is surrounded by a strong stone wall strengthened with bastions. The fort had three magnificent double walled gates, out of which two have survived.
The Teen Darwaza to the west is an imposing and powerful structure.
There are a number of ruined monuments in the fort. The most impressive among them are the three huge granaries. The largest among them, the Ganga Kothi, cover nearly 950sq m space and 10.7 metres high. In the north-east corner there is a double story building, called Sajja Kothi, where Shivaji had imprisoned his errant son, Sambhaji.
Today, Panhala is a sort of hill station and provides all the necessary facilities for tourists.
Vijaydurg, situated 48km south of Ratnagiri, is one of the strongest marine forts on the west coast of India. It is also an excellent harbour.
Built on a hill on the mouth of Vaghotan River, the fort was protected on three sides by the sea and on the east side by ditch, now filled up. After crossing the front gate on the east, the path, skirting round the massive middle wall, enters the hidden inner gateway.
The strong triple line of fortifications had 27 bastions, some of them two-storeyed. Within the citadel there were many buildings and storehouses, now all in ruins except a structure called Rest House. For the supply of water there were several wells and large tanks.
In recent years a submerged wall 100 metres east of the fort has been discovered. The under-sea wall is 3 metres high, 7 metres wide and 122 metres long. How and why this sea-wall was built is not clear. On the bank of the Vaghotan River, about 3km from the fort, there was a wet dock where the Marathas used to build and repair their ships.
Vijayadurg is an ancient site. Initially known as Gheria, it was enlarged by the Bijapur rulers and then strengthened and enlarged in the mid-17th century by Shivaji, to whom it owes its triple line of fortifications, towers and also its new name, Vijayadurg -- the fort of Victory. http://www.atriptoindia.com/