|*Map showing location of Forts in Maharashtra.|
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Maharashtra is a land of Forts with its 350 odd forts. Every brick of it talks about the glorious history of the great Maratha rulers. Nowhere in India could such a plethora and variety of Forts could be observed. Like Murud-Janjira located on an island, or, the fort of Bassein guarding the sea, or the forts of Torna and Raigad amidst Sahyadris, the Maharashtra Forts has everything in it from beauty to enigma.
The Bassein Fort was established by the Portuguese in 1534, which continued to be their headquarters till 1739. Located near Vasai, which is in north of Mumbai, the Bassein Fort was attacked by the Marathas in the 18th century. After a three long year battle the Bassein fort became a possession of the Maratha rulers in 1739.
Now in ruins the Bassein Fort stands erect behind the palm groves as an instance of the great Maratha rulers. The entrance leads to a tiny patio from where the remnants of the old fort can be seen that are mostly ruined now. The remnants of the fort still illustrate the wonderful architecture of the history. There are three chapels inside the Fort that resembles the architecture of the 17th century Portuguese churches. The southernmost chapel has a well preserved barrel domed ceiling.
Situated atop hill, the Daulatabad fort is one of the worlds best preserved forts. The architecture of the Daulatabad Fort excels in comparison leaving many historical architectural creations behind. Daulatabad fort is situated in the city of Daulatabad or the City of Fortune, as named by Mohammad Bin Tughlaq, 13 km away from Aurangabad. Rising a height of 600 ft above the Deccan plain, the Daulatabad Fort is known for its royal fortress built in 12th century. The fort served as headquarters of the Yadava rulers and was known as Devgiri or the Hill of Gods. In the 13th century Mohammad bin Tughlaq marched into Daulatabad with all his soldiers and shifted his capital here from Delhi.
The Daulatabad Fort is situated atop hill. Surrounded by triple rows of colossal walls, spiked gates, steep slide ways and a deep trench the Daulatabad fort shows the extraordinary military and defense system of the fort over the ages. The 40ft deep trench around the fort and 5kn long walls made it impossible for the enemies to intrude inside.
The Gavilgad Fort falls under the Melghat Tiger Project. Situated near Chikhaldara hill station in Amravati district, the Gavilgad Fort is bestowed with the natural beauty pf dense forest. The serenity of the forest today encompasses the dramatic war of conquering the fort over the years. The 300 year old fort of Gavilgad has beautifully carved idols. This fort was built in 12th and 13th century by the Gavils, and was later occupied by the Gonds. Gavilgad fort today stands as an evidence of this bloody war.
Gavilgad fort also has an important place in the great epic of Mahabharata. It is believed that Bhima killed Keechaka here and threw him down the cliff. The city of Chikhaldara got its name from here. It was then known as Keechakadara - Chikhaldara is its corruption.
Lying in the lap of nature Ghodbunder fort is far away from all the noise and buzzing of the city. The Bassein creek creates a magnificent view from Ghodbunder fort.Engulfed by lofty hills, a little island with lining palm trees and meandering river is a breathtaking view from the Ghodbunder Fort.The remnants of Maratha and Portuguese occupation could be sensed here.
Located 60 km away from Alibaug, Murud-Janjira is a small village atop hill. Constructed in the 15th century, the Murud-Janjira stands erect despite of wind and sea waves on all four walls of the fort. This fort was never conquered by the rival forces for over 350 years. Neither the British nor Portuguese or the Marathas could triumph over the fort from Malik Amber, a ruler of Ahmednagar.
The Murud is popular for its picturesque beauty. Fanned by casuarinas, coconut and betel palms, Murud beach is a perfect escape from the hustle bustle of the city lives. The ancient fort of Murud-Janjira lie atop hill with a temple of Lord Dattatreya, and the three heads of it represent the Hindu deities Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara.
The Murud - Harnai Fort is situated in Murud. The alluring beach is famous for its white sands and pristine water. Palm trees lining on the beach adds to the beauty of Murud. The Harnai fort is situated to the north of the Murud beach. Every brick of the fort talks about the glorious history of the great rulers of the past. Nearby is the Goa Killa, which could also be visited while on a trip to Murud - Harnai Fort. The famous rock cut monument of Panhale Kazi is just 30 km away from Murud - Harnai Fort.
Panhala is associated with the rich and glorious history of the Marathas. The Panhala hill station is situated at an altitude of 977 m. This sparsely populated and peaceful hill station, with a kind of "back-to-nature" environment overwhelms your senses. Panhala is a hill station where the beauty gets new magnification. With fascinating landscapes Panhala is a perfect vent to reach out of the routine congestion, to an escape into the lap of greenery and freshness.
This charming hill station is situated at a distance of 20 km northwest of Kolhapur. Among the tourists attractions there is the Panhala fort, which is the largest fort of all the Deccan forts. It is believed that this is the only fort where the great Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji has spent 500 days at a time. This fort was built in 1209 AD.
Raigad was the capital of Maratha Empire under Shivaji's rule. Situated in the Raigad district of Maharashtra, the Raigad Fort was built in 1657. A climb of about 1450 steps the Raigad Fort is situated atop hill. The history of Raigad Fort is very interesting. It is said that Shivaji seized the fortress of Rairi. He renovated and expanded it and also renamed it as Raigad Fort. Raigad was the capital of Maratha's during the reign of Shivaji. After facing repeated defeats from the great Maratha king, Shivaji, the British named it as "Gibraltar of East".
The fort's location splits it off from the Western Ghats and makes it inaccessible from three sides. The 350 year old architecture consists of broad gates and large monuments. There is only one pathway leading to the top. The Maha Darwaja could be reached after an intricate climb. There was a special entrance for the ladies and the queen known as Meena Darwaja. There is also A tower located in such a position that it helped defending the enemies from all the sided during war. This tower is known as Khoob Ladha Buruj.
With an elevation of 800 m above the surrounding landscape the Sinhagad Fort is located near the city of Pune in Maharashtra. The battle of Tanaji Malusare's capturing the fort in 1670 earned Sinhagad Fort a huge prominence in the pages of history. Today the Fort is a part of the National Defense Academy's training. Sinhagad Fort is situated at a distance of 25km from Pune. It's very popular among the trekkers. Trekking to Sinhagad and Katraj is an experience never to be forgotten.
The house of the famous Marathi poet Lokmanya Tilak is located in the Fort. There is also a sweet and cold water tank here known as Dev Take which is very popular among the tourists. The memorial of Rajaram Maharaj is also located inside the fort. The panoramic view of the city of Pune from this Fort is an unforgettable experience. Among the other attractions there are Panshet, Khadakwasla and Varasgaon dams and Torana fort.
Visit the twin forts of Vijaydurg and Sindhudurg on a low rocky 48acre island of Malvan coast. With a serene coastal beauty, the remnants of history prevail here on every brick of the Vijaydurg-Sindhudurg forts.
Sindhudurg was built by Shivaji in 1664 AD and it is believed that he personally selected this site for the construction of this ocean fort. The fort was built with the help of 500 stone splitters, 200 blacksmiths, 3000 laborers and hundreds of skilled artists who worked very hard to complete this fort in three years. The fort has magnificent architecture. The presence of liquid lead in the 3km long and 10km high outer wall was built in an impenetrable manner. It was built in such a zigzag way that it was visible from every direction which helped the Maratha soldiers trace their enemies during war.
Private cars, taxis, buses are all available. Package tours to these Forts are also available. Frequent train services are available from Aurangabad and Mumbai and also other cities of Maharashtra. Airports are also there in Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, and Aurangabad.