The capital of Shivaji Maharaj’s Hindavi Swarajya, Raigad was a pillar on which the Maratha Empire was built, an impenetrable wall that protected the greatest ruler in the history of Maharashtra. Although in ruins, the Raigad fort is capable of bringing a surge of pride in any Maharashtrian by merely being in it's presence. Such is the allure of this fort and a trek to the Raigad fort is a must for any history buff and trekking enthusiast.
Know More About
- The Quick Guide to Raigad Fort
- The Raigad Fort: Thousand Steps to the Past
- The Ropeway to the Top
- The Raigad Fort: A Trip down the Historical Lane
- The Most Desirable Season to Visit Raigad
- The Best Routes to the Raigad Fort
- Raigad Fort Trek: The Full Breakdown
- Major Highlights of the Raigad Fort
- Trekking Essentials
- Useful Tips for Trekkers
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Summing Up
For trekking and nature enthusiasts looking for a short getaway, jam-packed with adventure and thrill, the Raigad Fort trek is the trail to be on.
The Quick Guide to Raigad Fort
- Where it is Located: Maharashtra
- Number of Trekking Days: 1 Day (3 hours max)
- Max Altitude: 2700 feet above sea level
- Trekking Grade: Easy to Moderate
- Basecamp: Pachad village/Raigad village
- Distance from Pune To Visapur Village: 131.4 kilometres (3 hours and 28 minutes)
- Distance from Mumbai To Visapur Village: 169 kilometres(3 hours and 48 minutes)
- Best Time To Visit: Post monsoon to winter
- Livingit Grade: Beginner - Enthusiast
The Raigad Fort: Thousand Steps to the Past
The Raigad fort is an easy to attempt yet exciting hike located near Mahad, in the Raigad district, Maharashtra and stands tall at a height of 2,700 ft above sea level. The peak is tucked away quaintly within the Sahyadri mountain range and to get to the peak, hikers must climb up a set of 1450 steps! But what’s even more exciting about this ascension is the new ropeway installation that leads straight into the fort. And even though it may appear to be a simple climb up a staircase, the entire pathway leaves no leaf unturned in ensuring that the adventure level stays at an utmost high. Other historical forts like Torna and Mangad can also be spotted, scattered around the Raigad fort and the trek routes to these structures offer other options to diversify the day’s activities.
The Raigad fort, however, was brought to ruins by the British colonials during an invasion. Today, the area can be punctuated with bastions, disarmed and dysfunctional artillery and worshipped statues of the revered Maratha ruler and warrior, Shivaji Maharaj. And while the Raigad fort remains a popular tourist and trekking destination for many, the locals consider the grounds of the structure holy and sacred as is it said to hold the burial grounds of Shivaji Maharaj.
The Ropeway to the Top
The Raigad ropeway is one of the main attractions of the trek and has tourists flocking at this destination from all over the district. The ropeway was built in 1996 under the leadership of late Shri. V. M. Jog, and since then has been a unique feature of the fort. The ropeway takes visitors up to the fort in just about 4 minutes and the ride to and fro is promises tourists with a breathtaking view of the valley below, especially during the monsoons. The carriage will take you on a steady incline, through the misty blankets surrounding the ranges and the lush greenery surrounding the ropeway.
The trip on the ropeway to the fort costs INR 110 one way and INR 180 both ways.
The Raigad Fort: A Trip down the Historical Lane
The Raigad fort is a hill fortress that is situated near the town of Mahad, in the Raigad district. The fort was constructed in the 14th century by the Maratha king, Shivaji Maharaj and, when he was crowned king in 1674, it became the capital of his Maratha Kingdom. The fort stands at a height of 820 metres above sea level, within the Sahyadri mountain range. However, a lot of the structure was destroyed during an attack by British colonial forces and now remain as a reminder of the royal past it witnessed. Unlike most treks in the vicinity, the Raigad fort trek doesn’t exactly have a conventional trial. Trekkers would have to climb approximately 1450 steps that end at the fort at the hilltop. And in the recent years, a ropeway was also constructed for adventure enthusiasts to make the best of the trek. Apart from the sheer from the constant panoramic view of the surrounding greenery, the fort is also quite revered by the locals as the burial grounds of Shivaji Maharaj.
The Most Desirable Season to Visit Raigad
The monsoon season (July to September) is definitely the best time to pay a visit to the Raigad Fort. Sure, the trail is a little slippery, but the view from the top makes it all worth the effort. During this time, the rains have washed away the heat of the previous months, leaving a wave of freshness in the air. The hills surrounding Raigad are brightened with the lush green and colourful flora, making the view look like it’s just waiting to be slapped on the back of a postcard.
For those of you who aren’t big fans of rain and getting wet, the winter season offers a similar view, minus the slippery trail.
- Monsoon: 28 ° C to 32 ° C (day); 21 ° C to 26 ° C (night)
- Winter: 28 ° C to 32 ° C (day); 18 ° C to 22 ° C (night)
- Summer: 30 ° C to 35 ° C (day); 25 ° C to 30 ° C (night)
The Best Routes to the Raigad Fort
The base camp for the trek is often settled as the Pachad village, located around 40 kilometres off NH17.
From Pune, you can take one of two major routes to the Raigad Fort. You can take NH4 to the fort for a distance of 48 kilometres and reach Bhor by passing the Kivki Village. From Bhor, you can continue westwards till you reach Mahad (about 100 kilometres away). You can also take NH17 and head westwards on Paud road towards Mangaon, 120 kilometres away from Pune city. After reaching Mangaon, you can continue southwards on the same highway to the Pachad village.
You can even start your trek to the Raigad fort from the Pachad village. Parking is available in the village. Just ensure that your vehicles are parked in a manner that they do not block any roads.
From Mumbai city, you can easily avail a State Transport bus from Borivali Nancy Colony, and get off at the Raigad base village. If you take the State Highway, you also have the option of getting off at the Pachad village.
Raigad Fort Trek: The Full Breakdown
After a refreshing start with some snacks, you can start the trek by taking the route to the Maha Darwaja. The trek, however, has more to do with climbing up the vast expanse of steps that lead into the Raigad fort. With around 1450 steps to climb, the trek should take around an hour or so to complete. Once you reach the top, you can spend some time here exploring the surrounding attractions such as Holi cha Mal, Gangasagar Lake, the Rajwada, the holy tomb of Shivaji Maharaj, the ancient market and the Jagadishwar temple.
The descent back to the village is through the same route, or you can opt to take ropeway back and enjoy a relaxing ride down the mountain.
Major Highlights of the Raigad Fort
Upon ascending the ropeway, the carriage lands you at the upper station near the Mena Darwaja. This was once known to be the special entrance for the royal woman of the kingdom. The Rani Darwaja or the entrance to the queen’s chamber lies to the left of the Mena Darwaja. In addition, the Palkhi Darwaja and the Rani Vasa are also other attractions that you mustn’t miss out on. Historians have also believed that these chambers were once used as the granaries for the fort.
Near these granaries, you can find the palace of Shivaji Maharaj. It was also believed that the entrance to the fort for the common public was through the Nagarkhana, and the wide open ground outside it, called the Holi Cha Mal, was often used by the public to play Holi.
Apart from these attractions, you can also visit the well laid out marketplace near Holi Cha Mal and the Jagadishwar temple. However, the most sought-after attractions of the Raigad fort is the burial grounds of Shivaji Maharaj and the tomb of his loyal dog, Waghya, located adjacent to the Jagadishwar temple.
The text written on a step at entrance of the Samadhi says “Seveshi Tatpar Hiroji Indulkar” meaning always ready at the service/duty of Swarajya. This probably refers to Hiroji Indulkar who built The Raigad was one of most trusted men of Shivaji Maharaj.
Some other noteworthy places in Raigad fort are the Khoob Ladha Buruj, the strategically located tower that defended the fort from attackers from either side, the Hirkani Buruj, the bastion dedicated to a mother who didn’t let the walls of the fort come in between her and her child; and Shivaji Maharaj’s throne, designed such that the king’s voice could be heard in any corner of the darbar and the king himself would be able to hear the tiniest whisper in the halls.
- A backpack or a rucksack that has a capacity around 40-60 litres and broad and sturdy shoulder straps, for better support
- Sturdy trekking shoes that have a good grip to them
- A reliable flashlight and extra batteries if you’re planning to camp there at night
- Sleeping bags and dome tents (in the case of camping)
- A compass and a map of the area
- First Aid kit
- A raincoat in the case of rains or a waterproof jacket
- An extra pair of trekking pants, socks and clothes, in case the other gets wet or torn
- Sun caps and sunscreen to protect your skin from the harsh rays at higher altitudes
- A waterproof cover for your rucksacks
- Plastic covers to compartmentalise all your equipment, waste and wet clothes
- Nutrition bars or packs of dry fruits
- Packed lunch
- Camera and extra pair of batteries
- Sunscreen to keep your skin protected from the harsh sun rays
- Chapstick and moisturiser
- Toilet paper and a few light towels
- Two 1 litre bottles
- Hand sanitizer
- Crocin for colds
- Crepe bandage and ointment in the case of any injuries
- A small roll of cotton and gauze
- Moov or Relispray for muscular pulls, aches and sprains
- Bug spray (eg; Odomos)
- Dettol antiseptic
Useful Tips for Trekkers
- Alcohol and smoking are strictly prohibited on the trek and if found, attempting the trek under the influence, you’ll be barred from the hike.
- Do not litter the trail with empty plastic bottles and food wrappers behind. Littering is strictly restricted on this trail.
- Remember to wear loose fitting and full sleeves clothes to facilitate faster movement and avoid bug bites.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can we set up camp at the Visapur Fort? Is there any accommodation near the fort?
Yes, you can. The Raigad fort is ideal for camping and there are resorts, closed shelters and accommodations in which you stay in overnight. There’s even a lot of open space at the fort where you can pitch your own tent. However, in the case of setting up camp overnight, it is advised best to confirm beforehand with a guide or the locals.
- Would camping equipment be provided at the base camp?
No, you would be required to bring your own equipment. Remember to bring dome-shaped tents (that can accommodate up to three people), mats, sleeping bags LED lamps/headlamps and ample amount of water and food.
- Are there any water sources along the way?
No. But while it is highly recommended that you bring your own bottles of water, you should be able to find stores and stalls at the top of the fort and at the base village that sell basic provisions.
- Can I attempt the trek at night?
Yes, you can attempt the trek during the trek, considering the lack of dense forestry covering the path. However, it is better you attempt the trek at night in a sufficiently large group (6-9 people) and you must remember to always carry headlamps or LED lights.
For anyone looking for the perfect weekend getaway, the Raigad fort trek is an ideal option to pick from the lot. Situated in close proximity to both Mumbai and Pune city, the trek is often attempted as a quick and efficient day hike. The best part about this trek is that it offers the option of exploring the fort with a simple ride up the ropeway, hence opening up the hike to people of all backgrounds and trekking experience! The Raigad fort trek offers an experience that is a magnificent balance of tourism, history and adventure, where you can listen to the fantastical stories of the Maratha ruler, Shivaji Maharaj and the fort itself while exploring the quirky ancient market near the fort. Every trekker leaves back with the spectacular view of the vast stretch of the Sahyadri range, the misty atmosphere and the luxuriant spread of greenery in the valley below. It doesn’t demand much time or effort, hence making it the best trek to start off one’s first ever hiking experience.