Rajgad – The first kingdom of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj

Rajgad – the beautiful fort is located to the south-west of Pune about 60 KM from Pune city center.  Rajgad is situated on a hill which was formerly called as Murumdev Hill ( मुरुंबदेवाचा डोंगर ). Rajgad fort was established as the first kingdom of Maratha Empire by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.  This fort has tremendous importance in Maratha empire history as it was the active center of Maratha empire establishment for the first 26 years.  Shivaji Maharaj stayed here for the highest number of days of his life. 

I have visited this fort many times for trekking. Click here to view the last post which has photos from summer.  This time I visited the fort with my friend Arvind and we created a documentary video about the fort. This video is published on IndiaTravelVids YouTube channel. You can see beautiful greenery and flowers after the monsoon season in this video. 

 

Historical Events on Rajgad 

The fort has stood witness to many significant historical events including the birth of Chhatrapati Shivaji’s son “Rajaram Chhatrapati”, the death of Shivaji’s Queen Saibai, the return of Shivaji from Agra, the burial of Afzal Khan’s head in the Mahadarwaja walls of Balle Killa.

The Rajgad Fort was also one of the 17 forts that Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj kept when he signed the Treaty of Purandar in 1665, with the Mughal general Jai Singh I, leader of the Mughal forces. Under this treaty, 23 forts were handed over to the Mughals.

– Source Wikipedia 

– More historical information about the fort can be found on Marathi  Wiki  ( राजगड ) 

Trekking and hiking 

Rajgad is the destination for every trekker in Maharashtra because of its beautiful view and historical importance. There are various places to see on the fort. Suvela Machi, Padmavati tank, Rajwada ( remains of the palace ), Padmavati temple, Sanjivanee machi, balekilla. 

Nowadays there are two main paths which can be used to climb the fort. One starts at Gunjawane Village. From the highway, at Nasarapur take road towards Velhe. From Sakhar village take the route to Gunjavane.   At Gunjawane village vehicles can be parked by paying small fees. 

Another main route is from Pali Daravaja  .From Kharive village – after crossing Kanand river we can take this route. This route is relatively simple and has steps in good condition. 

On weekends, some villagers sell food and water bottles however in lean seasons it’s difficult to get food and trekkers should carry their own food. 

Please enjoy the video above for more information. I would love to know your feedback. 

 

Kolhapur

Kolhapur is a city, I always like from bottom of my heart.  My friend Arvind from IndiaTravelVids YouTube channel asked if I am interested to participate in a Kolhapur Travel video.  I immediately said yes.  

I am always excited to visit Kolhapur. It’s a historical city, with lots of lovely places. Visiting Kolhapur in this monsoon season is an awesome experience. Greenery everywhere, Panchaganga river is flooded. 

Non-veg food is the specialty of Kolhapur with many eateries offering  Misal and local delicacies. 

Here is the output from travel to Kolhapur. 

Top 20 places in Kolhapur. Enjoy! Let me know your feedback in the comments. 

Sinhgad fort – History and Information

In an earlier post I had shared video of my bicycle ride to Sinhagad  . Sinhagad is my favourite place to visit. This time I visited Sinhagad  fort with my friend Arvind to create a informative video about fort , its history specifically during period of Shivaji Maharaj and Marath empire.  Video is posted on India Travel Vids channel on  youtube .  

   

It’s a marathi narration there is also a hindi version at this link.  This video is becoming popular on youtube . It received 200K+ views in just two months. 

Please let me know your remarks about the video in comments . 

English summary of content in video – Source – Wikipedia

Sinhagad, Sinhgarh, or Sinhgad (The Lion’s Fort), is a fortress located roughly 30 km southwest of the city of Pune,India. Previously called Kondhana (Marathi: कोंढाणा), the fort has been the site of many important battles, most notably the Battle of Sinhagad in 1671. It was also strategically located at the center of a string of other forts such as Rajgad, Purandar and Torna.
Perched on an isolated cliff of the Bhuleswar range of the Sahyadri Mountains, it is situated on a hill rising 700 m above sea level. Given natural protection by its very steep slopes, the walls and bastions were constructed at only key places; it has two gates – the Kalyan Darwaza in the south-east and the Pune Darwaza in the north-east.

One of the most famous battles for Sinhgad was fought to recapture the fort by Tanaji Malusare,a Mard Maratha Koli and a general of Shivaji in March 1670. A steep cliff leading to the fort was scaled with the help of a monitor lizard named Yashwanti,known as a ghorpad in marathi. Thereafter, there ensued fierce battles between Tanaji and his men, and the mughal army headed by Udaybhan Singh Rathod a Rajput sardar, that had the fort at the time. Tanaji lost his life, but his brother Suryaji took over and captured Kondana.There is an anecdote that upon hearing of Tanaji’s death, Shivaji expressed his remorse with the words: “Gad aala pan sinha gela” – “We gained the fort, but lost the lion”. The name Sinhagad, though, pre-dates this event, and can be seen in written communiques from the era. A bust of Tanaji has been established on the fort in memory of his contribution to the battle. It was also strategically located at the centre of a string of other forts such as Rajgad, Purandar and Torna.
Sinhagad was called ‘Kondana’ after the sage Kaundinya. The Kaundinyeshwar temple, the caves and the carvings indicate that this fort had probably been built two thousand years back. It was captured from the Koli tribal chieftain,Nag Naik, by Muhammad bin Tughlaq in 1328 AD.
Shahaji Bhosale, as the commander of Ibrahim Adil Shah I, was entrusted with the control of the Pune region. His son Shivaji, however, refused to accept the Adilshahi and initiated the task of setting up Swarajya. He gained control of Kondana in 1647 by convincing Siddi Amber, the Adilshahi Sardar who controlled the fort. Bapuji Mudgal Deshpande played key role in this activity. In 1649, it had to be handed over to Adil Shah for Shahaji Maharaj’s release. Shivaji Maharaj recaptured it back in 1656 again with the help of Bapuji Mudgal Deshpande,who convinced Fort commander by giving land in newly created Shivapur village and peacefully gained control of fort. This fort saw attacks by Mughals in 1662, 1663 and 1665. In 1664, Shahistekhan, the Mughal general, even tried to bribe people of fort to hand over the fort to him but he was unsuccessful. Through the Treaty of Purandar, it passed into the hands of the Mughal army chief Mirzaraje Jaysingh, in the year 1665. In 1670, Shivaji Maharaj re-conquered this fort and then it stayed under Maratha rule till 1689. After the death of Sambhaji, the Mughals regained control f the fort. The Marathas, headed by Sardar Balkawade, recaptured it in 1693. Chatrapati Rajaram took asylum on this fort during Mogul raid on Satara but Rajaram died on Sinhagad on the 3rd of March 1700 & in 1703 Aurangzeb conquered the fort. In 1706, it once again went into the hands of the Marathas. Pantaji Shivdev of Sangola, Visaji Chafar and the Pant Pratinidhis played key role in this battle. Then this fort remained with Marathas till 1818, when the British conquered it. British however took three months to capture this fort, which was longest it took them to win any fort in Maharashtra.

Lingmala Waterfalls – Mahabaleshwar

Lingmala Waterfalls Located near Mahabaleshwar

Mahabaleshwar is one of my favourite  destination. Being close to Pune its a good place to visit even on weekends. Leave aside crowded days, it’s perfect place to unwind. I had been to Mahabaleshwar many times but never visited Lingamala Waterfalls. I have always seen this waterfall from distant Panchagani to Mahabaleshwar road.

This time I was going to Club Mahindra ( Sherwood) Mahabaleshwar. Google map showed a shortcut to this resort from Panchagani . As I took this route, I realised this is the same road that goes to unseen , so far , Lingmala waterfall. Plan quickly changed and decided to stop and see this beauty.

Beautiful road though dense jungle takes us to this waterfall. After parking vehicle there is about 500 meters walk & steps to go to waterfall . Actually there are two waterfalls here. One is a mini waterfall where you can enjoy going in river and can go near water to get wet. One route goes to this huge main waterfall where water falls from 600 meters with roaring sound. Beautiful view of valley ,  waterfall , blossomed flowers makes mind fresh.

View of valley from Lingmala Waterfall – Mahabaleshwar ( Satara Road )

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bicycle ride to Sinhgad fort

Sinhgad fort is in vicinity of Pune city .  This is a huge advantage to Pune citizens. People go to Sinhgad for trekking , hiking , bird photography and having breakfast of Kanda-Baji & Pithala Bhakari .  There is a motorable road to the top of Sinhgad fort. This is a beautiful road for riding bikes & bicycles.

In the last week of April 2016 , I completed a bicycle ride to Sinhgad fort.  We created a video of the ride .

See Video blog of cycling below

Or click on YouTube link  https://youtu.be/Q9NMXIrXaAA

Let me know your feedback in comments below.

Kalavantin Durg

Kalavantin Durg ( कलावंतीण दुर्ग ) is also called as Kalavantinicha Sulaka ( pinnacle ) . This fort is actually not a separate fort but it is an extension of prabalgad. Prabalgad lies on the Prabal plateau between Matheran and Panvel and can be seen from the Mumbai-Pune Expressway.

File photo of Kalavantin Durg from Wikipedia
File photo of Kalavantin Durg from Wikipedia

Kalavantin Durg has always amazed me . I had only seen photos of it’s beautiful view from Pabal gad . With start of monsoon , this was the first trek we decided to attempt. Girikujan a pune based trekking club arranged a trek to Kalavantin durg. We ( Rahul Bagal, Santosh Vasekar & Aniruddha Sune ) immediately enrolled for it.

On Sunday 21st Jun 2015, we started in a bus at 6:00 AM from Kinara hotel , Kothrud Pune. There were about 30 odd people joined this trek.

It was raining heavily all over the pune mumbai old highway. On old highway after Shedung toll , we took a right turn and reached base village Thakurwadi. Just before thakurwadi a road goes towards fort. There is a small area where we can park our vehicles . Treak starts with beautiful view of prabalgad and kalavantin durg.

View of fort from base

initially it’s easy walk and then climb starts . There is a good road for couple of kilometers. Then the pathway becomes narrow. There is a board about information of fort. On the way carvings of Ganapati & Maruti can be seen.

information about fort Road to top

It was raining all day so I could not capture many photos.  So this post has very few photos of trek.

We reached at prabal machi and had some breakfast. We carried our own food with us.

On prabal machi there are few homes and they may provide food & tea.

View from Prabal Machi

Kalavatin pinnacle was getting closer .  Pathway became very narrow. We  were going through woods and water stream. Then we came to main rock tusk . Beautifully carved stairs on rock & valley on another side. One with fear of height can not think of climbing it.  Slowly one by one we climbed to top of the fort. There is a small plateau and a rock patch at the top of it .

top most rock patch

Climbing this rock is not very easy. There are many notches & can be used for grip. Our group leader & experienced members did an excellent job in guiding entire team to climb the rock patch and stairs.

Getting down from stairs was very thrilling. It started raining heavily. Drops of water were hitting face and going into ear. Without loosing focus , very slowly & carefully we stepped down all stairs.

This experience can not be stated in words. See below video to get a gist of it.

Hiking down was now a very easy task after lunch at Prabal Machi.

Thank you Girikujan for arranging this awesome trek !

Rajgad Fort Pictures

We have done multiple treks of Rajgad fort . These photos are taken in Dec 2013. This season is also good for trekking. There will not be that beautiful greenery like Jul , Aug , Sep but good weather make climbs  easier.

View from Balekilla remains of structure

Nedhe is Marathi word of eye of the needle. This hole created by wind erosion of rock.
Nedhe is Marathi word for eye of the needle. This hole generated by wind erosion of rock.
Beautiful orange tint due to rising sun.
Beautiful orange tint due to rising sun.

View on the way IMG_1619

View of SInhgad fort from Rajgad fort
View of SInhgad fort from Rajgad fort

Flag Post Gate of Balekilla Machi View from BaleKilla IMG_1645 View of Machi from BaleKilla

View of Raigad fort from Rajgad fort .
View of Raigad fort from Rajgad fort .

Rajgad fort View of Balekilla from Machi 20131221_092423 Rajgad Steps View from Rajgad Balekilla 20131221_104052

 

Goa – always evergreen

Goa is one of my favorite places in India to relax & enjoy holidays.  I try to visit Goa once a year.

Goa is about 460 KMs from Pune – a direct drive via Nipani. We started from Pune on Friday evening & stayed in Sangli at night. Sangli is my native place so I took a diversion. But if anyone planning to take a break during travel to Goa, Kolhapur is a good pit stop. Next morning we drove from Sangli to Goa via Nipani, Amboli.

Weather at Amboli Ghat was very hot, still, we stopped for few minutes to view the glimpse of the valley. Famous Amboli waterfall was dry.

Valley view from Amboli Ghat

Valley view from Amboli Ghat

View of Sahyadri Mountain from Amboli Ghat showing layers in rocks.
View of Sahyadri Mountain from Amboli Ghat showing layers in rocks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year we stayed near Anjuna beach. I had booked studio apartment at Laguna Anjuna resort. This resort is not that great.  It has a theme of old  Goan Portuguese house. All studio apartments are made up of red rock and old style. The pool was not clean and the food was not so exciting. I think reviews on TripAdvisor are very old.  But one plus point for this hotel is, it is very close to Anjuna beach, just about 15 minutes walk.

A beautiful hanging created by planting in dry coconut.
A beautiful hanging created by planting in dry coconut.
betel nut tree at Laguna Anjuna
Supari – betel nut tree at Laguna Anjuna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this trip, we spent most of the time on Anjuna beach. It was very hot weather in Goa. But it was windy on the beach so heat was not a big problem.

Sunset at Anjuna beach
Sunset at Anjuna beach

Sunset at Anjuna beach Sunset at Anjuna beach was beautiful & evenings were pleasant as the wind was a cooling day-long heat.

There are many shacks on this beach serving you good food & drinks.

 

 

Next day we visited Aguada fort. This is well maintained & well-preserved seventeenth-century Portuguese fort built on high rock.  There is a lighthouse on this fort.  We see a beautiful view of the Arabian sea, Panjim City and port of Goa. You can also see Goa jail from this fort. 

Fort Aguada - Light house
Fort Aguada – Lighthouse

Boats

Goa Jail view from Fort Aguada
Goa Jail view from Fort Aguada

Panjim view from Fort Aguada Fort Aguada

Fort Aguada
Fort Aguada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall trip was very good & relaxing. While returning we drove from Anjuna, Goa to Pune in one day. It took me about 9 to 10 hours with decent breaks in Kolhapur and Satara.

It was a well deserved short break for me & my family.

Mayureshwar Wildlife Sanctuary ( मयुरेश्वर अभयारण्य )

We have added a new page with information about Mayureshwar Wildlife Sanctuary ( मयुरेश्वर अभयारण्य  )  .

Visit link below to know more about Mayureshwar Wildlife Sanctuary near Pune

http://www.iphotic.com/mayureshwar-wildlife-sanctuary/