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. 


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.

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


Sinhgad – Powada of Tanaji Malusare & Shivaji Maharaj

Sinhagad, Sinhgarh, or Sinhgad (Marathi: सिंहगड, The Lion’s Fort), is a fortress located roughly 30 kilometres southwest of the city of Pune, India. Previously called Kondhana (Marathi: कोंढाणा).

We frequently visit Sinhgad fort. This video was taken on fort near “Samadhi” of Tanaji Malusare. Local narrator Shahir Dimbale gave us information about importance of Kondhana Killa ( Sinhgad ) & sung a Powada of Tanaji Malusare & Shivaji Maharaj .

Narration is in Marathi Language.
Place : Sinhgad Fort , Maharashtra , District : Pune
Date : Saturday : 10 / Jul/2011

Rajgad Trek Video

Happy days are here again. Its monsoon and good time for trekkers.   Last year ( Aug-2012) we had fantastic trek of Rajgad fort.   I have posted a video 16 minute video of this trek on you tube. This is HD video of trek from Chor Darwaja way- Gunjawane Village. We also visited Balekilla , Suvela Machi.

URL of Video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uCu_iJYhmk

P.S. There are more details about Rajgad trek from year 2011 on post http://www.iphotic.com/2011/09/rajgad-fort-trekking/

Torana Trek

Date of Trek : 1-Oct-2011

This video was shot in Oct 2011 during a trek to Fort Torana. Fort Torana is highest mountain in Pune district.  Photos of trekking are available on Picasa.

There is lot of information available on internet about fort Torana.

Velhe is base village of fort Torana. To goto Velhe village you can take bus from Swargate Pune or if you are driving yourself , there are two roads. One from Pune Bangalore highway & another from Khadkwasala – Pabe Ghat

We drove from  Khadkwasala –  Pabe Ghat route.  This road is not very sooth but if you love to drive in Ghats & enjoy rain in nature you can go via this route.

From Pune we have to go towards Khadkwasala . Keep going to Sinhgad. When you reach near to Sinhgad take road to Panshet.  Here you keep going  on circumference of Sinhgad . You have to take a left for Velhe on this road . Keep watching for signs of Torana fort or Velhe.   From Pabe ghat you can reach to Velhe & start climbing fort.

You can park your vehicles near police station & way to fort starts from there.

Rest of the journey is captured in below Video on you tube.

or open link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KMe05RqRDQ

Initial post of Torana Trek:  http://www.iphotic.com/2011/10/photos-of-fort-torana-trek/

Tung & Tikona fort

This view is worth getting up early morning & 50 KM bike ride in the chilling cold.  This photo I took from a hill near to Pawana dam. There stand tall fort Tikona.


 A trek to Tung & Tokona Fort near Pawana Dam, Maval, Pune. We visited two forts Tung & Tikona in one day. Two unexplored forts & about 130 KMs of bike ride .. Amazing way to spend Saturday!

stay tuned on www.iphotic.com , I will soon post details of teak including map, route & photos.

Harishchandragad – Part 1

Harishchandragad  – हरिश्चंद्रगड

Date of Trek: 10-Dec-2011 & 11-Dec-2011

We had been planning to visit Harishchandragad for a long time. Harishchandragad is a “must visit” place for every trekker in Maharashtra.

Harishchandragad is a fort located on the borders of Pune, Thane & Ahmednagar districts.  This fort is 1424 meter high from sea level. Fort has multiple ways to climb up. Most popular three ways are

  • Via Khireshwar  – Moderate difficulty level & requires high endurance
  • Via Pachnai  – Relatively Simple
  • Nalichi Wat – Most difficult & need professional mountaineering experience. You can choose to go with professional companies.

We selected a road Via Khireshwar.

We were four members of this group. We started from Pune early in the morning from 3:30 AM in my car.

Route :

Nashik Phata  –> Rajgurunagar –> From Aale Phata take left towards Kalyan. Most of the websites & Google map tells a route which is to take right from Khubi Phata & reach to Khireshwar from the wall of Dam. We took this road but it road is really bad. But still, I dared to take the car on that road. This is not even tar road.  There is another road to Khireshwar Via Pinpalgaon. This is a good road.

We reached on Dam wall from Khubi Phata at about 6:30 AM. Now Khireshwar was just 2 KM away & we are able to see the view of the fort.  We had quick breakfast of Sandwiches & fruits there.

Click on images to view larger image.







Here is a beautiful view of Sunrise near dam.







Google Map shows  —

View Harishchandragad in a larger map

We reached Khireshwar village. Parked our car near a small cafe named “Hotel Aishwarya”.







We had quick tea at hotel Aishwarya & asked information about fort & way to fort to local villagers.

Me & Subhash in below photo with a grand view of Harishchandragad.







 While planning this trip we were not sure if we can get food on the fort or not. We had a good amount of food with us for two days along with sleeping bag & three liters of water with each one of us. With heavy bags, we started walking towards the fort. We got bamboo sticks in had while walking to reduce pressure on knees when you carry heavy bags.


The road is not very stiff slope but you have to pass through from dry water canals  & a lot of big stones.

Since we were going through the jungle it was cool so we were not getting tired due to sun heat.







This is the view of rock patch.

After one and half hour of climbing from the jungle, we saw this view of cliff. There is a small pass (Tolar Khind ) and there another road comes from Pachnai village. There is a rock patch. We carefully climbed rock patch with help of poles. Steps are carved out on a rock at some hard places which help.

I can not imagine climbing this fort in rains but local villagers say there is a lot of crowd in rainy season too.



There is sculpture of tiger  near tolar khind. Some people say this is indicative of leopards in this area.

Local people say there are only wild boars in this jungle.







After this Tolar Khind, there is stiff rock patch. We climbed multiple small rough rocks. We also came across a trekkers group from Mumbai.











 Had quick break after & before rock patch. At about 11:00 AM we reached the top of the fort. Now there is no hard climbing, just long walk on the plateau.

Views of valley












There are two ways to reach Kedareshwar temple on top. One is very simple but long . You have to go up and down seven hills ( elevations of land ).

Another way is to go towards balekilla & from there go to the temple. On this way, you have to go through dense jungle & some water streams. This way is okay in winter.

Bale Killa


After 1.0 hr of a walk, we reached to  Kedareshwar temple