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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Edition 10: Rajgad

Rajgad literally meaning King of forts, is one of the most impressive forts of Maharashtra state in India. Situated in the Pune district, the fort is approximately 4250 feet above sea level.
Formerly known as Murumdev, it was capital of the Maratha Kingdom (Hindavi Swarajya) ruled by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj for almost 26 years, after which he moved to Raigad and made that his capital.
Treasure found on adjacent Torna Fort was used to fortify this hill.
The fort can be divided into four different parts based on geographical terrain and fortification. These are the three sub-plateaux (Machee) namely Padmavati Machee, Suvela Machee and Sanjevani Machee, and the central volcanic plug called Ballekilla (meaning "small fort").
Padmavati lake at the summit of Rajgad Fort Padmavati Machee (north end) This machee is the site of Padmavati Temple, Padmavati Lake, Chor Darwaja, Pali Darwaja, Gunjavane Darwaja, Daru Kothar (storage of arms and ammunition), Diwankhana, Rajwada (ruins), Ghod Tale (Horse Lake), Sadar (office) and Dhalkathi (flag hoisting place).
First Glimpse : Sanjeevani Machee (southwest/west end). This huge, beautiful and royally constructed machee faces west and has a three-stepped (layered) fortified structure. Each of the lower levels is separated from the higher one by a fortified bastion with a gate that could be defended independently. The lowest level is beautifully fortified by double curtain walls (chilkhathi) separated by a deep trench, on average 12 feet across. One can walk between these walls. The outer wall has openings to let soldiers out for sudden attack.
Suvela Machi as seen from Ballekilla Suvela Machee (south east). This is another grand machee facing east with lots of secret routes and doorways.
after climbing up to the base of fort This one is a double-stepped fortified machee with the steps separated by a beautiful bastioned doorway. At the end of first step a hole cuts across the rock; one can sit on this hole (nedhe).
The final (lowest) step like Sanjeevani Machee is has a double curtain wall.
To the south side of this machee one can find a beautiful triangular bastion called Kaleswari buruz having an escape door near it. The home of the renowned military leader Tanaji Malusare was in this machee.
Bale Killa (centre) : This is the highest part of the fort which has remains of palaces, water cisterns and caves. It has a beautiful entrance door called Mahadarwaja. One can view the whole fort and the vast surrounding expanse.
Rightfully this fort is called King of Forts. As it was fort where the king lived. No trekker who swears by trekking can miss visiting this fort. Pack your sack & head towards Rajgad.

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