Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj the great warrior and ruler of Maharashtra found his capital at Raigad. In this hill fort that he built during the 14th century witnessed his coronation during 1674 AD and death on 1680 AD. The fort was one of the most strategically built forts across the whole India. Starting from the main gate till the watch tower- the smart technicalities are traced by today’s architects and engineers. Very intelligently the fort of Raigad was built at a hill top of the Sahyadri Mountains with deep valleys surrounding the three sides of it. It was mainly structured and designed in that way so that the capital can be protected from the attacks of the enemies. This has a resemblance of the mighty walls built by the ancient Trojans as mentioned in the Iliad.
The British called the fort as the 'Gibralter of the East'. There is a famous door of the fort called Chit Darwaja or Jit Darwaja structured at the foothills of the village Pachad. This fort was the capital of Maharaj Shivaji that was very strategically built. For example there was a tower named Khoob Ladha Buruj that was built in such a way that attackers from both the ways can be defended. It was even difficult to climb the Maha Darwaja of the fort. The main door to the fort is almost 350 years old that stands today with the same pride.
Distance between Mumbai to Raigad is 210 Kms and this is 27 Kms from Mahad. The total area of the Fort in the plateau is around 5.12sq.kms with three major points- Takamak in the north, Bhavani in the east and Hirakani in the west. There was only one side open for the entrance to the fort. This was according to Shivaji’s strategy who believed that the approach of the fort should be convenient for friends but impossible for the enemies.
The highest plateau is covered with other buildings and reservoirs. Ganga Sagar reservoir was the main source of water here. Behind the reservoir there were two muslim styled towers built and behind it the Palakhi-darwaza was established. This was the entrance to the Queen’s palace and the Darbar of Shivaji.
Tourists have a long list to explore adjacent places of Raigad. Ghal, Pale, Nijampur, Mahabaleshwar, Ganapatipule, Harihareshwar, Fort Mangad, Birwadi and so on are some of the most important places to explore from Raigad.
Alibag is a famous coastal town under the municipal council in Raigad District of Maharashtra. It is the headquarters of the Raigad district and the town surrounding villages with historic importance of Bene Israeli Jews. Varsoli beach, Akshi beach and Alibag beach are the top beaches here. In Alibag, tourists can also pay pilgrimage at the Kanakeshwar Temple, Uma-Maheshwar Temple, Vikram Vinayak Temple, Balaji Temple, Hingulja Mandir, Datta Mandir and many more.
This temple of Lord Ganesh was named after Ballal, son of Kalyan Shreshti. Previously it was a wooden temple with two equinoxes so that the sun rays would fall direct on the deity. Later on in 1770, the temple was reconstructed by Morobadada Phadanvis.
This palace was named after Jijabai, the mother of Shivaji. British destroyed the monument while conquering the fort. Today only the ruin of the grand mansion is left. Presently the Archaeological survey of India is preserving the palace. The tomb of Jijabai is near to the ruin of the palace where the great lady lived until her death.
This is a small hill station close to Mapgaon. Kankeshwar is famous for its wonderful cool climate and of course the temple of Lord Shiva. At a distance of 12 Kms from Alibag this destination is situated. Other places near Kankaneshwar are Maruti Temple, Temple of Devi Putrabai, the platue of Vyaghreshwar, Gaymandi and many more.
Shivaji Maharaj was a devoted Hindu and used to worship the Gods. Jadadishwar temple was built in his palace proves his devotion towards Lord Shiva. From his accounts it has been known that he used to visit the temple every day. Tourists nowadays also pay a visit to this temple that carries the enriched history that is hundred years old.
The Kranti Stambha is the main attraction in this village.
Karnala Bird Sanctuary
This is the ideal place for passionate ornithologists. This place houses rare birds and is open all round the year. October and April is the time of the migratory birds. The monsoon witnesses the melody of the songbirds here.
By Air: The nearest airport is the Mumbai Airport.
BY Train: The nearest railway stations are Mumbai and Pune.
By Road: Regular buses, taxis are available from Mumbai, Pune.