Direct link to scholarships offered by  Govt. of India

List of Private NGOs offering scholarships

Abu Marwan Abdal Malik Ibn Zuhr: ‘Avenzoar’

Abu Marwan Abdal Malik Ibn Zuhr, known in the west as Avenzoar, was

Ummid Assistant

Gandhi Fellowship for Nation Building

Welcome Guest! You are here: Home » History

Conquer Raigad Fort - in five minutes!

Sunday January 09, 2011 02:59:42 PM, Quaid Najmi , IANS

Mumbai: It was a symbol of Maratha pride, the capital of Chhatrapati Shivaji's kingdom and vision of a Hindavi Swaraj (Hindu rule). The majestic Raigad Fort, which resisted British attacks for over a century, is now conquered by a million domestic and foreign tourists every year - thanks to a cable car at the historical site.

And unlike the erstwhile British rulers, the modern-day commoners take barely five minutes to make it to the fort atop the Raigad mountain.

Nestling in the heart of the Sahyadri mountain range, Raigad Fort is around 140 km south of Mumbai and has become a must-see destination on the itinerary of tourists visiting Maharashtra, site manager R. Kulkarni explained.

"The ropeway has given a significant boost to the number of tourists. Earlier, very few tourists took courage to walk up the nearly 1,500 steps which took around four hours, and one hour while returning," Kulkarni told IANS.

Mumbai-based construction major Jog Engineering Ltd took up the challenge of constructing the ropeway project and completed it in April 1996 at a cost of Rs.31 million (Rs.3.10 crore).

Nearly 15 years later, the ropeway has seen nearly a million people gliding up and down each year - or around 15 million so far - perhaps more than the total population of Chhatrapati Shivaji's Maratha empire.

Constructed on a sheer rock face tearing into the sky, Raigad Fort offers a commanding view of the hills on all four sides. The hill itself is 425 metres tall and has a near-flat surface of around 1,200 acres.

The approaching enemy was visible to the fort's sentries long before they could come near, making it an extremely strategic location.

Though it remained under various dynasties for nearly six centuries, Shivaji finally gained control over it in 1656 and came to stay there in 1670.

According to historians, when he first saw the place, Shivaji remarked: "This fort is formidable. All sides appear as if chiseled from a mountain of solid rock. Not even a blade of grass grows on the sheer vertical rock. This is the ideal place to house the throne."

The fort witnessed several historical moments - the coronation of Shivaji on June 6, 1674, followed by a second 'tantrik' coronation on Sep 24 that year, and finally his death on April 3, 1680.

After Shivaji's demise, the Maratha empire which he built in less than three decades crumbled and went under British control.

The glory of the Maratha empire can be gauged from the ruins and the ramparts of the Raigad Fort as the two delicately dangling cable cars zoom up the two ropeways that do not have any supporting pillars.

The entrance for the three-hour tour is from the Mena Darwaja at the fort's rear and a quick climb takes the visitor to the imposing Ranivasa, or the chambers of Shivaji's six queens.

Close by is Shivaji's own palace, and his ministerial chambers, food granaries, several natural reservoirs and two huge tanks to cater to the drinking water needs of the people who lived there. Also adjacent are the Raj Bhavan, where he used to hold his public durbars, and the Raj Sabha where he sat on a 10-tonne golden throne and was coronated in a lavish ceremony.

The commoners' entrance to the fort was through the Nagarkhana which has astounding acoustic effects even today - a whisper can be heard clearly over a distance of more than 200 metres, despite the height and windy conditions!

Outside the Nagarkhana is the venue for festivals called Holicha Mal, the temple of Shirkai Bhavani, the presiding deity of the fort, the Jagadishwar Temple, and the revered samadhi of Shivaji.

The samadhi remains in an excellent condition thanks to the initiatives of personalities like eminent freedom fighter Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak and many more after him.

The British had sounded the death knell for the legendary fort after the final battle for its control in April 1818.

The British artillery continued to pound the fort for days together and the magnificent building burned for 11 days.

The defiant Raigad Fort was finally humbled May 10, 1818.

Nearly eight decades later, in 1894, Lokmanya Tilak launched two important public festivals to bring the masses into the struggle for Independence.

They were the Ganesh festival in Pune and others parts of the state and the Shivaji Jayanti celebrations at Raigad Fort. Both became popular annual features.

With Shivaji Jayanti, hordes of Shivaji fans and others started going up the Raigad Fort, a grueling four-hour walk up. Earlier, the number of visitors used to be barely a few hundreds, which grew to a few thousands post-Independence.

Today the number of tourists here has crossed the million mark per annum thanks mainly to the ropeway, founded by an ardent devotee of Shivaji, the late V.M. Jog.

Earlier, the rugged, barren hill-top was out of bounds after dusk, but now the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation has developed over two dozen cottages which are hired out to tourists for an overnight stay.

Thus, nearly two centuries after the Raigad Fort crumbled before the might of the British, its legend has again come alive and the place has become an important destination for students, picknickers, historians and tourists alike.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at







  Bookmark and Share                                          Home | Top of the Page


Note: By posting your comments here you agree to the terms and conditions of

Comments powered by DISQUS

More Headlines

Dubai to host six international expos in January

2G Tele Spectrum Auction: Prashan Bhushan attacks Sibal

India asks Gulf countries to end sponsorship regime

Academic innovations need to be brought to market place: Sibal

Iran police confirm arrest of US woman spy suspect

Professor removes Muslim student's veil, arrested

Modern art in Kashmir reflects contemporary realities

Telangana protesters lay siege to ministers, MPs' houses

Punjab traders resume vegetable export to Pakistan

Maha Min Comm recommends withdrawal of cases against Muslim youth

Kerala's 50,000 teachers to get discounted laptops

Shoeshine man adds lustre to image of Kashmiris

Hindutva 'terror groups' threat to India: CPI-M




Top Stories

Maha Minority Commission recommends withdrawal of cases against Muslim youth

Following the confessional statement of Swami Aseemanand published by Tehelka in its latest  »

'Withdraw cases against Muslim youth detained in Malegaon blast'

Aseemanand confesses his involvement in 2006 Malegaon blast: Report

A prelude to Malegaon bomb blasts

An Inside Narrative of Nanded Blast

Malegaon Blasts: Partisan approach and biased police

Malegaon 2006 blast witness turns hostile

Was Malegaon Blast really a handiwork of Muslims?


Picture of the Day

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh addressing the Infosys awards 2010 presentation ceremony, in Mumbai on January 06, 2011.

(Photo: B M Meena)


  Most Read

NRIs on electoral rolls soon, single card for diaspora: PM

India will merge the two visa facilitation cards that are issued to people of Indian origin and soon register non-resident Indians in the electoral rolls to help them exercise  »

Telangana protesters lay siege to ministers, MPs' houses

Protests continued in Telangana for the third consecutive day Friday with protesters laying siege to the houses of state ministers, MPs and state legislators of ruling Congress and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) to demand their resignations. Leaders and activists of Telangana Rashtra Samiti  »


  News Pick

Homeless man with golden voice becomes new US hero

The US has a new rags-to-riches hero - a homeless man who has been inundated with job offers after a video of him went viral this week. Even by the warp-speed standards of the internet age, the transformation of     »

Modern art in Kashmir reflects contemporary realities

The modern art movement in Jammu and Kashmir is once again on the move after a period of stagnation during the years of insurgency. The new artistic interpretations emerging from the troubled state speak of contemporary social   »

Agatha Sangma, family escape mob fury in riot-hit Assam areas

Minister of State for Rural Development Agatha K. Sangma, her brother and Meghalaya's Leader Of Opposition Conrad K. Sangma and their father and former Lok Sabha speaker Purno A. Sangma Friday had a narrow escape  »

Kerala's 50,000 teachers to get discounted laptops

As many as 50,000 teachers in Kerala will soon be able to buy either a laptop or a netbook computer at a discounted price, according to an official. The scheme has been initiated by IT@School, the technology   »

Sibal says $40 bn spectrum loss estimate 'utterly erroneous'

Communications Minister Kapil Sibal Friday said the methodology adopted by the official auditor was "utterly erroneous" while arriving at the   »



RSS  |  Contact us

| Quick links



Subscribe to

Ummid Assistant






About us




Government Schemes











Contact us





      Disclaimer | Terms of Use | Advertise with us | Link Exchange is part of the Awaz Multimedia & Publications providing World News, News Analysis and Feature Articles on Education, Health. Politics, Technology, Sports, Entertainment, Industry etc. The articles or the views displayed on this website are for public information and in no way describe the editorial views. The users are entitled to use this site subject to the terms and conditions mentioned.

© 2010 Awaz Multimedia & Publications. All rights reserved.