Rajgad (literally meaning Royal Fort) is one of the forts in the Pune district of Maharashtra state in India. The fort is 1318 meters above sea level. Formerly known as Murumdev, it was capital of the Maratha Empire during the rule of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj for almost 26 years, after which he moved the capital to Raigad Fort. Treasure found at an adjacent fort was used to fortify this hill. The diameter of the fort at the base is 40 km making it difficult for anybody to lay siege to it, adding to its strategic value.
The fort is located 12 km to the south west of Pune, about 15–16 km west of Nasrapur, in the Sahyadris range. The highest part of the fort has remains of palaces, water cisterns and caves. The main entrance door is known as the Mahadarwaja. This fort is built on the hill called Murumbadevi Dongar (Mountain of the Goddess Murumba). Rajgad boasts of the highest number of days stayed by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj on any fort.
The fort has witnessed lots of historic events, including the birth of Shivaji's son Rajaram, 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 Ballekilla, the strict words of Sonopant Dabir to Shivaji, and the Khandoji Khopade episode.
This fort was also one of the 12 forts that Shivaji kept when he signed the Treaty of Purandar (1665) with the Rajput king Jai Singh in 1665 who was leading the Mughal forces. 22 other forts were handed over to the Mughals under this treaty.
List of chronological events:
A.D 1490: Ahmed Bahiri Nijamshah captured the fort.
A.D 1626: During the Nizam's last struggle, Adilshah captured the fort.
A.D 1630: Due to Shahajiraje, fort was again captured by Nizamshahi.
A.D 1642: This fort was included in Shahajiraje's jagir.
A.D 1647: Shivaji captured the fort
A.D 1649: Repairs on the fort were started and Shamrao Neelkanth Ranzekar was appointed as Peshwa
A.D 1654: Construction on new fortifications and other buildings was started. The fort renamed as 'Rajgad'.
A.D 14 January 1658: After conquering North Konkan, Shivaji returned to Rajgad.
A.D 11 July 1659: To fight Afzalkhan, Shivaji shifted to Pratapgad.
A.D 5 September 1659: Saibai's (Shivaji's wife) died while on the fort.
A.D July 1660: Shivaji escaped from Siddi Jouhar's siege of Panhala and came to Rajgad.
A.D July 1661: The idol of Bhavanimata, which was to be established in Pratapgad, was first brought to Rajgad to be inspected by Jijabai.
A.D January 1662: The construction of the fort was completed and Shivaji returned to the fort after capturing Pen and Kalyan.
A.D February 1664: The booty of Surat was brought to Rajgad.
A.D 30 April 1665: The unsuccessful attack of the Mughals on the fort.
A.D June 1665: Shivaji Maharaj's letter of accepting defeat was sent to Jaisingh.
A.D 24 February 1670: Rajaram was born on the fort.
A.D 1671: The repairing of the fort began at an expected cost of 10,000 hons.
A.D June 1689: After the murder of Sambahji, the fort was captured by the Mughals.
A.D 1692: Shankarji Narayan captured the fort from the Mughals.
A.D 1697: Rajaram returned to Maharashtra, and made Rajgad his new capital.
A.D 4 August 1701: Shahaji Mohite was given the havaldari of Padmavati machi.
A.D 18 February 1704: Aurangzeb was given the fort as part of a treaty the fort was renamed to 'Nabishahagad'. Santaji Shilimkar and Sidoji Thopte were killed here by Aurangzeb.
A.D 29 May 1707: Gunaji Sawant captured the fort and The Maratha War of Independence ended.
A.D 1709: Chhattrapati Shahu made provisions for the repairs of the fort.
A.D 1818: Rajgad passed into the hands of the British.
This fort is a significant site for trekkers and adventurous tourists to visit. Specially after the monsoon, this place becomes one of most sought after trekking destinations for trekkers from the Pune and Mumbai area. As it's a huge fort, exploring all the sights and spots on the fort becomes difficult in one day. So many people prefer an overnight stay on the fort to get ample time to explore all the part of the fort. The Padmavati temple on the fort can accommodate around 50 people. Water tanks provide freshwater all throughout the year. Nowadays, villagers from the foothills of Rajgad sell useful stuff to the tourists who are there for an overnight stay.
One can climb the fort from numerous route from villages at the base of Rajgad, namely Gunjavne (Gunjavne Darwaja or Chor Darwaja both on Padmavati Machee, and a tough route to Chor Darwaja near Nedhe on Suvela Machi). Pali Darwaja is historically the main and easier route. The route for Pali Darwaja is from Wajeghar-Pali. From Chirmudi (Chor Darwaja on Padmavati Machee), the route meets corresponding route from Gunjavne); Bhutunde (Alu Darwaja on Sanjeevani Machee via Dhanghar Vada); and Male (Chor Darwaja on Kaleshwari Buruj, Suvela Machee). Another route from Budhla Machee of Torna comes through a connecting ridge to Alu Darwaja on Sanjeevani Machi.