Rajgad is a hill fort situated in the Pune district of Maharashtra, India. Formerly known as Murumdev, the fort was the capital of the Maratha Empire under the rule of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj for almost 26 years, after which the capital was moved to the Raigad Fort.
At a distance of 54 km from Pune, Rajgad is an ancient hill fort situated in the Pune district of Maharashtra. It is one of the top tourist places in Pune and also one of the popular places of trekking in Maharashtra.
Rajgad Fort is one of the grand forts of the Sahaydris and lies at an altitude of 1400 m (4, 600 feet). Formerly known as Murumdev, Rajgad Fort was the capital of the Maratha Empire during the rule of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj for 25 years, before moving the capital to Raigad Fort. The Rajgad Fort was built with the treasure found on the adjacent Torna Fort. This was one of the favourite forts of Shivaji Maharaj and he stayed the most in this fort. Many historical events took place in this fort, such as the birth of Shivaji's son, Rajaram Chhatrapati, his queen, Saibai's death and Afzal Khan's head is buried in the fort.
The fort is divided into four parts, Padmavati Machi, Suvela Machi, Sanjeevani Machi, and Balekilla (small fort). The fort is an example of splendid design and construction. The diameter of the fort at the base is 40 km making it difficult for anybody to lay siege to it.
Sanjeevani Machi: The three layer fortification of Sanjeevani Machi is simply a marvel and is located on the southwest end. This extends approximately for 2.5 km along with many cisterns. The lower layers of the fort were separated by fortified bastion along with gate in order to defend independently. There is also an underground escape route which leads directly to the outermost fortification.
Suvela Machi: Suvela Machi, located on the eastern part of Rajgad fort, is a narrow strip that leads to a fortified end. Before the fortifications, there is a Hanuman temple and towards the right of the hanuman temple is Nedh. Nedh is a giant hole on the rock face about 3 m in diameter carved by years of erosion.
Padmavati Machi: This part of Rajgad Fort was a military base as well as a residential area. The Padmavati Machi has a Lake, Padmavati Temple, Pali Darwaja, Chor Dwaraja, Gunjawane Darwaja, Diwankhana, Daru Kothar, Rajwada, and Ghod Tale. Besides these there is also a Samadhi of Saibai, Shivaji's first wife.
Balekilla: This site is one of the highest parts in the Fort Rajgad that includes caves, water cisterns and palaces. The entrance door of the Balekilla is called as Maha Dwaraja. From here, one can easily view the whole fort.
Rajgad is amongst the most popular trekking destinations near Pune. There are several trekking routes to reach the Fort. Trek to Padmavati Machi via Chor Darwaja is the most popular route and the trek starts from Gunjawane village. From Gunjawane the 4.5 km trek is a little bit tough and it takes almost 3 1/2 hours to reach Padmavati Machi. One needs to navigate a steep rocky incline to reach Chor Darwaza.
The trek via Pali Darwaza is a simple climb and it starts from Pali village. The 3.5 km trek from Pali should take approximately 2 hours to reach the fort. There is another route called Bhor route which starts from Bhutonde. From Bhutonde village, a 3 -4 hours trek will take visitors to Alu Darwaja of Rajgad. This route is not popular as other two routes. It is always recommended that visitors should carry their own drinking water and food.