Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaja, a leader who fought against rulers, not religion, is one of the greatest warriors born on 19th February 1630 in the Maratha Clan. Originally named Shivaji Bhonsle, this Maratha emperor is known for his noble qualities such as great administrative skills, incredible knowledge, and simplicity.
During his reign from 1674 to 1680, Shivaji had revived many political and judicial practices and conquered many magnanimous structures that are now the treasure of India.
Right from the Shivneri fort where he was born to the Raigad fort where he took his last breath, all the architectural marvels conquered by Chhatrapati are visual treats as well.
There are 360 such forts under his control during the Maratha Empire. Here are the major ones lying at the Konkan Coast, Western Ghats, and serene beauty of Maharashtra.
Shivaji was 16 when he had worn the royal crown and the first fort he captured as a king was Pune’s, Torna Fort. It was built in the 13th century and lies on the highest hill of Maharashtra. Shivaji renamed it Prachandagad after gaining control over it.
Under his rule, several towers and monuments were built on the foothills of the fort. In the 18th century, the fort was again renamed but this time it was Mughal emperor Aurangzeb who changed Prachandagad to Futulgaib after assassinating Sambhaji Maharaj in the battle.
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A memorable place for Shivaji is this 17th-century fort where he had to spend his entire childhood. There’s a small temple, Badami talav, statues of Shivaji’s mother Jijabai, and a side entrance called Chain Gate in the fort.
Buddhist rock-cut caves, water springs, incredible architecture, and side views from this fort are the tourist attractions. Very few also know that Shivaji was named after the Shivai Devi situated inside the fort. It is now a protected monument open for tourists.
India got the first-ever navy under Maratha’s reign to counter the foreign invasion on the coast of Maharashtra. Several forts were built in the 17th century to safeguard the coasts for this purpose, Sindhudurg was one of those. The 48 acres, 3 km long, and 30 feet high fort was built on the Khurte island.
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It’s a must-visit fort for any history enthusiasts as the fort preserves the footprints of Shivaji Maharaja.
One fort that preserves some of the most defining moments of history is Rajgad fort also known as Murumdev. Shivaji had spent 26 years here and fought several battles with Afzal Khan from the fort. Afzal lost to Shivaji during the battle and his head was buried here.
Events like the birth of Rajaram, son of Shivaji, and the death of Maharani Saibai, wife of Shivaji make Rajgad fort a memorable monument.
It was a location of strategic and trade importance for Marathas as all the treasure looted was stored here. Lohagad was, however, not only conquered by Marathas but Mughals, Brahmins, Nizams, Chalukyas, and Peshwas, had also ruled over it.
These were the 5 major forts associated with the life of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaja. Vijaydurg, Panhala, Murud Janjira, Sinhagad, and many more are also the prominent forts symbolizing the tactical governance and victories of Marathas.