Rajgad – as the name suggests is the place of the royalty. The great Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj ruled the fort for more than 26 years in the 17th century. Though the fort wasn’t built by him but he contributed to the several structures which are surprisingly intact even today!
Understanding the fort plan
There are basically 4 main structures :-
- Sanjeevani Machi: This machi runs for about 2.5 km and it is similar to Suvela Machi. It has fortified walls, bastion and water cisterns.
- Suvela Machi: It is a double walled fortification strip that leads to one end of the fort. On the way to the Machi is a Hanuman temple and if you walk further you reach the bastion – Chikhati Buruj; it gives a 360 view of the place. There is a giant hole on the rock which they say is carved by years of erosion – Nedh. It is great to see water conversation technique at such altitudes made possible by digging a deep trench between the two fortification walls.
- Padmavati Machi: This is flat portion on the fort so it was used as military base as well as a residential area. It has a lake, several temples – Padmavati and Rameshwar and the doors of entering the fort – Pali Darwaja, Chor Dwaraja, Gunjawane Darwaja. Besides these there is also a samadhi of Saibai, Shivaji’s first wife.
- Balekilla: The highest portion on that image is the Balekilla, the crown of Rajgad. From here, one can not see view the whole fort but the surrounding forts(Torna, Purandar, Sinhagad) as well. The view is so picturesque from here that you will not want to go back.
Ways to reach
1. Pali Darwaza route – This route is the longest conventional route of all, it can take upto 2-3 hours to reach to the Darwaza. However, it is the easiest one and most of the trekkers prefer to take this one.
2. Gunwane route – This route is for seasoned trekkers and it goes via Chor Darwaza to Padmavati Machi.
3. Torna Fort route – There is a route that connects Torna fort and Rajgad. It goes via Sanjeevani machi. By all means, this doesn’t seem like a conventional route so in my opinion, this is for pro trekkers who want to enough stamina and equipment to switch from one huge fort to the other.
Tips for Trekkers
1. Make sure to carry enough water with you – there are no stalls/vendors especially during the night.
2. You wont be able to go around the fort in a day so it is suggested you stay in a tent which are arranged on the Padmavati machi. It can accommodate 50 people.
3. There are monkeys who are learned to unchain your bag and take your stuff out, so make sure to be alert especially near Balekilla.
I have shared a more detailed trek experience here.