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Rajgad (राजगड)

 

Difficulty Level
(very easy, easy, medium, slightly tough, tough)

Slightly tough

Duration of the trek

2 days

When to visit

Anytime except summer

Nearest City / Location

Pune, Nasarapur (नसरापूर), Bhor (भोर)

Base Village

Gunjavne (गुंजवणे) at one side, Vajeghar (वाजेघर) at second side


central huge invincible citadel (बालेकिल्ला)


Sanjivani Machi (संजीवनी माची)


Suvela Machi (सुवेळा माची)
Snap taken from
Chilkhati Buruj (चिलखती बुरुज)


गडाची चोरवाट (secret route from Gunjavne (गुंजवणे))

Rajgad presents an excellent trek (I would say best of the forts) with its central huge invincible Balekilla (बालेकिल्ला) or citadel and three long huge arms at its three sides. The fort is rich and glorious with its double fortification, great architectural skills to build the paths and entrances, secret routes, various richly built water ponds and pools and remains of palaces and buildings.

There are three villages situated in the three valleys between the arms of Rajgad called as maachi (माची).  The edges and rocks of the whole fort are so steep that we wonder if there can be a way to go up.

The three arms or Machi of Rajgad are

  1. Padmavati (पद्मावती माची) – Wider with palace and few buildings. There is huge lake and two temples where night stay can be made. Chor darwaja and Pali darwaja are on this Machi.

  2. Sanjivani Machi (संजीवनी माची) – Parallel to Torna fort. This has double fortification and openings for secret routes.

  3. Suvela Machi (सुवेळा माची) – Longest arm of Rajgad with excellent fortification. Gunjavne darwaja is at the shoulder of this arm.

Rajgad has many entrances, beautifully protected.

  1. Way via Gunjavne (गुंजवणे) – This is secret route. (गडाची चोरवाट). Shorter but harder. Try this while climbing. It is fun at every stage. You climb some unexpected hills, which are two far from Rajgad and suddenly come to a steep rock patch of Padmavati Machi. The rock patch is guided with railings so not to worry. Enjoy the ride of thrill and think of how it would be if railings were not there. You will reach Chor-darwaja of the fort by this route. This route is favorite amongst the trekkers. (2 and ˝ hours)

  2. Way via Vajeghar (वाजेघर) – This is called as Raaj-Marg or official route. It is quite simple with steps at the top that will take you to Pali-darwaja (पाली दरवाजा). The official entrance beautifully constructed and hidden from the view.

  3. Way from Gunjavne darwaja – this also comes from Gunjavne village and reaches to Gunjavne-darwaja. The way is not much clear. Better take some native with you as guide. Villagers use this route regularly.

  4.  Rajgad To Torna (तोरणा) trek – This is also quite famous amongst trekkers. This takes about 5-6 hours. Leave Rajgad from Alu darwaja (अळू दरवाजा) of Sanjivani Machi and start walking towards Torna. Remember that the door on the Machi opens at the opposite side of the Torna fort and takes a U turn later. [click Rajgad-Torna trek for more details]

  5. There are many other Chor-darwaja, used by local villagers which are not much famous amongst trekkers

 


Padmavati Temple (पद्मावती मंदिर)

  1. Reach Gunjavne village from Swargate (ST at around 11.00pm from Swargate ST stand, Pune). Or you can go to Nasarapur (नसरापूर) (ST every 30 minutes) and go by 6-seater from there. Or you can get down at Sakhar (साखर) Village and walk from there to Gunjavne (2-3 km).

  2. Start climbing from Gunjavne.

  3. The way is quite surprising. It climbs 2-3 hills which are not at all related the mountain of the fort. Then it suddenly reaches the main mountain of Padmavati Machi.

  4. The path becomes tougher and tougher as you reach vertical edges of Padmavati Machi. There are railings (सळया) provided for safety at this point.

  5. The actual Chor darwaja is hidden till you reach 10 meters to it. It is small rectangular door at Padmavati Machi.

  6. Padmavati Machi is the widest area of the fort with palatial remnants, huge temples and lakes, remains of many buildings. You can stay here in Padmavati temple or any other building, which is in proper state. There are many buildings, which are restored now for trekkers to stay.

  7. Next day you can visit Balekilla (बालेकिल्ला). The way passes from the ridge between Padmavati and Suvela Machi.


Seceret escape (चोर दरवाजा) of Suvela Machi


Chilkhati Buruj (चिलखती बुरुज) of Suvela machi


Suvela Machi (सुवेळा माची) and its dooba (डूबा)


Nedhe (नेढे) (Naturally formed hole in the rocks)


Double fortification of Sanjivani Machi
(as seen from Balekilla)


Hill of Chilkhati Buruj and
Monstrous Citadel (Balekilla) of Rajgad behind that hill.
(Snap is taken from Sanjivani Machi)

  1. Every wall on Rajgad is perfect specimen of architectural skills of Shivaji’s men. Every stone here speaks some history. The fort is so great and vast that 2 days will be insufficient if you want to see each and every corner of the fort.

  2. गडांचा राजा - राजांचा गड - राजगड - The fort Rajgad served as Capital of Shivaji’s Kingdom for about 25 years from 1638 to 1674. Even after the capital was shifted to Raigad, Rajgad was still an important fort. All the major wars of Shivaji were controlled from this fort. The fort witnessed growth of Swarajya (स्वराज्य) and also the threats to it. The fort was termed as King of forts (गडांचा राजा - राजांचा गड - राजगड).

  3. Listing down the important spots on each part of the fort:

  4. Padmavati Machi (पद्मावती माची) –

  • Padmavati Talav on Padmavati Machi is the largest lake on the fort with cool drinkable water.

  • Palace (राजवाडा)

  • Darbar (सदर)

  • Daru-kothar for weapons (दारू कोठार)

  • Padmavati Temple

  • Chor darwaja (You enter from here if you come from Gunjavne village.)

  • Fortification

  • Gunjavne Darwaja

  • Tactfully hidden Royal entrance – Pali Darwaja (पाली दरवाजा) (You enter from here if you come from Vajeghar.)

  1. Suvela Machi (सुवेळा माची)

  • This is the longest machi of the fort

  • Excellent Architecture of Chilkhati Buruj (चिलखती बुरुज) (one which can bear canons)

  • Dooba (Hillok) (डूबा)

  • Nedhe (नेढे) (Naturally formed hole in the rocks) used to observe the Gunjavne side of the fort.

  1. Sanjivani machi (संजीवनी माची)

  • This one is famous for its Double fortification

  • Chilkhati Buruj (चीलखती बुरुज) (one which can bear canons)

  • View of Balekilla

  • View of Torna (तोरणा) fort – the first in Shivaji’s Kingdon called as eagle’s nest. [click Torna for more details]

  • Alu or Male Darwaja (You can go from here to Torna fort)

  • Many secret passage ways (Chor darwaja)

  • Architecture of Pali darwaja as seen from here.

  1. Balekilla (बालेकिल्ला or Citadel)

  • Tough way on vertical rocks (200 feet rock patch with railings (सळया) )

  • Architecture of hexagonal bastions of entrance

  • Huge Entrance door

  • Chandratale (चंद्रतळे) - Semicircular swimming tank

  • Palatial remnants

  • View of all Machi and Torna since this is the highest peak in the surrounding area.

  • Bastion of Shivaji’s flag (ध्वज बुरुज)

Even after listing this much, I cannot impart the greatness of this fort. See with your own eyes and you will come to know.


Chandratale (चंद्रतळे) of Balekilla


Pali darwaja (Royal Entrance of Rajgad) (पाली दरवाजा)
of Padmavati machi (
पद्मावती माची)


Alu darwaja (अळू दरवाजा) of Sanjivani Machi
to go towards Torna fort
[click Rajgad-Torna trek for more details]


 

Get down by Pali darwaja (पाली दरवाजा) since this is easier route. This route was for elephants and Palakhi / Doli/ Mena. The route will take you to the bottom from where you have to walk 1 km on tar road to Vajeghar (वाजेघर). From here you can get 6-seater of ST to Swargate easily.

To Gunjavne (गुंजवणे)

11.30am from Swargate (स्वारगेट) ST stand of Pune

To Nasarapur (नसरापूर)

Every ˝ an hour bus from Swargate (स्वारगेट) ST stand of Pune

Nasarapur (नसरापूर) to Gunjavne (गुंजवणे)

6 seaters

Time to climb 2 and ˝ hours via Gunjavne.
3 hours via Vajeghar.
(Slightly tough by Gunjavne route, Easy by Vajeghar route.)

45 minutes to climb Balekilla (Balekilla is slightly tough to climb.)

Food Available in Gunjavne and Vajeghar. Villagers bring the food up on the fort also in comparatively nominal charges. If you have stove, you can cook up on the fort too.
Drinkable Water Padmavati talaav on the fort.
Villagers sell extremely tasty buttermilk on the way and also on the fort, which must not be missed. Trekkers generally enjoy 2-3 glasses of buttermilk on every Machi.
Shelter Lot of place for trekking groups to stay. Padmavati temple, Shiv temple, Paryatak nivas etc.

               

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© 2006 Sanket Sangwikar. sanketsangwikar@gmail.com

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