Shivneri Fort


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Time Required: 2 - 3 hrs

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Shivneri Fort, Pune Overview

Shivneri Fort is the birthplace of the founder of the Maratha Empire, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. It was built in the 16th century and was recognised as a military fortification. The place is also famous for being the place where Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was trained. Its proximity from Pune, atop a hill with Junnar at its base, makes Shivneri Fort a good picnic spot for the locals. Its sheer magnificence draws a considerable number of visitors each year. Plus, there are some more attractions nearby which can be covered along with the fort in a day.

Those who are always looking for a quiet and quick escape into nature can head to Shivneri. Its terrain makes it a good trekking route too. Having said that, several history lovers are also drawn to the attraction for its historical significance. An English Traveller, Fraze, who visited Shivneri Fort in the late 17th century noticed that the fort was so well managed that it has enough supplies to feed thousands of families for about 6 to 7 years. The ancient architecture and its massive built is also worth a visit to Shivneri Fort.

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Shivneri Fort was built between mid and early-16th century over a trade route in Shivneri. Before the route was established, back in the 1st Century AD, Shivneri was majorly occupied by the Buddhists. Later on, the Devagiri and the Yadavas ruled this region. The aim of Shivneri Fort was to guard and protect the trade route that started from Desh and extended till Kalyan. In the 15th century, Shivneri was taken away from the Delhi Sultanate and handed over to the Bahmani Sultanate.

Later, the fort was taken over by the Ahmadnagar Sultanate. In the late-16th century, Bahadur Nizam Shah II, the Sultan of Ahmadnagar appointed Maloji Bhonsle as the chief of Shivneri and Chakan. Maloji Bhonsle resided at the fort along with his family and in February 1960, Shivaji Bhonsle (Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj) was born at Shivneri. His name was derived from the Shivai Temple inside the fort premises. Shivaji Bhonsle spent most of his childhood years in the fort. In 1820, the fort was acquired by the British after the Anglo-Maratha War.

Shivneri Fort is built over the Shivneri hill in Junnar. It is a 15th century building with stone masonry, massive gates, doorways and windows enclosed inside a triangle-shaped fortification. The entire structure extends over a mile on the top of the hill. It has a total of seven gates which were used to defend the fort. Out of these, two gates were used as entry gates to the Shivneri Fort. One is on the south-west side of the hill and the second is the chain route/ chain gate on the western side of the hill. The chain gate has no staircase leading to the fort. The troops would climb up the hill with the aid of a chain. Inside, the fort houses a mosque, a tomb, a prayer hall, an overhanging, a pond, and statues of young Shivaji Maharaj and his mother, Jijabai. The pond is also called Badami Talav. The premise also has two active water springs.

At Shivneri Fort, one can explore the entire premises along with the grand defending gates. Visitors get to see a mosque, a prayer hall, the Badami Talav and the water springs too. The springs are natural springs which are active all through the year. They are called Ganga and Yamuna as they were considered equally sacred. Near the pond, the statues of Shivaji Maharaj and his mother, Jijabai are installed for the visitors to pay tribute to the legends.

Another famous activity to do at Shivneri Fort is Trekking through the western slope of the hill. This portion is also called “the chain route” because, during the time of Shivaji Maharaj, his troops would climb up with the help of a chain. Now, this route is a preferred trekking route by intermediate to advanced trekkers. Several trekking groups arrange for such treks at Shivneri. One can also enrol themselves for a safer and enjoyable experience.

The region around Shivneri also have some attractions that travellers can explore. Some of them are Malshej Ghat, Lenyadri Caves, Junnar Fort, Pimpalgaon Joga Dam, Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope etc. If a plan is charted carefully, one might be able to cover most of these attractions in a day or so.

Shivneri Fort is located approximately 101 kilometres from Pune. The best way to reach the attraction is to reach Pune by state transport, railways or airways and then take a cab till Junnar which is a city located at the base of the Shivneri Hill. Intercity/ rental cabs are easily available in Pune but one can also take a bus or drive themselves to reach Junnar.

From Pune Airport, Shivneri is about 94 kilometres. The route leading to Junnar from the airport goes through Vishrantwadi Lohegaon Road – Alandi Road – St. Dnyaneshwar Maharaj Marg – SH 58 – Alandi Road – Alandi Karoli Road – Chakan Alandi Road – SH 52/ SH 111 – Shivneri Road. The base of Shivneri Hill is about a kilometre ahead. The climb up to the fort from the base is another 3 kilometres.

Those reaching Pune by railways or state transport buses would disembark at Pune Railway Junction or Pune Station Bus Stand. Both these points are located a little under a kilometre away from each other. So, it requires travellers to travel a distance of 96 kilometres approximately from the bus stand or the railway station to reach Shivneri.

The route leading to the base of the fort in Junnar goes via Sanjay Gandhi Road – Sadhu Vaswani Chowk – Raja Bahadur Motilal Chowk – Bund Garden Road – SH 60 – B E G Road – Deccan College Road – Alandi Road - St. Dnyaneshwar Maharaj Marg – SH 58 – Alandi Karoli Road – Chakan Alandi Road – NH 60 - SH 111/ SH 52 – Shivneri Road.  From here, travellers need to travel further for a kilometre to reach the foothill. From there, one may choose to climb the stairway or trek a distance of 3 kilometres to reach the fort.

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