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Sinhagad Fort, Pune Overview

Located in the Sahyadri Mountains, Sinhagad Fort is an ancient fortress known for its historical significance and architecture. It was once known as Kondhana and has witnessed a number of battles; one notable battle being the 1670 Battle of Sinhagad. The name, “Sinhagad”, literally means Lion’s Fort signifying its strength and brilliance. Today, the structure is a perfect landmark for trekkers as it is located at a height of over 750 metres in the Sahyadri Mountains. In fact, the fort is strategically built right in the centre of the line of Maratha forts built in the Sahyadris. Some of these citadels are the Rajgad Fort, Torna Fort and the Purandar Fort. The place is also famous among photographers and nature lovers.

 Sinhagad Fort and its surroundings mostly provide a good environment for a quick getaway. People living nearby often head to the attraction over the weekend. Back in the time, renowned personalities like Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi have also visited the fort for meetings and holidays. The mountain also serves as a great location for training of the National Defence Academy Students. They hike up the hill till the fort in complete battle gear. Due to its historical and cultural significance, there are restrictions on partying, cooking/ consuming non-vegetarian food, alcohol etc. Nonetheless, one is bound to have a great time if they avoid these activities and soak in the dilapidated yet striking structure and the scenic surroundings.

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History of Sinhagad Fort, Pune

 

Sinhagad Fort is believed to be a 2000-year-old structure which was initially known as Kondhana (named after sage Kaundinya). The presence of the Kaundinyeshwar Temple and some carvings on the caves denote this possibility. Till the early 14th century, the fort was ruled by Nag Naik who was a Koli King. But, in 1328, it was captured by Muhammad bin Tughlaq. Later on, when Pune was handed over to Shahaji Bhosale managed the fort. Shahaji served as a commander for Ibrahim Adil Shah I during the time.

Shivaji, Shahaji’s son, initiated Swarajya around the same time and refused to serve Adil Shah. In an attempt to gain control of Kondhana, in 1647, he convinced an Adilshahi Sardar, Siddi Amber, that he would manage and safeguard the fort optimally. But instead, he took over the fort. Adil Shah imprisoned Siddi Amber and Shivaji’s father, Shahaji Bhosale. He later traded Shahaji’s release in return of the fort in 1649. However, Shivaji captured it again in 1656 with the help of Bapuji Mudgal Deshpande, his General.

The Mughals also attacked the fort between 1662 and 1665 in order to acquire it. In 1665, the Treaty of Purandar was signed between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Jai Singh I and the fort were handed over to Jai Singh. But, once again, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj conquered it immediately after and managed it till 1689. After Sambhaji Bhosale’s passing, the Mughals took over. However, in 1693,  the Marathas won it again and in 1703, it was conquered by Aurangzeb. 1706 onwards, till 1818, it was again under the Marathas and then taken over by the British.

Architecture of Sinhagad Fort, Pune

Sinhagad Fort is built on a plateau on top of the Sahyadri mountains. The slopes of the mountains are steep and provided better defence against intruders. The historic structure is located over 1300 metres above sea level and around 750 metres above the base of the mountain. What remains of the fort today are the ancient stone stairways that lead to one of the two entry gates, some strategically placed bastions and the walls that enclose the massive structure.

The two entry gates are the Pune and Kalyan Darwaza which are located to the north-east and south-east sides of Sinhagad Fort respectively. The fort also houses a temple dedicated to Goddess Kali, a brewery, some military sheds and the tombs of Rajaram Chhatrapati and Tanaji Malusare. A 350-year-old memorial of Tanaji Malusare that was discovered buried somewhere inside the fort premises and restored also has a place inside the fort premises.

Sinhagad Fort Trek and Other Activities

Other than sightseeing, trekking is a popular activity at Sinhagad Fort. Thrill seekers would find the steep slopes of the hill completely exhilarating to climb. Several beginner and intermediate level trekkers from around Pune head to Sinhagad Fort for an early morning trek. Those coming to explore the attraction can either opt to drive till the entrance and then walk to the Pune Darwaza or park their vehicles at the foothills and climb the steep slopes or take the stairways.

Sinhagad Fort is also famous for the Maharashtrian food. Locals living nearby open up their shacks every morning and serve limited but delicious dishes that keep drawing visitors to the attraction every weekend. So, after a complete hike through the mountains or after exploring the Sinhagad Fort, one can stop by at one of these shacks to relish some Pithla Bhakari/ Zunka Bhakari, Bhaji (pakodas/ fritters), Dahi (curd), Taak (buttermilk), lemonade, local fruits, etc.

How To Reach Sinhagad Fort

At the base of the Sinhagad Fort is Donje Village which is located about 35 kilometres away from the centre of Pune city. From points like the Pune Junction Railway Station, Pune Station Bus Stand and Pune airport, Sinhagad is located about 34, 35 and 45 kilometres away respectively.

From Pune Junction Railway Station and Pune Station Bus Stand, the route leading to Sinhagad Fort goes via Sanjay Gandhi Road and Sadhu Vaswani Road. Whereas, from Pune Airport, travellers would need to follow the route via Vishrantwadi Lohegaon Road.

Within the city, travellers can use public transport (city buses, auto rickshaws, OLA or Uber cabs) according to their convenience. Those who prefer driving their own vehicles can reach Donje Village and look for a safe parking spot at the base of Sinhagad Fort. From there, they can trek through the steep slopes or climb the stairs. From the base, one can also take a shared taxi ride till the entrance of the fort.

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