Must Visit

Rajmachi Fort, Rajmachi

3.5 / 5 59 votes


Weather:

Time Required: 2-3 hrs

Timings:

9:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Entry Fee:

No entry fee
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Rajmachi Fort, Rajmachi Overview

Rajmachi Fort is a very famous attraction known for its ancient remains and strategic location. It lies at a distance of 15 kilometres from the hill stations of Khandala and Lonavala. It comprises of two fortresses namely Shrivardhan and Manaranjan and is surrounded by a vast plateau and can easily spot the Bor Ghat which was a significant trade route between Mumbai and Pune. The Rajmachi fort, also known as 'Bale Killa', is constructed on top of the Shrivardhan Peak at the height of about 3000 feet to keep an eye on the activities taking place in the Konkan Area and now gives an amazing view to the tourists in mid-air. Rajmachi is one of the many historical forts located amidst the Sahyadri mountains, and it is a popular destination amongst nature lovers and tourists for trekking.

Fort Rajmachi is one of the many historical forts in the Sahyadri hills. It is a unique fort with 2 twin fortresses, with abundant natural beauty in its surroundings. All historical forts in the Sahyadri hills, including Rajmachi, are icons of great deeds. Besides the fortress, the Rajmachi fort has numerous temples too, some of which existed there even before the fort was built. The temple of Kal Bhairava, a local deity lies between the two forts. There are some ancient Buddhist caves too which are present on the western side of the Rajmachi plateau which was carved a long time back, probably the 200 BC.

Location wise, this pathway between Khopoli and Khandala also known as 'Borghat' was an important trade route in the past. Trekking which originates from Tungarli Lake is an exciting way to reach the fort. It lies on the Shrivardhan and Manaranjan Peaks on top of the Western Ghats. A small plateau which connects the Shrivardhan Peak and Manaranjan Peak lie between them. Rajmachi Fort is endowed with an amazing natural beauty of deep valleys and green forests. 

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The mighty fort was built by the Satavahanas who established their kingdom soon after the Mauryan Dynasty came to an end and ruled the kingdom till 230 BC. This kingdom started getting recognized when it was taken over by Shivaji Maharaj in 1657 from the ruler of Bijapur, Adil Shah. Under the rule of Shivaji, the Rajmachi fort was made defensive and a few structures were added for battalion purpose. It was under the rule of the Mughals from 1704 to 1705 before the Marathas gained control after their fight with Aurangzeb. After the Marathas, the fort was taken over by the British when the Maratha Kingdom declined in the 19th century. Soon after independence, magnificent the fort was announced as an ancient and protected monument in Maharashtra.

The forts have an eventful history and a brilliant architecture because of which they have been recognized all over. The Buddhist caves dedicated to the local deity are situated on the Western side of the Rajmachi plateau and were carved during 200 BC.  

The Rajmachi Fort has a brilliant architecture and comprises of vast and robust walls, gigantic gateways, residential units, administrative centres, water reservoirs and some secret gateways which were used for exiting purpose at that time. The fort is built upon two hill stretches namely Shrivardhan Hill and Manaranjan Hill. Shrivardhan Fort and Manaranjan Fort inside the Rajmachi Fort have been constructed in a traditional Indian style. It is a stone marvel. Inside the forts are a few ruined complexes. Since the area is considered as a heavy monsoon area, it has a number of man-made as well as natural water catchment areas. Some manmade lakes have been built in the area for the summers. A famous temple known as Kal Bhairavi Temple too has been established here which is decorated beautifully on auspicious occasions.  

The various functionaries and officers in the military and administrative set-up for Rajmachi region under the Maratha rule resided at Rajmachi till the British defeated the Peshwa in the year 1818. Ruins of their big residential houses are found in the forest on the south side of the hamlet Udhewadi. A big water reservoir constructed about 200 years ago is situated further down from the forest mentioned above. A carved stone plate in the wall of the water reservoir indicates that it was built by Ramrav Narayanrav Deshmukh, Mamlatdar of Danda Rajpuri (near Murud Janjira in Raigad District). An ancient Shiva temple, built in Hemdpanti style, is situated on the western side of the water reservoir. A large amount of silt coming in the stormwater from the high land behind was deposited around the Shiva temple. The inhabitants of Udhewadi have now cleared the silt. A fountain in the shape of cow-head and a water tank in the front of the temple have been discovered.

The months from June to September is the best time to visit Rajmachi since the monsoon season here greets you with water springs and greenery all over as you keep climbing the fort. Although it is a beautiful place which can be enjoyed throughout the year, the silvery flowing streams, lush green forests & meadows and the misty clouds make the rainy season the best time to visit the Rajmachi Fort.

Noon to evening is considered to be an ideal time to visit the fort with full visibility. It becomes comparatively difficult to drive during the night.

Local residents of Udhewadi on Fort Rajmachi provide homestay facility to visitors at moderate prices. Their homes are simple village houses. They do not have separate rooms for guests. Tourists are accommodated in common area of the house. Simple mattresses are provided for sleeping. However, the other bed linen (a chaddar, shawl, etc.) should be carried by tourists.

Most of the houses have washrooms (toilets). However, washroom can be used in rainy season only when the water supply is not a problem. In dry season from mid-October to the first week of June, adequate water for washroom is not available and hence washroom cannot be used.

Udhewadi does not have the conventional electricity supply. Villagers use limited solar power for lighting lamps during night time. Villagers serve to guests simple but tasty homely food (tea, breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc.). In case tourists require non-veg lunch/dinner, the hosts serve eggs and chicken, for which an order has to be placed at least 3, 4 days prior to the date of visit.

On Saturdays, Sundays and other important holidays, local people put up small shops on way to Udhewadi, for selling mineral water, cool drinks, sharbat, eatables like eggs, potato vada, maggi, etc.

Cell phone connectivity is weak and not dependable at Udhewadi. However, on top of the Rajmachi fort, cell phones with sim cards of Idea, Vodaphone and Jio can be used.

There are two approaches to Fort Rajmachi,
(a) from Lonavala and Khandala and
(b) from Kondhane village in Karjat Taluka of Raigad District.

Lonavala - Rajmachi distance is 15 km and it is almost a plain walk, though there are a few ups and downs on this path. It takes about three and a half hour to cover the distance on foot. Lonavala is located on the Mumbai-Pune route of Central Railway and Mumbai-Pune National Highway No.4, in Maharashtra.

From Kondhane village, it is a steep climb up to Rajmachi. An experienced trekker takes about two and a half hour to climb up on this route. Kondhane village is situated at a distance of about 12 km from Karjat, a railway station on the Mumbai-Pune route of Central Railway. Kondhane village is connected with an all-weather road from Karjat. Kondhane village can be reached by road from Mumbai via, Panvel, Chauk, Karjat. From Pune, the road to Kondhane village is via Lonavala, Khopoli, Hal Phata, Karjat.

During dry season after rains, i.e. from November to May, a strong utility vehicle like Tata Sumo, Mahindra Bolero, Qualis, etc. can be taken right up to Udhewdi (Fort Rajmachi). The route is via Khandala, Kune village, Della Adventure Resort, Patel Dam and Phanasrai. The initial section of this route up to Della Adventure Resort is a good road, The further portion of this route is a very rough track and therefore not fit for driving ordinary passenger cars like Maruti 800, Wagon R, Indica, Swift, etc.

During the rainy season, a 4-wheeler cannot be taken right up to Udhewadi (Rajmachi). However, a strong utility vehicle like Tata Sumo, Mahindra Bolero, Qualis, etc. can be taken up to Jambhali Phata on the way to Rajmachi. From Jambhali Phata, the remaining distance up to Udhewadi (Rajmachi) is 05 km., a walk of 1 hour.

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