Rajmachi Fort: The Guardian of Trade Routes (2020)
The Rajmachi Fort is in the Sahyadri hills. It played an integral part in the history and political history of the state of Maharashtra during the First Anglo-Maratha War. Today, the Rajmachi Fort is a must-visit tourist location in the Konkan area and an important visit for anyone interested in fort tourism in Maharashtra.
Tourists young and old flock to this fort all through the year. Here is all the information you need to have an excellent and memorable time at the Rajmachi Fort.
Historical Importance of Rajmachi Fort
The history of the fort dates to the Satavahana Dynasty. After being handed over from dynasty to dynasty, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj wrested control of the fort from Adilshah sometime in 1657 and increased its fortifications.
The Rajmachi Fort is between Mumbai and Pune. During the Maratha Regime, it was a point to control Bhorghat, the connecting path between Khopoli and Khandala, which was a trade passage back then. It is one of the many forts that the Maratha Kingdom lost and regained through several battles with the Mughals and the British.
Tourist Experience at Rajmachi Fort
The Rajmachi Fort is on the Shrivardhan Hills and is more than 3000 ft above the sea level. The fort structure comprises of two smaller forts, the Shrivardhan Fort, and the Manaranjan Fort.
If you are up for visiting a fort, you should be up for a trek as well. The Rajmachi Fort trek is a medium difficulty trek. The trekking experience is a pleasant one. The Rajmachi trek has some rest points from the foothills to the top of the hill; so, you can catch your breath now and then.
If you are new to visiting forts and doing treks, here is a tip. If anyone among you feels unable to carry out the trek, do not force them. Being the Eye of the Tiger seems nice only in the movies, you are putting them in grave danger by goading them on. If someone cannot do the trek, there are always some rest places at the foothills that allow them to rest until all of you can return.
Going up, you will see several waterfalls if you go during the monsoon season. Every valley comes alive during the monsoon, and so does the Sahyadri range. The valley welcomes you with lush greenery, beautiful weather, and some magnificent views; from the top as well as while you are making the trek.
On the way, you will find some locals selling local dishes and fast food, not the burgers, but the Indian version of fast food – fritters, tea, etc. The total time taken to reach the base from the main road and then to the top is around 3 hours. You need almost two hours to descend.
As you move upwards, you will see a couple of human-made water reservoirs as well as ponds. All through the trek, you will see lush greenery, and as you go up, the view below becomes all the more beautiful, with the lush valley looking like a green bowl of nature in all its finery.
It is also popular because of the splendid architecture – more beautiful than all the other forts put together – in the Konkan region. These views make it one of the must-visit place of fort tourism in Maharashtra.
Structures Inside Rajmachi Fort
Once inside, the Rajmachi Fort is proof of the grandeur and logic that the warrior clan had. Several structures inside and around the fort show a glimpse of life back then. It takes a while for the modern tourist to realize that forts were not just palaces where the kings and the queens lived, but also residential areas for ministers and other resources of the entire kingdom.
The fort was more of a village where the rich and the famous lived. Some of the forts have a total length of more than 40 KM because they comprise of the residential areas, the water reservoirs, and other structures necessary for the livelihood of the village.
Places to Visit Near Rajmachi
The area around Rajmachi is home to several tourist spots. You can visit Valvan Lake, just under 10 KM away from Lonavla. It is a picturesque tourist spot and offer spellbinding views.
Another place that you should visit is the Pawna Lake and take part in the camping activities at the lake, the closest you can come to rugged living after the strenuous trek that you have completed to and fro Rajmachi.
The Bhaja and Karla caves are nearby Rajmachi as well, and history and culture buffs must visit these places if only to marvel at the stone cuttings and the rock architecture of these caves. These caves have carvings that depict most of the instances in Lord Buddha’s life, a fascinating view.
A closer attraction to the Rajmachi Fort is the Narayani Dham Temple. One popular activity here is the firefly viewing. You can see this on the way to the Rajmachi forest if you do the trek at the end of the summer season. You can also visit Shirota Lake that is a few kilometers away from the base village for Rajmachi fort, Udhewadi. The lake has a fascinating view of the hills dwindling into the sea body, contoured by the ever-whisking clouds.
Rajmachi Fort is near Lonavla as well as Khandala, and both are tourist hotspots. Both these places have several places of interest. You should stay for at least a weekend once you reach Rajmachi. You can easily spend a day in Lonavla, and visit the various points, from where you get a great view of the valley below. The Lion’s point in Lonavla is a tourist location. In Lonavla, you must visit the Rajmachi Point, so named because it is opposite the Rajmachi Fort, and it offers a fascinating view of the fort.
How to Reach Rajmachi Fort?
The routes to Rajmachi are from Mumbai, Pune, and Lonavla. From Mumbai, you can take a train to Karjat station and take an auto to the Kondana village, the base village for Rajmachi fort.
If you plan for a road trip from Mumbai, you need to undertake a four-hour drive. From Pune, you will need to drive an almost equal distance. People coming from Pune need to take a train to Lonavla and then need to reach Udhewadi, a base village.