Vishalgad Fort: The Escape Route for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj (2023)
Vishalgad fort, in Kolhapur, holds historical importance to the Maharashtra because of several reasons. It is a favorite of the trekkers and the urban crowd throngs here to experience the rural life. If you intend to visit the Vishalgad fort, read this article first.
Historical Importance of Vishalgad Fort:
Vishalgad fort was the venue for the battle between Baji Prabhu and Siddi Masud. It was also the location that Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj escaped to when he was under attack from the Siddhis. The Siddhis found out that Shivaji was at the Vishalgad fort and attacked it. He made his escape and reached the Panhala Fort. Baji Prabhu and 300 soldiers fought against the Siddhis. Because of this, Vishalgad fort becomes an unmissable part of the fort tourism in Maharashtra.
Structures Inside the Vishalgad Fort
Near the Vishalgad fort, you have the Hazrat Malik Rehan Mira Saheb Dargah. The road leading to the dargah has a thriving market, so you can buy whatever you think you will need for your tour to the Fort.
Vishalgad Fort, like every other in the Maharashtra, has several temples, dilapidated structures, and the remnants of royalty.
When you enter the Vishalgad Fort, you see an old Hanuman Temple, which now has contemporary additions, allowing devotees to take the blessings of the Lord Hanuman. You will also see the remnants of a Shiva Temple. Again, contemporary construction makes it possible for devotees to pray here. The temple area has several wall carvings in its vicinity, the last remnants of the original architecture of the Vishalgad Fort.
Along the way, you will see a Ganesh temple as well. Even this temple is a contemporary building, though the idol looks old. At one of the gates, you will see a contemporary structure, a row of small rooms. There is no clarity about the need or role of these rooms.
Tourist Experience of Vishalgad Fort
The Vishalgad fort is small, and you can explore it quickly. There are very few structures of historical importance standing. Also, Vishalgad Fort has a village on one side. You do not feel that you are away from the humdrum of everyday life. The top of the Vishalgad Fort gives you a mesmerizing view of the Sahyadri, so you can spend some time gazing at the valley below.
Vishalgad fort is one of the few in the Maharashtra area that offer a great opportunity for drivers as well, as you can drive up to the base of the fort on a bike or a car. The road to the village is scenic and you can take multiple stops to view the nearby lush greenery. During the monsoon season, the area has a couple of waterfalls, making for a great experience.
The authorities are looking after the Fort well, even if tourists have defaced it with graffiti. The fortifications and the walls of Vishalgad Fort are strong enough, though one of the entry doors is ruined. There is a staircase path leading to the fort, making it easier to access for anyone.
The best time to visit Vishalgad is the monsoon season. Though it is not much of a trek, the breathtaking scenario from the top of the fort becomes more beautiful during the monsoon season.
All said and done, the visit to Vishalgad Fort is unlike any other fort in Maharashtra. It is not in the middle of the city like the ones in Mumbai. It is not even away from civilization like the Torna and other forts. There is some criticism about the major contemporary buildings that the locals are encroaching into the fort premises. However, there’s not much left of the fort, apart from the bastions and some structures.
Places To Visit Near Vishalgad Fort
Vishalgad fort is on the outskirts of Kolhapur, one of the most popular places in Maharashtra because of its religious and historical importance. Here are some destinations that are close to Vishalgad fort that you can visit:
About two hours from the Vishalgad fort is the Rankala Lake. The lake is a favorite getaway for the locals, and you will see several shops and eateries offering the local cuisine and quick bites. The lake is also an excellent location to take in the calmness of the Konkan area.
Dajipur Wildlife Sanctuary
If you are up for a four-hour drive, you can go straight to the Dajipur Wildlife Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is home to nature, and several animals, plants, insects, and birds call it home. If you are visiting Vishalgad fort, you could couple a visit to the Dajipur Wildlife Sanctuary and the fort on the same day.
The Bhavani Mandap is two hours away from the Vishalgad Fort and a popular tourist location. Every day, tourists from all over visit the temple. It offers a calming and spiritually enriching experience.
How to Reach Vishalgad Fort?
Vishalgad Fort is on the outskirts of Kolhapur. Kolhapur is well connected to Mumbai and Pune. You can either take a bus, train, or decide on a road trip from Mumbai or Pune to Kolhapur. The bus ride from Mumbai to Kolhapur is about seven hours. The bus ride from Pune to Kolhapur is about four hours. The train ride from Pune to Kolhapur is under three hours.