Pratapgad

Pratapgad Fort is a mountain fort built by Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The fort is at a distance of 24 km from the hill station of Mahabaleshwar. The fort holds a sturdy view of coastal Konkan. The Bhavani Temple and Afzal Khan’s tomb are other places of interest.Pratapgad consists of two forts – an upper fort built on the top of the hill and a lower fort immediately below on the south and the east. Surrounding areas can be easily taken guard from the fort on almost all the sides. The southern side is rocky while the eastern side has a strong outwork ending in the Afzal Buruj.

The famous minister More Tirmal Pingale on the command of Shivaji Maharaj to control the rebellious satraps of the surrounding Javali Basin built Pratapgad Fort in 1656. It is believed that Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaja was blessed with a shining sword at the temple of Goddess Bhavani here.The historic battle between Chatrapati Shivaji and Afzal Khan, the commander of the Bijapur Sultanate fought here. Bhavani Temple and Afzal Khan’s Tomb are major attractions where are situated near the fort.

As per the historians, the Maratha king Shivaji Maharaj had commissioned Moropant Trimbak Pingle, his then prime minister, to commence the building of this fort for the purpose of defending Nira and the Koyna rivers’ banks, and also to guard the Par pass. Finally the construction of the fortress was finished in 1656. Also, the Battle of Pratapgad was fought between Shivaji and Afzal Khan on November 10, 1659 below the unbridled area of this fort. This was certainly the first most important test of the fledgling kingdom’s defence force, and it laid the foundation brick for the rise of the Maratha Empire.

Pratapgad Fort is divided into 2 parts namely the lower fort and upper fort. The upper fort was constructed upon the crest of a hill and is approximately 180 m long on each of its sides having numerous permanent edifices. There is a shrine of Lord Mahadev, positioned towards the northwest portion of the fort, bordered by cliffs of height above 250 m. On the other hand, the lower fort is sited at the southeast end of the fort, being defended by tall towers and strongholds which are 10-12 metre high.