Part - 2
‘Raigad’ the name is enough for one to take you back in the pages of our history…
The scent of our history is still there in the stones of this fort….
The mud here gives us cold shivers when we think about the battles…
The breeze which flows here brings the entire scene of our history in front of our eyes…
This is the best destination for one who loves traveling and being with nature. Though it is called by many names like Nandadeep, Tanap, Rashivata, Badenur, Islamgad, Rairi and so on…
“Raigad” this one word is enough to bring chills in someone’s body.
OUR JOURNEY TOWARDS MAHADARWAJA
Our adventurous journey on this fort started which was a symbol of brilliant architecture and ancient history. This fort reminds me of my king and his kindness. It reminds me how people used to enjoy being under his shadow and how he was known for his kingship. On my every step I felt like I am turning pages of our history and reading it out loudly so that all can hear me out clearly. In between we ran into few people who were interested to know where we came from. As soon as they got to know that we headed from Torona they were astonished and started appreciating us. Honestly, we were not in a good state as anyone can imagine how a person looks after the 3 days trek. As we moved ahead we were able to see Mahadarwaja (Main gate) and our legs automatically started moving towards it. Our energy level went 2 times up and we speeded up. I felt like my mind was controlling my whole body and I was just flowing in the air which leaded me to the main gate.(Maha dharwaja). Its construction was so pure and unique that we were not able to control ourselves to think about how it was made and we bowed in front of it. The fort was created by keeping war situations in mind with a view that when people enter through the gate, the road becomes steep. Only a small bid of three to four people can come at once so even if the enemy comes in million of tones, it will not be possible for them to come together at once as we can easily stop them and have a control over the situation.
HATTI TALAW (ELEPHANT’S LAKE)
And just by walking up straight there came an Elephant lake which grabbed my attention. Earlier it used to be two Elephants at Maharaja’s time. People say when British officers came to the coronation of Maharaja; one of them asked him that how it was possible to bring such huge elephants up when it’s difficult for a normal person to climb such a dangerous fort.
Honestly, Raigad is a place where even the wind cannot penetrate like an eagle’s nest or the ant can exit easily. Such a lofty and magnificent this fort is. When Shahaji Maharaj was young he brought the elephants to the fort. They were grown old together here and the lake was probably used for them.
We reached to ‘Shirkai Devi’. We thought of staying back at the fort as it was already too dark outside. So with a view to see rest of the fort in the morning we decided to rest and have our dinner in the fort. But my fickle heart took me to see the city hall and the palace without waiting for the sun to rise.
Not many know that the Maharaja had chosen another hill before building the fort here. But he found a glass bangle over there which made him to look for another hill to build Raigad. It is said that he did not refuse to build the fort there because of some superstition but he thought if normal people like a women can come here then even rivals can get on to this fort easily and due to which he chose this place over that one to build king of all forts – ‘Raigad’ here. The best part of the fort is even today no matter how softly you speak, you can hear your voice clearly on the place where the throne is, which made me more curious to know about the story behind building this empire.
RANI VASA AND PALKHI DARWAJA
Exactly at the back of the court there was Maharaja’s palace and on the other side of it was place where queens used to stay. Each queen had their separate room and the attractive part of it was one can see twilight clearly from each room. There’s no doubt about why people prefer this place for hiking to get closer to our nature.
Such beautiful arrangement was made for queen’s rooms. One can experience amazing sunsets from here. Also there were special rooms for queen’s maids. On the backside a different door and pavement was created for the royal ladies of the fort to enter. As the palkhi’s of Queens used to pass through the door, it was named as ‘Palkhi Darwaza’. On the right, there was the granary and on the same side there was the palace of Ashtapradhan.
GUPT KHANA (SECRET ROOM)
On the left side is a power pole, under the king’s palace which used to be a secret room for meetings. Alongside we can see Ganga Sagar Lake near to it.
It is named as’ Gangasagar’ because this huge artificial lake was made from the water of Panch Ganga for the coronation ceremony of Shivaji Maharaj. It is now used for drinking water. As the sunset was on head we thought of calling it a day while looking at the sundown and experiencing beauty of our nature, we sat there and had our dinner. What a pleasant experience we had that time.
I saw an old man there and asked him what made him come here at this time. He said – ‘’ We have came here for tomorrow so that we can worship our god – Lord Shivaji Maharaj as the sunrise. I would like to express my gratitude to those old mans and Sahyadri’s organization for worshiping my king’s Samadi every morning.
It was fourth day; we started our trail towards Maharaja’s Samadhi at dawn. We reached there at 7 in the morning. I wanted to start my day from this place. Interesting part of this temple is it was build in such a way that sun’s first ray falls on the Pindi of Mahadev, and I was going to see it live today. It says that Maharaja was a big believer of Lord Shiva so he built this temple to take Lord Jagdishwara’s blessing everyday by first visiting here before starting his day.
I and my friend Abhinav we both reached here together for the sight of Jagdishwara. If you are looking for pure spiritual retreat you must visit this place. We sat here to see the sun’s first light. Till now I just heard that this place have some magic but now I truly believe that this place is heaven. As the sun rose we saw Jadishwara and Surya Deva spreading their love and divine power everywhere.
After spending some time at Jagdishwara’s temple, we came to the Maharaja’s Samadhi and decided to take a break for a moment. While gazing at Samadhi my eyes started watering because until now I just heard about my king and read about him in books but today I am in front of his idol and there I bowed down in respect. This moment is going to be in my memory lifelong.
Behind the Samadhi we can see the dog on a pedestal. They say that his name was ‘Waghya’ he was a loyal friend of his master who committed suicide by jumping into the funeral pyre when Shivaji Maharaj was cremated.
At last we went to Takmak Toka. The ending point of this place is the best spot of Raigad and Sahyadri Valley as it gives us a breathtaking view with heart wining wind blowing around. The story that we discovered about this place after coming here is very different and I personally never heard it before. Many people say that this place was build to punish prisoners and traitors by pushing them down. But here we heard that there was a servant of Maharaja, his name was Nizam. When king was standing near the cliff on the edge, Nizam was holding an umbrella for him. But suddenly a strong wind blowed and he fell down from Takmak. While falling over he begged Maharaja to protect him anyhow. And Maharaja asked him to hold the umbrella and not to leave it in any condition. And that’s how he reached to a village safely. Later that village was called by his name ‘Nizampur’. Though I don’t know how true this story is but it made sense to me.
Frankly speaking to see full Raigad it takes approximately 2 days as Raigad is spread over 1200 acres. This is a place which holds a rich historical importance. It’s enchanting structure and beautiful stories which are also traced in our Indian history. One can have a never forgetting experience of this evergreen place which will make them feel alive and young again.