“Forts are the very basis of a kingdom. They are the real treasure, the real wealth of a kingdom. They are our best form of defense against the enemies. Forts themselves are the kingdom.”
Rulers of almost every dynasty in Maharashtra gave tremendous importance to the construction and maintenance of forts. That’s one of the reasons you will find a fort in every nook and cranny of Maharashtra. Pune is a city that has a large number of forts around it. Many of these forts were built by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the great Maratha warrior king. These Forts are like real treasure of Maharashtra.
So here are top 5 forts near Pune you must visit.
1. Sinhagad Fort
Sinhagad Fort Formerly known as Kondhana is one of the most beautiful fort to visit near Pune.
The forts has been the site of many battles, with the Battle of Sinhagad (1670) being the most notable of all. The fort was named ‘Lion Fort’ (Sinhagad) to honor the sacrifice of Subhedar Tanaji Malusare by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, who lost his life while fighting the Mughals in the battle.
The fort, built on the top of a hill, offers an amazing view of the lush greenery surrounding it. Pune Darwaza and Kalyan Darwaza are the two entrances to the fort, with the former being the main entry point for visitors. There are a few temples and a memorial built for Tanaji Malusare inside the fort.
Although there is a motorable road till the entrance, trekking to it is preferred by many youngsters. The 13-km trek has a medium difficulty level which makes it one of the best forts near Pune for trekking.
Distance from Pune : Around 30 km via Sinhagad Ghat Road and Sinhagad Road
2. Torna Fort
The historical significance of Torna Fort is that it was the first fort captured by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj; thereby, making it the foundation of the Maratha empire. With an elevation of over 4600 feet above sea level, it is also the highest fort near Pune. Over the years, it has become one of the favourite destinations for anyone who wishes to experience history amidst the opulence of natural beauty.
Torna Fort is also a popular trekking hotspot, and the best time to visit it, is in between September and December. The trek begins from Velhe village as its base. One will first get the exalted view of the fort in the distance after a walk of 200 m. The entire trail is dotted with rocky patches hemmed by dense vegetation. The 4-hour trek goes through various structures like Bini Darwaza, Menghai Goddess Temple, Budhla Machi and the majestic Zunjar Machi. If you are trekking to the fort during the monsoon, be a little careful as the trail becomes slippery in patches. The view from top of the fort is very beautiful and mesmerising.
Distance from Pune : Around 71 km
3. Shivneri Fort
Shivneri Fort : the birthplace of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the founder of the Maratha empire. Located near Junnar town, the military fortification has a memorial of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, known as Shiv Kunj right in the center.
The fort offers a panoramic view of the picturesque mountainous and beautiful lakes in the backdrop.
The fort has been rightly rated as one of the most favorite places for sightseeing as it has some interesting spots, such as the temple of Goddess Shivai.
Distance from Pune: 93 km
4. Raigad Fort
Raigad Fort is another witness to the glorious past of the Maratha empire, be it the coronation of Chhatrapati Shivaji or the various battles that were fought here. The hill fortress was the capital of the Maratha empire during the reign of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Though many portions of the fort are in ruins, the remaining structures stand tall, testifying why Raigad Fort was called the ‘King of Forts’ as well as ‘Gibraltar of the East’. There are towers, grand entrances, artificial lakes, a Shiva temple and many other structures inside the fort.
Raigad Fort is a favourite among adventure enthusiasts because you have to either use the ropeway or trek to the fort, which is 2700 feet above sea level. Those who want to trek to the fort need to climb around 1700 steps from the foothills to reach the fort.
Distance from Pune : 131.4 km via Tamhini Ghat Road and Mulshi Road
5. Pratapgad Fort
If you want to indulge in a day full of adventure, history and scenic beauty, Pratapgad Fort is the place to be. It is one of the most well historical marvels in Maharashtra. Pratapgad Fort is also known as the Valour Fort as the heroic battle between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Afzhal Khan took place here. The fort is divided into parts – the upper fort and the lower fort. The lower fort is largely occupied by Bhawani temple, whereas the upper fort includes several eye-catching structures.
As Pratapgad Fort is located near Mahabaleshwar, it is frequented by several tourists. Around two to three hours of strolling around are enough to check out every nook and corner of this architectural beauty and its majestic surroundings. The best time to visit is around March and September as the weather remains pleasant during these periods.
Distance from Pune: Around 140 km