The city of Pune has a special place in the annals of history as it has witnessed the Maratha kingdom rise and prosper. With a twisting topography of the Sahyadris, the place is dotted with forts which stood as iron gurads of the Maratha Empire. Much of the forts flourished during Shivaji’s rule when they were renovated and rebuilt. Although some of them were ruined by the British, the remnants still look picture perfect with grand old stories to tell about the epic battles and warfare. Here are 5 Popular Forts near Pune that are a must visit during your next trip. Blessed with the green shades and pristine air, they are great trekking destinations too!
1. Sinhagad Fort
Sinhagad literally translates to Fort of the lion. Built on an isolated cliff of Bhuleshwar range of the Sahyadris, Sinhagad fort offers a vivid view of the mountain ranges. Sinhagad has a glorious past behind it, witnessing epic battles such as the Battle of Sinhagad in 1671. The fort remained under the control of Mughals for a short time until it was recaptured by the Maratha Empire. Seeing the citadels and towers will make you feel like time has frozen before your eyes.
Distance from Pune: 30 km
2. Rajmachi Fort
Located between the two hills of Lonavala and Khandala, Rajmachi is a famous destination for trekkers. Ascending to the top through the rugged landscapes of Sahyadris gets you to this fascinating fort. The caves and temples within the fort take you back in time. During monsoons, waterfalls and misty clouds paint the views from the top of Rajmachi fort. You can trek from Tungarli lake enjoying the Konkan trails and Mondavi caves. Gateways, secret exits doors, and temples are the main attractions of the fort. You can camp in the fort or at Kalbhairavnath temple at the base.
Distance from Pune: 78 km
3. Shivneri Fort
Located near Junnar town in Pune, Shivreni fort gets attention for being the birthplace of Chattrapathi Shivaji. The fort is accessible through a tourist friendly path and also through a rough terrain which is preferred by the trekkers. Inside the strong walls of Shivreni fort lies a statue of Shivaji. The fort offers bright views of the lake and nearby structures with a picturesque background of mountainous terrains.
Distance from Pune: 93 km
4. Raigad Fort
Standing 820 m high from the sea level, the majestic Raigad fort was built by the Maratha Ruler Chatrapathi Shivaji in the year 1674. The fort was captured by the Britishers and only its ruins remain today. You can reach the fort through the step or via the aerial tramway. The king’s chambers and protective walls of the fort tell a tale of the architectural marvel of yester-years. Raigad fort holds the Samadhi of king Shivaji and that of his loyal dog Waghya.
Distance from Pune: 132 km
5. Pratapgad Fort
Pratapgad fort offers a bird’s eye view of the whole of Satara and the surrounding places from its top. Pratapgad fort has a distinct place in history for witnessing the heroic battle between Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji and Afzhal Khan in 1656. The body of Afzal Khan was buried in the fort commemorating the victory. The Bhavani temple located near the lower fort is another attraction in the complex. A trek to this fort during monsoons will offer a thrilling experience with the green canopies, pouring waterfalls and deep woods. Pratapgad fort is a favorite destination for tourists who visit Mahabaleshwar due to its proximity to the latter.
Distance from Pune: 135 km
Although the roads are in a really bad condition, the best time to visit these places would be during the rainy season. With the natural beauty and architectural prowess in flawless accord, these places are bound to blow your mind off. A trip will let you take a day off from the busy city life and will make you feel like you have ended up in a different place during a different century. Be it some adventure that you are missing in your life or a fun day out with friends, you are guaranteed to return with both.