Fort Height: 3505 Ft (From Sea Level)
Base Village: Wada Kumbroshi
Time to reach from Base Village: Maximum 1.5 hours
PRATAPGAD is situated on the western side of the famous hill station, Mahabaleshwar. It lies in Satara district of Maharashtra. The route from Poladpur (on Mumbai-Goa Highway) to Pargaon is called as Parghat, whereas the later portion of the road is called as Ambenali Ghat. This fort enabled to establish a good control over these Ghat sections. The river Koyna flows at the foot-hills of this fort. The surrounding of the fort is covered with thick forest which is famous by the name, JAWALI. This fort was initially recognised as the Bhorpya Dongar (Hill) until Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj completely reconstructed it, which was later recognised as ‘PRATAPGAD’. The construction of this fort was done under supervision of Shivaji Maharaj’s Prime Minister, Moropant Trimbak Pingle.
This fort has got significant historic importance due to the the famous temple of “Bhavani Mata”, constructed by Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and the event of Assassination of Afzalkhan on it.
Assassination of Afzalkhan: The Badi Begam Sahebin, wife of Adilshah of Vijapur, used to efficiently handle all the operations of kingdom of Adilshah. When Fatehkhan and other mighty soldiers had got defeated by Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, she ordered Afzalkhan to attack Shivaji Maharaj.
Afzalkhan was very mighty not only with power but he was a very good planner. Once in his earlier days he had almost captured Aurangzeb. At that time Aurangzeb was a Prince of Mughal forces. But somehow Aurangzeb managed to escape from Afzalkhan.
Afzalkhan was provided with a very huge army including camels, elephants, horses and etc। When he started his march towards Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, a famous elephant died! This was at that time, referred as ill-fortune. But Afzalkhan was not a person who would believe in such incidents. To keep the moral of the army at higher level, Adilshah sent a very famous canon MULUK-MAIDAN to the army of Afzalkhan. Afzalkhan knew that it would be difficult to capture Shivaji while he is in the mountain regions of Sahyadri. So he planned his attacks on the Hindu Gods like Tuljapur and Pandharpur. He destroyed all those temples that were in his route. But Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj didn't responded to his move. He remained in the dense mountain region of Sahyadri. This time Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj decided to move to the Pratapgad fort to fight against Afzalkhan.
Interesting point in battles of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj
If you observe the tactics adopted by Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj carefully, then you will notice that he always fought the battle from the borders of his Kingdom.
1. He fought against Fatehkhan from Purandar fort. At this time, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's kingdom was very small and even Shirval was not in his territory
2. He fought with Afzalkhan from Pratapgad which was again on the borders of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
3. He fought his first land battle with Adilshahi forces near Panhala fort and defeated the Vijapuri force. Panhala was again at the border of his kingdom
4. He decided to fight with Siddi Johar by staying on Panhala fort which again was on the borders of his kingdom. This was Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, he always tried to protect his people (villagers and etc) from the sufferrings of battles.
Only Shahistakhan managed to enter inside his kingdom and we all know what happened to him... But if you see why he was able to enter in Pune, you will notice that, at the time Shahistakhan attacked on Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaja's kingdom, he was fighting with Siddi Johar from Panhalagad. Otherwise Shahistakhan would have also been stopped beyond the borders!
Now coming back to Afzalkhan. As he saw that Shivaji is not coming on the open grounds to fight, Afzalkhan decided to attack him in Sahyadri. But Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj sent his Foreign Affairs Minister (referred as VAKIL at that time) to Afzalkhan. The Minister convinced Afzalkhan that Shivaji is very afraid of Afzalkhan and feel very guilty to come to see him. It would be better if Khan himself comes to visit Shivaji. After a long negotiation it was decided that, Khan will meet Shivaji Maharaj at pre-decided place which is acceptable to both of them. Both will bring 10 soldiers (body-guards) with them. The bodyguards will stay at an ARROW-DISTANCE (Arrow-distance means the place where the arrow will land after firing it from an bow) Only Khan and Shivaji will meet inside the tent and Shivaji Maharaj will surrender. It was also decided that both of them will be armed at the time of meeting.
Although Khan was showing that he cares about Shivaji, his main purpose of the meeting was to kill Shivaji. Therefore Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj planned a trap. He ordered Netaji Palker to go to the Radtondicha ghat (Jawali and Mahabaleshwar region), Moropant Pehwa, Shamrao Nilkantha, Trimbak Bhaskar, Haibatrao and Balaji Shilimker in sourrounding regions of Pratapgad and Kokan. They were instructed that they will charge the Afzalkhan army after hearing the cannon balls fired from Pratapgad.
At the time of meeting, Maharaj saw that Sayyed Banda (bodygaurd of Afzalkhan) was present inside the tent. He said if Sayyed Banda is inside, he will not go to the meeting. Evetually, Afzalkhan ordered Sayyed Banda to go out of the tent. Maharaj entered the tent, and Afzalkhan spreaded his arms hugged Maharaj. He nabbed Maharaj in his arms and attacked him with the Katyaar (knife). Shivaji Maharaj were having armour to protect him and quickly he took the "Wagh-nakhe" (tiger-claws) and tored Afzalkhan's stomach. Afzalkhan was shouting for support. When Sayyed Banda heard his scream, he ran inside the tent and attacked Maharaj, his first blow was on the head of Maharaj and Maharaj got injured. Jiva Mahale came in and killed Sayyed Banda. Thus there is a saying (Because of Jiva, survived Shiva)
Cannon balls were fired from Pratapgad to signal the forces stationed at various places to launch the attack on un-prepared army of Afzalkhan. The end result of this battle was that Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj emerged victorious.
Tehalni Buruj (Watch-Tower):
This is on the western side of the fort. This fortified place is adjacent to the currently existing vehicle parking bay. This Watch-tower was used to keep an eye on the enemy in the surrounding area.
A road on the left side of the Watch-tower takes us to the entrance steps of the fort. Mahadarwaja lies here in between the two bastions. Cannon can be seen placed at this door. After taking a left turn from this door, two other doors are visible but they are not in use any more.There are total four lakes on the fort, Rahat lake being the largest among them. On the eastern bastion lie the ponds known as ‘Naske Tale’ and ‘Gode Tale’.
The stone from which Goddess Bhavani Mata’s idol is carved has been brought by Shivaji Maharaj with the help of King Leelasen. This stone was extracted from a mountain situated at the convergence point of three rivers namely; Trishul Gandaki, Shwet Gandaki and Saraswati. The idol of Bhavani Mata has been carved by Nepali craftsmen. With the assistance of Moropant Peshwe, it was permanently established on Pratapgad in 1662 A.D.
Just outside the temple, there are two huge stone pillars having rows of lamps, which are called as ‘Deepastambha’. Besides it, there lies an Assembly hall (‘Sabhamandap’) and inside it, is a ‘Ghanta Rangamandap’.
Infront of the idol, a ‘Shivpindi’ made of transparent crystal stone can be seen. Apart from this, there is a sword of the Hambirrao Mohite, over which his name is engraved along with a sign of ‘6 Ribits’. (One ribit was awarded to a person who kills 100 enemy soldiers).
Some recently established refreshment centers can be seen while moving towards citadel. Within those establishments, on a higher platform, is situated a cultural library. It displays olden coins, dresses of people of those days and vintage paintings of Marathi-style. One can also view a 15minutes slide show arranged by the library officials which gives us information about Pratapgad in brief.
Temple of Lord Hanuman:
This temple lies before the entrance door of citadel. The idol of Lord Hanuman was established by Samarth Ramdas Swami.
Sadar, A Meeting Platform: As you enter through the door of the citadel, you come across an open space. This is called as ‘Sadar’. Important meetings and discussions used to take place on this Sadar. Opposite to this lies the Kedareshwar Temple.
Statue of Shivaji Maharaj:
As we go ahead from Kedareshwar temple, we comes across a huge statue of Shivaji Maharaj mounted on horse-back with sword in his right hand, raised up towards the sky, and bridle in left hand. This statue has been created by Shri. Kamat, a craftsman from Mumbai, on 30th November 1957. This statue was unveiled by our Late Prime Minister Shri Jawaharlal Nehru.
Apart from above mentioned places, there are many other structures, viz., ‘Yeshwant Buruj’ to the east, ‘Surya Buruj’ near Hanuman Temple to the south and besides it lies a secret-doorway, ‘Rajpaharyachi Dindi’, a place to keep watch-on to the north of the fort.
Tomb of Afzalkhan:
A tomb is built at the place where the meeting between Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Afzalkhan took place. This is the same place where Afzalkhan was killed.How to reach?
It takes about 3 to 4 hours to see the fort completely.
On the route to Mahabaleshwar from Poladpur, lies a village ‘Wada Kumbroshi’. Pratapgad is situated at about 4 kms from this village. One has to take a right turn from the road to Mahabaleshwar from Poladpur. Since, the entire stretch of road is asphalted, State-Transport buses take you upto the base of ‘Tehalni Buruj,’ where there is a parking lot available.
From Mahabaleshwar: ‘Pratapgad Darshan’ bus service is available from Mahabaleshwar.
Food and Drinking water:
Various Restaurants are there on the fort.
Drinking Water Facility:Perennial source of drinking water is available on the fort.
Maharashtra Government Rest House. Rooms for accommodating 25 to 30 people are
available with prior booking (during season) on the following address: Vishramdham – Pratapgad,Taluka : Mahabaleshwar,District : Satara
Also the schools on the fort can provide shelter.