Monday, August 10, 2009

Fort Rajmachi

Rajmachi Fort is situated in Lonavla region, on the top of the Western Ghats. The highway from Khopoli to Khandala-Lonavla, known as Borghat, is an ancient trade route. Overseas trade of the Western India and the Deccan was carried through the ports of Chaul, Revdanda, etc., on the western coast. The trade route passing through the Borghat connected these ports to the region around Pune and beyond on the Deccan plateau. Fort Rajmachi was built to control the trade route of Borghat.

There are two Fortresses on Rajmachi –the taller one in the east is Shrivardhan and the other in the west is Manoranjan. Rajmachi is a unique fort having wide plateau on all sides of the twin fortresses. There is a rich treasure of historical monuments on Rajmachi, viz. mighty ramparts and walls, gateways, secret exit gates, administrative offices, water storage tanks and reservoirs, residential quarters, temples and idols of deities. Kal Bhairav temple is situated in the col between Shrivardhan and Manoranjan. Local inhabitants worship Kal Bhairav even today. The Budhdist caves on the western slope of Rajmachi plateau (at present known as Kondhane caves) were carved in the period around 200 BC. The existence of these ancient caves indicates that Rajmachi had been identified as an important place right from the Satavahana period.

The various functionaries and officers in the military and administrative set-up for Rajmachi region under the Maratha rule resided at Rajmachi, till the British defeated the Peshwa in the year 1818. Ruins of their big residential houses are found in the forest on the south side of the hamlet Udhewadi. A big water reservoir constructed about 200 years ago is situated further down from the forest mentioned above. A carved stone plate in the wall of the water reservoir indicates that it was built by Ramrav Narayanrav Deshmukh, Mamlatdar of Danda Rajpuri (near Murud Janjira in Raigad District). An ancient Shiva temple, built in Hemdpanti style, is situated on the western side of the water reservoir. A large amount of silt coming in the storm water from the high land behind has been deposited around the Shiva temple. The inhabitants of Udhewadi have now started the clearing work. A fountain in the shape of cow-head and a water tank in the front of the temple have been discovered. The clearing operation will continue and it requires help from well wishers.

Rajmachi affords a magnificent view of sprawling ranges of the Sahyadri mountain and one can see from here a number of historical forts in the Sahyadri. Manik Gad, Karnala, Irsal and Prabal Gad (all forts) and Matheran (hill resort) are in the west. Dhak is in the North, Lohagad is in the east and Koyri Gad is in the south of Rajmachi. A beautiful view of Shiravta Lake in the east can be had from Fort Shrivardhan. Water from this lake is used by Tata Power Companies at their hydro electric power generation station at Khopoli. Sometimes, with the pre-monsoon showers the climate becomes very clear and affords visibility of very long distance. On such rare occasions, it is possible to identify from Rajmachi the Arabian sea and high-rise buildings in Mumbai. This year (i.e. 2003) in the wee hours of 15 June, the powerfull flickering signal on the high rise chimney of Tata Thermal Power Station at Trombay (in Mumbai) was visible from Rajmachi. After sunrise, people at Rajmachi could identify, in the west of Karnala Fort, the skyscrapers in Mumbai.

Rajmachi Fort, endowed with splendour of nature, is our heritage from the ancestors. Let us endeavour to preserve this wealth. Your co-operation is solicited.

For guidance in planning a visit or trek to Rajmachi and for camping facility / catering at Rajmachi, please send sms to me (Mukund Gondhalekar), with your name and mail id, to :

Phone : (91) 92235 79685 / (91) 81088 54866

or send a mail to :

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