India is famous for its forts from different periods and royal dynasties, ranging from the imposing Gwalior Fort to the stunning desert bastion of Jaisalmer Fort. The Marathas constructed several magnificent forts, mostly in the Deccan Plateau. Recently, the Ministry of Culture announced that these will be nominated under 'Maratha Military Landscapes' for inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List for the 2024-25 cycle. According to an official release from the Culture Ministry, the 'Maratha Military Landscapes' depict an impressive fortification and military system designed by the Maratha rulers, highlighting India's distinctive history. The 'Maratha Military Landscapes of India', which emerged between the 17th and 19th centuries, "represent an extraordinary fortification and military system envisioned by the Maratha rulers," according to the statement. This nomination will contain a total of 12 components.
The fort is located in Nashik's Dolhari range, on the Gujarat-Mumbai boundary. It is one of the highest forts in the Sahyadri range, with amazing views of the undulating hills. The place witnessed the famous 1672 battle between the Marathas and the Mughals. According to the popular myth, Lord Parshuram did his penance on this very fort and he made land for him to live in, by pushing the sea back with his arrows, right from this place. A three-hour trek takes you to the summit where you can see the Parshuram Temple.
The nearest railway station is Manmad Junction, around 81 km by road.
This 17th-century military fortification located near Junnar in Pune district is considered to be the birthplace of Maratha king Shivaji. During the early Christian age, it served as a Buddhist centre. Initially owned by the Yadavas, it was eventually acquired by a Bahamani noble named Malik-ul-Tujar. In 1595, King Bahadur Nizam II granted Maloji Bhosle ownership of the fort. In 1627, Shivaji was born here. The climb to the fort takes around three hours.
The nearest well-connected railway station is in Pune, as is the nearest airport. The fort is about 100 km from Pune railway station. You can also come here via Junnar town which is 3km away.
Built in the 14th century, Lohagad Fort is an excellent example of Maratha hill fort architecture and the Peshwa period. Thought to have been built in the 14th century, Lohagad is located on the crest of a steep hill with Bhaja caves carved in the middle, overlooking one of the most gorgeous valleys in Maharashtra. It has four arched gateways - Ganesh, Narayana, Hanuman, and the Maha gates, each guarded by a system of double bastions. Except for the Hanuman Gate, which was built by the Mohammedans, the rest were built by Nana Phadnavis. The fort is positioned near the Buddhist caves at Bhaje. The trek to the fort consists of around 200-300 steps and it takes approximately an hour and a half.
Lohagad Fort is best accessed from Malawali station on the Lonavala-Pune train line. The fort is 5-6 kilometres from the station. The nearest airport is Pune International Airport.
Khanderi Fort was established during Shivaji's rule in 1679 CE to keep an eye on the Siddhis at Murud-Janjira Fort, and it was the location of numerous confrontations between Shivaji's army and the Siddhis' navy. Along with its sister fort Underi (Jaidurg), Khanderi formed an important fortification along the Maharashtra coast, with the former in Shivaji's control and the latter under his rivals, the Siddhis. The most visible structure is a lighthouse built by the British that stands 22 feet tall and can be seen from up to 13 kilometres distant.
The nearest airport is in Mumbai. The nearest railway station is in Pen on the Panvel–Roha route of Central Railway.
Raigad Fort was initially called Rairi. Wedged on a large chunk of the Sahyadri hill, the fort is detached from the main range by a canyon. It was the capital fort of the Maratha Empire, which was rebuilt during the coronation of Shivaji, who made it his capital in 1674 AD. The fort has stunning views of the rugged landscape and an artificial lake. The 3km hike to the fort is moderately challenging. A rope-way facility lets you reach the fort from the ground in just a few minutes and affords stunning views.
The nearest well-connected railway stations are CST Terminus and Lokmanya Tilak Kurla Terminus in Mumbai, and Pune railway station. The nearest airport to Raigad is Lohegaon airport in Pune.
Rajgad located in the Pune district of Maharashtra was formerly known as Murumbdev (named after the hill Murumbadev on which it was built). It was the first capital of the Maratha Empire and was under Shivaji's rule for nearly 26 years before being moved to Raigad. Rajgad was one of the 17 forts that Shivaji maintained when he signed the Treaty of Purandar in 1665 with Mughal General Jai Singh I, the Mughal forces' leader.
The nearest airport and railway station are located in Pune, around 75 km away.
Pratapgad is an important fort located 21 kilometers from Mahabaleshwar on the Mahad Road. It was built by Shivaji in 1656, and the primary battle with Afzal Khan took place here in November 1659. Shivaji also built the nearby Tulja Bhavani Temple.
Pratapgad Fort is located 148 km from Pune Airport and 224 km from Mumbai Airport. The nearest train station is Satara.
Suvarnadurg is a fort on an island about a quarter mile from the sea. It is believed to have been constructed by Bijapur rulers in the 16th century AD but was later rebuilt and fortified by Shivaji in 1660 AD. It is the most magnificent of the Ratnagiri coastal forts, surrounded by high walls made of 10 to 12-square-foot stone blocks and strong bastions. The fort covers an area of approximately 8 acres and features a stone-built magazine, massive foundations, a guard room, and several ponds. In later years, it served as a fleet station for Kanhoji Angre, an admiral of the Maratha Navy.
The nearest airport and railhead is in Mumbai. To reach the fort, one has to take a boat ride from Harne village.
This fort is one of the 15 built by Shilahara monarch Bhoja II. The name means "the home of serpents" in English. It is located 20 kilometres northwest of Kolhapur and overlooks a pass in the Sahyadri mountain range that was once a significant trade route. The fort was the site of multiple clashes between the Marathas, the Mughals, and the British East India Company. Tarabai Ranisaheb, the queen regent of Kolhapur, spent her childhood here.
The nearest airport and railway station is in Kolhapur, at a distance of 35 km. Panhala is 416 km from Mumbai and about 200 km from Pune.
Considerd to be the oldest fort on the Sindhudurg coast, it was constructed during the regime of Raja Bhoja II of the Shilahar dynasty. The fort was conquered by Shivaji in the 17th century from Adil Shah of Bijapur in 1653. The Rameshwar temple is located inside the fort.
The nearest railhead is Rajapur Road, 63 km away. Kankavli is the alternative railway station. Goa is the nearest well connected airport.
The Sindhudurg fort, constructed by Shivaji Raje in 1668, is an incredible defensive structure in the middle of the sea. The impressive ramparts are about 2 miles long and 12 feet thick. It has 24 bastions that include beautiful embrasures for weaponry. The fort's entrance is at the northeast corner, and there are 45 stairs leading from inside to the top of the wall. There are several temples inside the walls including ones dedicated to Bhavani, Mahadeo, Jarimai, and Shivaji. The temple dedicated to Shivaji feature several small shrines.
Nearest railway stations are at Rajapur and Kudal. The nearest airport to Sindhudurg is Goa Mopa.