Friday, May 8, 2015

lohagad | लोहगड

Lohagad (Marathi: लोहगड, iron fort) is one of the many hill forts of Maharashtra state in India. Situated close to the hill station Lonavala and 52 km (32 mi) northwest of Pune, Lohagad rises to an elevation of 1,033 m (3,389 ft) above sea level. The fort is connected to the neighboring Visapur fort by a small range. The fort was under the Maratha empire for the majority of time, with a short period of 5 years under the Mughal empire.


Lower ramparts of the fort
Lohagad has a long history with several dynasties occupying it at different periods of time: Satavahanas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Yadavas, Bahamanis, Nizams, Mughals and Marathas. Shivaji Maharaj captured it in 1648 CE, but he was forced to surrender it to the Mughals in 1665 CE by the Treaty of Purandar. Shivaji Maharaj recaptured the fort in 1670 CE and used it for keeping his treasury. This fort was used to keep the loot from Surat. Later in Peshwa time Nana Phadnavis used this fort for living for sometime and built several structures in the fort such as a big tank and a step-well.
In the recent years the fort has been declared as a protected monument by the government.

Geography and Climate

Vinchukata fortification
Lohagad is part of the Western Ghats. It rises to an elevation of 1,033 m (3,389 ft) above sea level, and is located to the southwest of the larger Visapur fort. The range divides the basins of the Indrayani and Pavana rivers. Lohagad overlooks the Pavana reservoir, located to the south of the mountain. The hill extends to the northwest to a fortified spur, called Vinchukata (Scorpion's tail) because of its resembling shape. The four large gates of Lohagad are still in good condition and reasonably intact.
The fort as seen from its base during monsoon
During the monsoon, the top of the fort is covered with mist and clouds and becomes particularly wet with growing moss. The roads and trails leading to the hill are quite slippery at this time of the year and precautions are necessary to be taken while venturing the routes.


Lohagad fort walls
Lohagad fort can be accessed by various modes of travel. The nearest airport is the Pune International Airport. The proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport will serve as the nearest airport in the coming future.
The nearest train station is Malavli, which can be accessed by suburban trains between Lonavala and Pune. The nearest major train station is Lonavala, on the Mumbai-Pune railway line. Lohagad is connected by the Mumbai-Pune Highway and can also be accessed from Paud via Kolvan and Dudhiware Khind for all vehicles.
People can also hike all the way to the fort. Bhaja Caves is on the way to Lohagad if a small diversion is taken. This walk is a particular favorite of trekkers, especially in the monsoon season. It is a simple, very scenic and pleasant trek and the distance from Malavli and Lohagad can be covered in around two hours. The trekking route becomes slippery during the rainy season and is dangerous to hike to the fort during this time. A variety of birds and insects can also be spotted in these hills.

source : | wikipedia | |
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rangana fort | रांगणा किल्ला

Rangana Fort is a very rare example of what can happen when extreme nature and extreme human achievements can do. Rangana Fort situated in deep core forests and on a peek where even modern amenities fails in today’s world so one can imagine how and what made it possible to built and portray a fort structure in such dense and dangerous area.

Rangana fort is famous as Prasidhdha Gad in the Maratha history situated in the Sahyadri Mountain on the boundary of Kolhapur and Sindhudurg districts of Maharashtra at the height of 2600 ft above MSL. The capital of Kolhapur region was Panhala at all times. Rangana is situated at 50 km south of Panhala. Fort not easily accessible, strong and not easily defeat able even to enemies.


Rangana fort, situated in Bhudargad taluka, dates back to the “Shilahar” dynasty (940 AD). This fort was built by King Bhoj of Shilahar dynasty. It was conquered by rulers of the Bahamani kingdom, and later by AdilShah. Shivaji Maharaj won the fort after slaying Afzal Khan in 1659. Later the fort was built on the orders of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. There are references of Shivaji Maharaj bestowing rewards on the fort’s builders, Aroji Yadav and Firoji Farjand.
Rangana is a massive fort with 65 structures. The five gates are still intact and there are three small lakes atop the fort, flanked by extensive forests that play host to wild animals like bears and leopards.
Three hundred years back the fort area seems to be surrounded by thick forest. Considering today's unauthorized deforestation still the thick forest is there, so the fort is not easily visible to the visitors even they reach at the foot of the fort. The fort is spread over the crest of the Sahyadri. The fort is standing like an attentive surveillance soldier standing at the most strategic place. From Rangana, forts like Manohar & Mansantosh (where a Black Panther was spotted some years back) can be seen. This fort comes under region called as “Maval Patta”. The nature full of hills & valleys surrounding Rangana is utmost attractive. On this fort, Ranganai temple is standing witness to ancient history. One beautiful lake with almost 365 days water source is there. Some time ago ancient statue from the temple was found stolen.

How to go-

Rangana fort has access from two sides. One from Patgaon in Kolhapur District and another from Narur in Kudal taluka of Sindhudurg district. The way from Kolhapur is simple but hells from deep and dense forest to pass through.
Rangana fort is situated at 95 km from Kolhapur at direct south side on the border of Kolhapur. The Kolhapur - Gargoti distance is 48 km. About 35 km from this place, is Patgaon. This was the old lane supplying essential girds for Rangana residents. S. T. Buses travel up to this place i.e. Patgaon. After Patgaon, Hanmanta Ghat stretched about 9 km. from Patgaon to Tambewadi. Tambewadi is small village at the edge of Ghat. This road from Patgaon to Tambewadi is very uneven. One walkway from Tabmewadi turns towards Rangana (ask to local villagers about road). This 8 km distance of this way through deep forest you have to cross three deep valleys, two three water bodies (one is a bit deep to pass vehicle through it) and not to forget about thick and dense forest. Thanks to an armature group from Kolhapur helped to show road till foot of Fort by putting signs of direction throughout the forest. Chikkewadi is a small habitat of 8 to 10 houses at 6-7 km from Tambewadi. Rangana's steep rise starts from Chikkewadi. After trekking shrub studded hill for almost 1 1\2 km first entrance of Rangana in form of broken remains show its presence.
There is a small plane portion of hill in the shape of bridge between this place and the main Rangana area. On both sides of this path there are deep valleys. If we stand on the plain ground, we see the Rangana's steep bastion. On both sides of the bastion thick protection walls are constructed. While entering through small walk way on left side of protection wall one sees sky scrapping hill above and deep valley below. After traveling 2 furlongs this way we come to Rangana's first gate. Salient features of old construction of historic buildings are seen here more prominently.
Up till forts base motorcycles or 4*4 SUV’s can be taken through deep forest and through water flows. If you take public transport then up to Patgaon state transport is available.

On the fort- 

Large sized stones and very delicate decorative carvings are seen everywhere. From first gate, both sides have high stone walls. Now they are getting broken. While climbing up one faces second large bastion and big gate. After this gate on the right side of plane area there is a wall and doorframe indicating old small building (Wada), and in front there is well supply water all the year round. Ahead of this place there is third gate with arches and red stone walls. There are sitting places in the arches. After crossing that gate we come on the large plane ground. On one side we see the Natures beauty of Konkan can be enjoyed, and on other side area covered with valleys and hills of Kolhapur district watching this magnificent scenery moving ahead. This is followed by a big lake with plenty of water storage which remains permanently. One side of this lake is constructed wall. Near to this lake there is old temple of Ranganai the store station of goddess seems to be quite old days. The carvings on the wooden portion construction are excellent. There is a high “DeepMal” of black stones. By seeing Hanuman statue there, one can guess that there might be Hanuman temple in old time. We can use this temple as a shelter. If we climb some steep rise through thick bushes we go to second peak. We can see Hanuman Ghat, Sawantwadi to Vengurla region and Manohar and Mansantosh Gad in front. There are three gates in this side but all in broken condition.

The area on Rangana fort is spread 3 km long and about 1 km. wide. There are many water tanks on this fort. It is said, that Shivaji Maharaj used to stay on this fort while traveling from Raigad to Konkan and Karnataka. It has remained unknown to common man even today because of its construction at a place not comes in normal view. History of Rangana is hidden by forests and hills and therefore, not gets attention of many.

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