Murumbdev’s history goes way back to the medieval era of India. Not much of the initial history of the fort is known. However, somewhere in mid 1600s, Murumbdev was captured by the ruler of the Maratha Empire- Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The fort was renamed to ‘Rajgad’ and remained the capital of the empire for 26 years after which, the capital was shifted to Raigad fort.
Since no vehicle can reach the top of the mountain where the fort is situated, the only way is to hike up. Hence, it is quite popular among the trekker community. Rajgad is situated at a height of around 4,600 feet in the Sahyadri mountain range in Maharashtra, approximately 60 kilometers from Pune. The monsoon and post-monsoon months offer the best climate conditions for a good hike with spectacular views throughout the way. There are 6 routes to the reach the fort. In my experience, I’ve only used two routes. You can start the hike either from Gunjavane village which will lead to the ‘Chor Darwaza’, or from Pali village where the route extends to the ‘Pali Darwaza’, with the latter being an easier route to take as compared to the other.
Rajgad consists of 3 maachis (plateaus with watchtowers) in 3 different directions and 1 ballekilla (the highest point of the fort). These maachis are named as Sanjeevani maachi, Suvela maachi and Padmavati maachi. The route from Gunjavane village through the ‘Chor Darwaza’ opens up at Padmavati maachi. A temple dedicated to Goddess Padmavati is situated here. Suvela and Sanjeevani maachis offer breath-taking views of the mountains around. Time and again, you will marvel at the architectural planning and execution that fort Rajgad offers, sometimes slipping a bit into history.
Hiking Tip: While on Suvela maachi, look out for two interesting rocks: one in the shape of an elephant and one with a huge hole (around 3 meters in diameter). You can climb up to this rock for a good view of the mountains but be extremely careful while doing so since there is not a lot of space to stand here.
In my personal opinion, I would recommend to visit this place sometime in the post-monsoon months for 2 main reasons:
- The sun is not too harsh making the climb less tiring
- The flora of the place comes alive during the monsoons and you will get to see different types of plants and flowers.