The Forts of Maharashtra might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the places to visit in Maharashtra. The glitz and glamour of Mumbai or the beaches of Konkan seems far more appealing but you are mistaken. Caught in a tug of war for control between the British, Mughals and Marathas, the Deccan state is dotted with millions of people and a vibrant local culture. Each city has a story to tell and boasts its own unique food, culture and way of life. Each of them has its own chunk of history that tourists crave to discover, and the forts of Maharashtra are the live examples of these stories and Maharashtra’s legacy.
Standing the testament of time over the years Maharashtra is home to over hundred forts scattered all over the massive state. Stories of adventure, bravery and sacrifice echo through the corners of these marvelous places to visit in Maharashtra. If you are visiting the state, these forts should be at the top of your checklist.
Drive 16 km northeast of Aurangabad and you will arrive at the steps of the Daulatabad fort. It is still developing as a tourist attraction and not overly crowded. Hence you can take your time to explore the Chand Minar and Chini Mahal. Also you must check out the Ellora group of caves on the way to the fort. Formerly called Devgiri, the fort was named by Muhammad Tughlaq. He was very impressed by the fort’s architecture and declared it his capital.
Standing tall on the Sahyadri mountains, the Raigad Fort is one of the most important forts in Maharashtra. Raigad was the first ever capital of the great Shivaji’s illustrious kingdom. Built in the 14th century, the Raigad fort stands strong even to this day. The fort was so heavily fortified that the British referred to it as the Gibraltar of the East. This fort definitely features in the list of places to visit in Maharashtra of most tourists.
The 1080 m tall fort was the site of the Battle of Pratapgad between Shivaji and Afzal Khan. The fort was built to protect the banks of Nira and Konya rivers. The fort has two divisions, the upper fort and the lower fort. It is located just 24 km from Mahabaleshwar, the beautiful hill station and popular places to visit in Maharashtra.
If you are in Lonavla, this 1500 year old fort is a must-visit. It is famous for being one of the first forts of Maharashtra captured by Chhatrapati Shivaji.Despite being in a state of decay, the fort still holds strong and is a popular tourist places to visit in Maharashtra. The 2 km wide outer walls of the fort are massive and hide the beautiful lakes inside the fort.
Once the beacon of might for the Maratha Empire, it is now a rocky hillock. Most forts of Maharashtra have generally housed temples in their primes. However, the remains of Gawilgarh have a mosque, bedecked in Pathan architecture standing at the highest point of the hill. The fort is located close to the Melghat Tiger Reserve, a renowned wildlife sanctuary which features on the list of beautiful places to visit in Maharashtra.
Murud Janjira Fort
Just like a tree to the ground, the Murud Janjira fort has held on to the Konkan coast. What is especially significant is its commendable architecture has stayed strong since the 15th century. Built for strategic purposes, complete with compartments and secret locations inside the fort, the fort is one of must-visit forts of Maharashtra. The views from the fort are exceptional and enough to send you into a trance.
The birthplace of Chattrapati Shivaji, the Shivneri fort is a special place in the history of Maharastra. Moreover the fact that Shivaji spent his entire childhood in this fort makes it one of the forts of Maharashtra you must check out. The government has recognized Shivneri as a protected monument. The fort is located in Junwar and at 120 Kms, a popular destination for weekend getaways from Pune.
Through two islands and a narrow path in the middle of the sea, getting to the Sindhuhurg Fort is a unique experience in itself. If this doesn’t intrigue you enough to take a trip here, then I wonder know what will. The fort was built by Shivaji in 1664 and one of the significant forts of Maharashtra. Sindhudurg, quite literally the the ‘sea fort’, was a strong used to spy on enemy ships. The sea-forts along the Konkan coast are definitely some of the unique places to visit in Maharashtra.
The Torna Fort is one of the tallest forts in Maharashtra. Also it was the first fort captured by Shivaji, just 16 years old at the time. Shivaji made the fort much stronger and more secure. Located 60 km away, it makes for a quick getaway from Pune. You will have to climb quite some distance to enjoy the views from its peak. So for trekkers, this is one of the places to visit in Maharashtra.
The Panhala Fort, near Kolhapur, is one of the oldest forts of Maharashtra. The fort overlooks the Sahyadari pass and has a lot of historical significance. It has seen many face-offs between the Mughals, Marathas, and British. It has also been part of a major trade route from the interiors of the state to the coastal area. If you visit the fort, you must check out the Andhar Baavdi which used to be like the fort within the fort.
These are some of the places to visit in Maharashtra; boasting of spectacular architecture, rich history and excellent topography.
Most of these forts make spectacular road trip destinations and also on driving distance from the major cities/towns of Maharashtra. You should look through our Mighty Forts of Maharashtra package to let us help you plan your trip. Or if you are planning a trip of your own, don’t forget to get all your answers on the Community forums. We have some fabulous Scouts across Maharashtra.