Lohagad

Lohagad, the more famous & frequently visited Place is about 11 km from Malavali station & 20 km from Lonavala by road up to the top. A track emanating from Bhaja village goes through paddy fields to the foot of the fort.

On reaching the top. one has to pass through a series oh three sturdy gates. all low & narrow, to reach the stretching plateau that measures nearly 3 km. from one end to another. as you cross the gates, you come across a Muslim tomb & the remnants of the hall of public audience. there is an ancient cave in the 30-meter hill near the monument which is believed to be of Pre Buddhists origin. it has no carvings like the typical Buddhist caves. atop the fort is a tank built by Nana Phadanvis, the great statesman, two centuries ago. one may say deciphering a stone inscription nearby. Besides, there are two smaller tanks and a wall around the main tank. the water of the well is deliciously sweet and is believed to contain medical properties. you also come across the temple of Trimbakeshwar near the tanks.

the most attractive feature of the fort is the 1380 meters long escarpment known as “Vinchukata” the sting of the Scorpio in the local dialect. it has been built atop an enormous cliff which looks like a giant wall made of sheer rock. the escarpment is considerably high but precariously narrow on top. this the formidable position from where Marathas kept a vigil on the entire Lonavala neighborhood.

Lohagad commands a superb panorama of the Sahyadri. to the north is the expansive plateau of Matheran faintly visible near the horizon. little ahead is Lonavala town. into the forks of Sahyadri ranges to the west is Prabalgad. Tikona & Tungi forts. the last enchantingly flanked by the Pawana (Phagne) lake. on the other side are the Bhaja & Karla caves.

Lohagad must have been the important check post on the strategic route from the Deccan plateau to the coastal region for ages. the 2000-year-old caves in its vicinity speak for its importance. it came under the nizam soon won over the commandant of the fort and assaulted Ahmednagar, leading an army of 6000 mounted troops Subsequently. Lohagad came under the Bijapur Sultanate and then was annexed by Shivaji, but the valiant Maratha Ruler had to concede Lohagad to Emperor Aurangzeb under the Purandar treaty in 1648. but after his famous escape from confinement in Agra. Shivaji reconquered the fort on May 14, 1670. under Peshwa, Lohagad attained the height of glory during the days of Nana Phadanvis, the great statesman with remarkable foresight. in addition to Rajmachi, nana has stationed a garrison atop Lohagad to protect Pune, the seat of the Peshwa from the Britishers of Mumbai. after the fall of the Maratha empire in 1818, the British too had stationed troops on the fort up to 1845.

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