Pratapgad fort is definitely a must-see tourist attraction for tourists. Mahabaleshwar trip would be a little monotonous without Pratapgad. Below are few important sights.
Afzal Khan Tomb near Pratapgad fort is a sign of bravery of Shivaji Maharaj as well as his philosophy of ‘once the enemy is dead, the enmity is dead too’. Afzal khan was killed by Shivaji Maharaj on 10 Nov 1659 after which his head was presented to Rajmata Jijabai at Raigad fort. Therefore Afzal Khan's tombs are at 2 places, one at Pratapgad and one at Raigad.
As shown in photographs on the right, Pratapgad entrance is hidden behind Buruj which looks like wall.
This made it difficult for enemy to find out fort entrance from long distance.
Even today the entrance of the fort is opened and closed at sunrise and sunset.
Pratapgad Fort (like many other forts) is divided in two parts viz. Lower and Upper Fort. Balekilla or Upper Fort is build as second level of shield in case enemy enters main fort.
On your left is the most picturesque photo of all forts in Maharashtra. Yes, I am talking about
Pratapgad Machi. Machi is extended front part of the fort. Generally machi was protected using Buruj.
Pratapgad machi is famous movie shooting spot. Famous Mi Shivajiraje Bhosale Boltoy movie scene was shot here.
Recently, Maharashtra Government has alloted Rs. 13 crore to improve the fort condition.
Another important aspect of constructing a fort used to be water resources. Pratapgad has in total seven lakes and wells. Enough water and food should be available in fort in case of long battles.
Photo on right is Bhavani Mata Mandir. It is believed that Mata Bhavani gave Shivaji Maharaj the Bhavani Talwar to fight against Afzal Khan. The temple was constructed by Shivaji Maharaj in 1662. As seen in the photo, Kalas or Top of Mandir is made up of pure 6 KG gold. After the victory, Kanhoji Mohite was awarded Sword of Honour studded with 6 diamonds. 6 diamonds indicate that Kanhoji had killed 600 enemy soldiers. This sword still can be seen inside the mandir. Outside the mandir you can see artillery of that time.
Balekilla has Mahadev Mandir. Unlike Bhavani Mandir which was built by Shivaji Maharaj,
Mahadev Mandir was built even before the fort was built. This is understandable because
original residents of Jawali area were Mahadev Koli who used to worship God Shiva.
Diwan-e-Khas which was darbar of ministers and other officials used to happen in
front of Mahadev Mandir. Diwan-e-Aam, darbar of common people, used to take place on Raigad.
Statue of Shivaji Maharaj was inaugurated in 1963 by Indian Prime Minister Pandit Nehru. Only left leg of the horse is lifted in the air which indicate that warrior's death had not happened in the war. The statue is surrounded by small garden.
Guided tour of Pratapgad is available for around Rs. 300. If I remember correctly, the tour covers 12 sights of Pratapgad fort with insider perspective as most of tour guides are local residents of Pratapgad.
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