Pratapgad is situated in Satara district, Maharashtra, India and is 25 km from Mahabaleshwar. The fort is considered to be the highest point of the range with a full view of the surrounding places. Mahabaleshwar is a pristine hill station near Pune and a tourist hot spot. Located 120 km from Pune, it’s a favorite destination of many Puneite. Mahabaleshwar has many sub destinations which are also unique tourist spots laden with the opportunities of adventure. One such gem is Pratapgad Fort, Mahabaleshwar.
How to reach
To reach Pratapgad fort from Mahabaleshwar you need to drive towards Poladpur and this fort lies ahead of the Ambenali ghats. Ambenali ghats is about 10 Km long and one few of the most beautiful views around Mahabaleshwar. Ponies are also available.
Pratapgad Fort: The History
Pratapgad fort was the glorious backdrop for Shivaji’s legendary battle against Afzhal Khan in 1656. The site has witnessed an arduous war between the forces of Shivaji and Afzal Khan. Afzal Khan was in an intention to kill Shivaji but Shivaji managed to save his life and killed Afzal Khan with his “Wagh Nakh”, a sharp weapon meant to be worn in fingers and appear like tiger claws. Later years the fort was a centre of regional politics. Due to its close Proximity to popular tourist destination Mahableshwar, the fort is always flocked by tourist from all over the country. It is the highest point of the range and gives a 360 degree view of the surrounding places.
Trekking Trip to Pratapgad Fort near Pune
If you trek to Pratapgad you will find that most of the distance is covered in a thick canopy of tress and riding through the deep woods is a thrilling experience in itself. During the monsoons one can find several waterfalls on the way that adds to the beauty of the place. After arriving at the Ambenali ghats you will reach the Ambenali village from where a left is to taken for the Pratapgar fort, 5 km from the deviation. It’s a steep ascend to reach the fort. The point needs a treacherously steep climb. On the way you will find a handicraft centre where various handcrafts are available. You can ride up to the base of the fort where the stairway starts. On passing the gateway you will find Abdulla’s tower at the right and the path to the left leads to the upper fort.
Best time to visit
You can plan a trip to Pratapgad any time of the year but monsoons are the ideal time to visit the Pratapgad fort to experience the real greenery of the place.
- Upper Fort-The upper part of the fort is square in shape and 180m long on all sides. Several structures stands here as an evidence of the architectural feats of the Marathas and also include a beautiful temple of Lord Shiva.
- Afzal Tower– It is located in the front part of the fort. It is said that the body of the Afzal khan was buried here as a memory of the glorious victory.
- Bahvani temple – Bhavani Temple, located to the east of the lower fort is another attraction. This temple was constructed by Shivaji.
- Afzal Khan Dargah – Shivaji considered Khan as a great worrier and therefore ordered to construct a dargah at the foothills of the fort.