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Explained: The significance of Raigad fort in Maratha history

Chhatrapati Shivaji is the most revered icon in Maharashtra and there is a constant attempt by political parties of all hues to appropriate his legacy. Due to the significance of Raigad in his life, many political leaders make it a point to visit the fort.

Written by Zeeshan Shaikh , Edited by Explained Desk | Mumbai |
Updated: December 7, 2021 11:26:47 am
Raigad Fort (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

President Ram Nath Kovind is beginning his four-day visit (December 6-9) to Maharashtra on Monday by visiting the Raigad Fort where he will pay tribute to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

Here’s what is the significance of the Raigad fort in Maratha history

Where is Raigad fort located?

Raigad is a hill fort situated about 25 km from Mahad in the Raigad district and stands 2,851 feet above the sea level. The British Gazette states the fort was known to early Europeans as the Gibraltar of the East. Its decisive feature is a mile and a half flat top which has adequate room for buildings. In its prime, the fort had 300 stone houses and a garrison of 2,000 men.

When was it built?

The fort, which was earlier called Rairi, was the seat of the Maratha clan Shirke in the 12th century. The fort changed hands a number of times from the dynasty of Bahaminis to the Nizamshahis and then the Adilshahis. In 1656, Chhatrapati Shivaji captured it from the More’s of Javli who were under the suzerainty of the Adilshahi Sultanate. The fort not only helped Shivaji challenge the supremacy of the Adilshahi dynasty but also opened up the routes towards Konkan for the extension of his power.

Significance of the fort in Shivaji’s life

In 1662, Shivaji formally changed the fort’s name to Raigad and added a number of structures to it. By 1664, the fort had emerged as the seat of Shivaji’s government. As the Marathas under the leadership of Shivaji gained strength in their struggle against the Mughals, the announcement of a sovereign, independent state was made. On June 6, 1674, Shivaji was coronated at Raigad by Gagabhatt where he took on the title of Chhatrapati. Six years later, Shivaji passed away in Raigad in 1680 and cas cremated at the fort.

Importance of Raigad Fort in Maharashtra’s polity

Chhatrapati Shivaji is the tallest and the most revered icon in Maharashtra and there is a constant attempt by political parties of all hues to appropriate his legacy. Due to the significance of Raigad in his life, many political leaders make it a point to visit the fort.

Maharashtra has already announced a mid-sea memorial in the Arabian Sea for the Maratha warrior king. The Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government is also seeking the World Heritage Site tag for 14 forts, including Raigad, from the era of 17th century Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj on the theme of Maratha Military Architecture in Maharashtra.

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