The mountain fort of Pratapgad in the Satara district of Maharashtra, is one of the best places to visit for a day trip especially by travellers who are interested in adventure, history and nature. Pratapgad literally translates into ‘Valour Fort’; and for good reason. It’s a huge fort that was built by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj at 1,080 meters above the sea level. And the views it affords of the surrounding area is par excellence.
The fort is just 15 kilometres away from Poladpur, and 23 kilometres from Mahabaleshwar – a popular hill station in Maharashtra. So, if you’re out weekending in any of these places, it’s imperative that you include Pratapgad in your itinerary.
Pratapgad is a long-standing iconic fort where the Battle of Pratapgarh was fought between Shivaji and Afzal Khan beneath the rampant of the fort. Divided into two parts – the lower fort and the upper fort – both the sections can be explored in great detail. The upper fort is a square-shaped fort built on the crest of the hill, including a temple of Lord Mahadev. The lower fort, on the other hand, is surrounded and protected by bastions and towers that are almost 10 to 12m high.
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Open on all days of the week from 10:00 am to 05:00 pm, while the best time to visit the fort is in winters, the monsoons come a close second. The lush greenery all around and the clean mountain air are added bonuses. The fort affords a surreal view of the coastal Konkan. And if you have extra time in hand, you can couple it with major nearby attractions such as the Bhavani Temple and Afzal Khan’s Tomb.
After numerous invasions, in the year 1957, a 17-feet high statue of Shivaji was made of equestrian bronze, that stands tall till today. In the year 1960, a national park and a guest house were also built inside the fort.