Pratapgad Fort is a magnificent fortress built by Shivaji in the year 1656. It is located at a distance of 24 kms from Mahabaleshwar and 15 kms from Poladpur. Situated at a formidable height of 1080 metres, the fort offers awe-inspiring views of the surrounding Sahyadri ranges, deep valleys and small villages.
Pratapgad fort is an important link in history. It is here that in 1659, the great ruler Shivaji Maharaj fought an important battle against the Mughals. He succeeded in killing his main enemy, Mughal warrior Afzal Khan. The grave of Afzal Khan was built here.
At the very top, there is a small garden with a huge statue of Shivaji Maharaj on his horse Chetak. There is also a temple of Goddess Bhavani Mata, the residing clan deity of the Maratha’s. The local Panchganga Temple is considered to be the source of the five prominent rivers in the region. Local villagers sell worship items, snacks etc from small shops set up alongside the steps leading to the temple and garden.
Vehicles can drive up to the parking area. There are 350 steps from here to top of the fort.
A good time to visit the fort is during the monsoons and winters. It gets quite crowded during the summer months when thousands of tourists throng to the popular hill station of Mahabaleshwar. It is a 30 minute drive to Pratapgad Fort from Mahabaleshwar. Visitors should plan and reach the fort during the afternoon around 3-4 pm. This will give them ample time to walk around the fort and also experience a phenomenal sunset from the upper areas of Pratapgad Fort. It is advisable to return to the parking lot immediately after as it is challenging to climb down the steps in the dark after nightfall.
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