I remembered the two famous lines Har Har Mahadeo (Hail our Lord – Mahadeo meaning the Hindu God Shiva) the war cry of the Maratha army and Gad aala pan sinha gela – We gained the fort but lost the lion when my husband asked me to accompany him to the famous fort of the Marathas (warrior caste in Maharashtra) – Sinhagad (Lion’s fort)
We were a group of fifteen enthusiasts who left by car one morning. The drive from Khadakwasla dam to the top of Sinhagad is refreshing and abundant in greenery. The best season to visit this historic place is when she is drenched in the beauty of the rains. The steep slopes of the Sahyadri range are rich in flora and you could enjoy its beauty by trekking. The well laid roads assist a smooth ride to the summit except for a couple of metres near the base. It’s a weekend getaway for the monsoon enthusiasts and many of them could be seen leaving their vehicle and taking a walk.
This fort earlier known by the name Kondana was captured by Tanaji Malusare a valiant general of Chatrapathi Shivaji in 1670 AD. He had used a monitor lizard – ghorpad in the local language to scale the this mountain. Kondana was then under the rules of the Mughals. It was in this exploit that the fort was captured but at the cost of Tanaji’s life. Saddened by the event – Shivaji remarked Gad aala pan sinha gela.
Sinhagad is synonymous to Pitla Bhakri and Kandha Bhajji. Bhakris are Indian breads made with Jowar (Sorghum) flour. This is the staple diet of the farmers of Maharashtra. Pitla is prepared by cooking chick pea flour with spices. The onions dipped in gram flour and deep fried – Kandha Bhajji is a fast food Indian snack and is a great company to a hot tea. You could find many stalls/ dhabha selling these items along with egg plant stir fry for the famished stomachs. If you would want to snack on something light there is a wide variety of boiled pea nuts, raw mangoes with a dash of spices, roasted maize and chanya manya bor ( small red berries).
Sinhagad is now in ruins and one can notice the crumbling walls and bastions. The two gates to the fort Kalyan Darwaza and Pune Darwaza still stand and speak of its yester years majestic days. There are many water tanks inside the fort and the well known ones are Ganesh Tanki and Dev Tanki (Tanki meaning – Tank). The water in Dev Tanki is considered to be potable and one can see the locals carrying water drawn from this tank. During the freedom struggle days it’s told that this fort housed Lokmanya Tilak. Chatrapathi Shivaji’s second son Rajaram’s memorial is also in this fort. One could worship Lord Kondeshwar in this temple just opposite to the Dev Tanki.
The visibility reduces during the monsoon as fog descends all around you. You could stroll into the bygone era of history and dwell into the thoughts of the brave spirit of Marathas, Peshwas.
It definitely was a walk through the clouds and you got to be there to experience it. Happy Walking Friends!!
- Nearest Railroad – Pune 30 km
- Nearest airport – Pune 30 km
- Regular state transport buses ply to Sinhagad from Pune