Forts Near Pune - Historical Heritage

The ancient forts of Maharashtra are a living testament to the state's rich culture and history. Most of these forts are dotted along the Western Ghats and have been used as military bases and residential complexes by the Maratha Empire for years. Some of these forts were built in the 11th century and since then have been captured and re-captured by many empires. Placed strategically along the mountains, these forts have witnessed some of the most important events in the history of India. A visit to one of these forts will bring you a little closer to our bygone era. 

Scroll down and check out the list of some captivating forts near Pune:

Within 0 to 50 kilometres

1. Sinhagad

Sinhagad Fort Near Pune

Image Source: Wikipedia.org

Sinhagad has been one of the most important landmarks of the Maratha history. This fort offers glimpses of the supreme efforts and bravery shown by the Maratha army and the Mavals who fought to maintain their freedom and dignity. The caves and stone-structures present here suggest that this fort was built almost 1000 years ago. Earlier known as Kondana, Sinhagad today is a popular weekend getaway among the youngsters. There are many eateries here that offer lip-smacking Maharashtrian food like Pithla, Matki Usal, Bhakri, and Kanda Bhaji. 

  • Trekking: Yes.
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Camping: No
  • Best time to visit: June to March
  • Distance from Pune: 38 kilometres

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2. Tikona 

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Located in the district of Pune along the Western Ghats, Tikona Fort was captured by Shivaji Maharaj in 1657 along with many other forts like Mahuli and Lohagad. From 1585 to 1657, this fort was under the rule of Malik Ahmed Nizamshah of the Nizam dynasty. The Fort is not a very big one and as you move up, you will see many caves and cisterns that were built in the earlier days for the purpose of water storage. 

  • Trekking: Yes.
  • Difficulty level: Medium
  • Camping: Yes. Accommodation can be arranged inside a cave
  • Best time to visit: October to March
  • Distance from Pune: 50 kilometres
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Within 50 to 100 kilometres

3. Rajmachi Fort:

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Rajmachi Fort is located near Lonavala and is one of the most visited forts in Maharashtra. This one of the most famous forts near pune consists of two fortresses: Shrivardhan and Manaranjan. This fort was captured by Shivaji Maharaj who ruled over it for almost 50 years before the Mughals took over. The Maratha empire regained control over this fort in the early 18th century. Visit Rajmachi Fort and witness its brilliant architecture, strong walls, massive entry gates, water reservoirs, and secret passageways. 

  • Trekking: Yes.
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Camping: Yes. Accommodation in tents is available.  
  • Best time to visit: June to February  
  • Distance from Pune: 82 kilometres

4. Visapur Fort:

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Visapur Fort is a part of the Lohagad-Visapur fortification and is located near Lonavala. This fort was built by Balaji Vishwanath, who was the first Peshwa of the Maratha Empire. During the treaty of Mahuli, this fort went into the hands of Mughals but was recaptured by the Maratha Empire by 1660. Visapur Fort is at a higher elevation than Lohagad Fort. The fort has many caves, temples, stone arches and water reservoirs. 

  • Trekking: Yes.
  • Difficulty level: Moderate
  • Camping: No.  
  • Best time to visit: September to February  
  • Distance from Pune: 62 kilometres

Check Out: Places to Visit Near Pune in Monsoon

5. Torna 

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Torna was the first fort that Shivaji Maharaj captured at the young age of 16. It was after taking control of this fort that he started his journey of building the Maratha Empire. Shivaji Maharaj started building many fortifications here as a part of the empire's defence strategy. The fort has two temples, one dedicated to Goddess Toranjai and the other to Goddess Menghai. Torna fort is one of the tallest forts in Maharashtra and some of the attractions here include Zunzar Machi, Budhala Machi, Binicha Darwaja and Konkan Darwaja. It is one of the most popular one day treks near Pune.

  • Trekking: Yes.
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Camping: No
  • Best time to visit: June to February
  • Distance from Pune: 70 kilometres

6. Shivneri 

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

One of the most important forts in India that changed the course of Indian history, Shivneri Fort is the birthplace of the great Maratha Emperor, Shivaji Maharaj. Here, on 19th February 1630, in a citadel next to the Shivai temple, Shivaji Maharaj was born. He spent most of his childhood at Shivneri Fort, learning scriptures and various forms of warfare. The fort is today a popular attraction among the history buffs. Attractions here include Badami Talav and Shivai Temple along with many other Buddhist caves. 

  • Trekking: Yes.
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Camping: Yes. 
  • Best time to visit: June to February
  • Distance from Pune: 95 kilometres

7. Lohgadh 

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Lohgadh is located near Lonavala and served as a treasury of the Maratha empire. This fort was built in the 18th century by Maharaja Surajmal and is a great example of strategic craftsmanship. Over the years, many dynasties like Satavahanas, Chalukyas and the Marathas have occupied this fort. You will find many small ponds and temples along your way up the fort. Places to see at Lohagad include Ganesh Darwaja, Narayan Darwaja, Hanuman Darwaja and Maha-Darwaja. Also located here are the 2000-year-old Buddhist caves. 

  • Trekking: Yes
  • Difficulty level: Easy 
  • Camping: No. 
  • Best time to visit: July to February 
  • Distance from Pune: 65 kilometres

Check Out: Best Offbeat Places Near Pune

8. Rajgad

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

One of the oldest forts in Maharashtra, it is believed that Brahmarshi lived here. This fact is further confirmed by the existence of 'Shri. Brahmarshi Devasthan' here. Initially known as Murumbdev, Rajgad was conquered by Ahmed Bahiri of Ahmednagar in 1490. Rajgad was an important base of the Hindavi Swarajya operations before its base was shifted to Raigad in 1672. Places of interest at Rajgad include Padmavati, Sanjivani and Suvela Machi, a military base and residential zone; Padmavati Temple; Rajwada; Pali Darwaja and many other citadels.  This is one of the most visited forts near Pune.

  • Trekking: Yes.
  • Difficulty level: Medium
  • Camping: No
  • Best time to visit: June to February
  • Distance from Pune: 66 kilometres

9. Tung Fort

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Tung Fort is located close to the Pawana Lake near Lonavala and is surrounded by water on three sides. The fort is conical in shape and requires you to climb steep steps to reach the top. This fort was built by the Adil Shahi dynasty in 1600 and was later captured by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Along the way, you will find many fort walls, bastions and a few temples. 

  • Trekking: Yes.
  • Difficulty level: Medium 
  • Camping: No
  • Best time to visit: September to February
  • Distance from Pune: 89 kilometres

10. Purandar Fort

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Purandar fort was built by the Bahamani Sultans in the 14th century and remained in the hands of Nizamshahi rulers till 1596. This fort was given to Maloji Bhosale, grandfather of Shivaji Maharaj. After struggling to keep command over this fort, Shivaji Maharaj could finally recapture this fort from Mughals in 1670. Later in the 19th century, Purandar was used by the Britishers to keep German war prisoners. Sightseeing at Purandar Fort includes Delhi Darwaja, Kedareshwar, Bini Darwaja and Purandar Machi. 

  • Trekking: Yes.
  • Difficulty level: Easy 
  • Camping: Yes. But needs prior permission.
  • Best time to visit: July to February
  • Distance from Pune: 56 kilometres

Check Out: Best Trekking Places in India

11. Vajragad – Purandar Fort

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Located on the mountain called Indraneel, Vajragad and Purandar are twin forts located close to Pune. Purandar Fort is named after Lord Indra and was conquered by Chandrasen Deshpande of Bidar. It was later captured by Hasan Gangu, a Bahamani King, in the mid-14th century. The fort has many superstitions associated with it but was finally captured by Shivaji's commander Nilopant Muzumdar in 1670. The fort has many residential complexes, two churches, and water ponds. Also located here is the samadhi of Murar Baji Deshpande, a Maratha general who defended the fort against Diler Khan. On the other hand, the fort of Vajragad Fort for its rough terrain. The forts of Purandar and Vajragad are separated by Bhairavkhind. 

  • Trekking: Yes
  • Difficulty level: Medium. 
  • Camping: Yes. Accommodation can be arranged in tents.
  • Best time to visit: August to March
  • Distance from Pune: 55 kilometres.

Within 100 to 200 kilometres

12. Harishchandragadh 

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Harishchandragad is located near Malshej Ghat and is most famous for its viewpoint, Konkan Kada that offers breath-taking views of the Konkan region. It Fort that Sant Changdev completed his manuscript 'Tatwasaar' here. Some of the places of attraction at Harishchandragad are Kedareshwar Cave, Konkan Kada, Taramati Peak and Harishchandra Temple. This fort near Pune is popular among the trekkers, as Harishchandragad is considered to be one of the most challenging treks in Maharashtra

  • Trekking: Yes.
  • Difficulty level: Difficult
  • Camping: Yes.  Accommodation in tents and caves is available.
  • Best time to visit: October to March
  • Distance from Pune: 172 kilometres

13. Prabalgad 

Image Source: Dinesh Valke/flickr.com

Situated between Matheran and Panvel, Prabalgad is a fort was built by the Bahmani Sultanate to keep an eye on the nearby forts of Panvel and Kalyan. This fort was built at the peak of a rocky plateau and offers a 360-degree panoramic view of the Western Ghats. Prabalgad is not for novice trekker as this fort offers one of the most challenging treks. 

  • Trekking: Yes.
  • Difficulty level: Difficult
  • Camping: No. 
  • Best time to visit: October to March
  • Distance from Pune: 120 kilometres

Check Out: Trekking Places near Mumbai

14. Vikatgad Peb Fort

Image Source: Wikipedia.org

Vikatgad Fort is also known as Peb Fort and is named after Pebi Devi. It is believed that the disciples of Swami Samarth lived here for many years. This fort is located in the Matheran Hill Range and was primarily built to store food and grains. The fort has many rock patches, caves, and dense forest regions that will make your visit even more exciting. 

  • Trekking: Yes.
  • Difficulty level: Difficult
  • Camping: No. 
  • Best time to visit: October to March
  • Distance from Pune: 138 kilometres

15. Nandgiri Fort

Nandgiri Fort, also known as Kalyangad, was built by King Bhoj-II in the early 12th century. You will find a lot of prominent Jain influence here in the form of copper plate inscriptions, scriptures and statues of Lord Parshvanath that are found in the caves. In the year 1673, Shivaji Maharaj conquered this fort and was later won by the Peshwas. On the fort, you will find a temple of Lord Hanuman. As you reach the top of the fort, you will be greeted with the views of nearby forts like Ajikyantara, Vandan and Vairatgad

  • Trekking: Yes.
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Camping: Yes. Accommodation can be arranged in Hanuman temple.  
  • Best time to visit: June to February 
  • Distance from Pune: 117 kilometres

Check Out: Historical Caves in India

16. Raigad

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Raigad has been the most prominent fort in the history of Maratha Empire. This fort, located in the Raigad district has witnessed many important events in the life of Shivaji Maharaj. The Coronation ceremony of Shivaji Maharaj took place here in 1674. In 1680, Shivaji Maharaj passed away here, on this fort. After his death, Mughal emperor Aurangzeb started his conquest to capture this fort. In the year 1689, Mughals captured this fort and renamed it as Islamgad but the Marathas regained this fort in 1733 before it was destroyed by the British. 

  • Trekking: Yes.
  • Difficulty level: Medium
  • Camping: No
  • Best time to visit: June to February
  • Distance from Pune: 130 kilometres

Plan your stay at these jungle resorts near pune!

17. Chandan – Vandan Fort

Image Source: Wikipedia.org

Chandan-Vandan is a twin fort located on flat plateaus along the Western Ghats of Maharashtra. These forts were built by Bhoj II of Shilahar dynasty in the 12th century and were captured by Shivaji Maharaj in 1673. Fort Chandan has a Shiva temple, a mosque and statue of Lord Hanuman. Panchvad (a group of five banyan trees) is also located here. Fort Vandan has two entrances. Here you will find a temple of Lord Ganesha and door arches with Persian inscriptions on them.  Easy to reach, these forts also have many natural lakes. 

  • Trekking: Yes.
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Camping: Yes. Accommodation can be arranged inside a mosque situated on this fort.  
  • Best time to visit: October to March
  • Distance from Pune: 100 kilometres

Must Visit: Jungle resorts near Mumbai

18. Pratapgad 

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Pratapgad was built by Moropant Trimbak Pingle as per the orders of Shivaji Maharaj in 1656. Located close to the town of Mahabaleshwar, Pratapgad is known for the battle between Shivaji Maharaj and Afzal Khan in 1659 that led to the death of Afzal Khan. Attractions at Pratapgad include Bhavani Temple, beautiful fort walls and citadels. From the top, you get a beautiful view of the nearby forts and valleys such as Raigad, Makarandgad, Radtondicha ghat and Konkan.

  • Trekking: Yes.
  • Difficulty level: Medium
  • Camping: No.
  • Best time to visit: July to March
  • Distance from Pune: 140 kilometres

19. Jivdhangad 

Image Source: Wikipedia.org

Jivdhan Fort has been passed down many kingdoms before it was finally acquired by the British in 1818. The last emperor of Adilshahi, Murtaza was kept prisoner here before Shahaji Maharaj released him and declared him a King of Ahmednagar. The fort has many storehouses and water tanks and has been an important military fortification. Today, a popular trekking destination, this fort is not for the beginners. The trek involves passing through dense jungles and climbing rocks using ropes.

  • Trekking: Yes.
  • Difficulty level: Difficult 
  • Camping: Yes. Accommodation can be arranged inside a cave
  • Best time to visit: October to March
  • Distance from Pune: 122 kilometres

20. Vardhangad

Image Source: Wikipedia.org

Vardhangad was built under the supervision of Shivaji Maharaj in 1673 and was completed within one year. This fort was initially used as an outpost to guard the newly acquired territories on the east. Places to see here include many bastions, cannons, water cisterns and Temple of Vardhinidevi Mata.

  • Trekking: Yes.
  • Difficulty level: Easy 
  • Camping: Yes. Accommodation can be arranged in Vardhinidevi temple.  
  • Best time to visit: July to February
  • Distance from Pune: 130 kilometres

21. Korlai Fort

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Korlai is a Portuguese fort located on the island of Moro de Chaul. Korlai Fort is also called Castle Curlew or EL Moro. Korlai was built in 1521 after the Portuguese received permission from the Sultanate of Ahmednagar. The fort has since then moved from the hands of the Portuguese to the Sultanate of Ahmednagar back into the hands of the Portuguese before finally moving into the hands of the Maratha Empire. Located close to Alibaug, this fort is a must visit.

  • Trekking: Yes
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Camping: No
  • Best time to visit: August to March
  • Distance from Pune: 162 kilometres

22. Murud - Janjira Fort

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

This sea fort is located in the Arabian Sea and visiting this fort can be quite a thrilling experience. Murud Janjira was built by the Siddi dynasty and is known for being undefeated over the years. Several empires tried to attack this fort but due to its strategic location, failed to conquer it. The fort is in ruins today and has a 5-storied palace, a fresh water lake, many bastions and cannons made of five different metals. To reach this fort, you will need to take a ferry. 

  • Trekking: No
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Camping: No
  • Best time to visit: October to March
  • Distance from Pune: 180 kilometres

23. Revdanda fort

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Revdanda Fort is located close to Alibaug and was built by the Portuguese. This fort is located along the coast of the Arabian Sea. The fort area is covered with many coconut trees which add to the beauty of this fort. The fort has a 4-storey defence tower and a few cannons. The fort also has a Chapel of St. Francis Xavier where he is believed to have delivered many sermons. 

  • Trekking: No
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Camping: No
  • Best time to visit: August to March
  • Distance from Pune: 155 kilometres

24. Karnala fort

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Karnala Fort is located within the Karnala Bird Sanctuary, close to the city of Panvel. This fort was built in the 14th century under the guidance of Devagiri Yadavs and the Tughlaq rulers and was the capital of the north Konkan districts for their respective empires. The fort was later captured by many empires before Shivaji Maharaj finally took it over from the Portuguese. A trek to this fort offers a beautiful view of the surrounding green landscapes and involves climbing a steep staircase with a shaky metal railing. 

  • Trekking: Yes
  • Difficulty level: Medium
  • Camping: No
  • Best time to visit: October to March
  • Distance from Pune: 123 kilometres

25. Fort Ajinkyatara

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Fort Ajinkyatara was built by Shilhar King Bhoj II in the late 12th century as a part of the kingdom's regime in the Panhala region. By 1673, Shivaji Maharaj made this fort his fourth capital and used it as a military base to control his defence operations. The fort is built in stone and is standing tall even today. Places of interest at Ajinkyatara include Hanuman temple, Mangaladevi temple, Tara Rani and many sculptures. 

  • Trekking: Yes
  • Difficulty level: Easy 
  • Camping: Yes. Accommodation can Fort in the Hanuman temple
  • Best time to visit: August to March
  • Distance from Pune: 116 kilometres.

26. Chavand 

The Chavand Fort was built by The Satvahanas. After having been ruled by the Mughals for a few years, this fort was taken over by Shivaji Maharaj in 1672 who renamed the fort as Prasannagad. In the early 19th century, British acquired this fort and destroyed most of the monuments here. Today the fort is in ruins and visiting the fort is quite challenging. The steep steps to this fort can be climbed by using the metal railing.

  • Trekking: Yes
  • Difficulty level: Medium. 
  • Camping: Yes. Accommodation can be arranged in tents.
  • Best time to visit: October to March
  • Distance from Pune: 105 kilometres.

27. Raireshwar 

Raireshwar Fort has been one of the most important forts in the history of Maratha Empire. It was here at the Raireshwar Mandir that Shivaji Maharaj took the oath of "Maratha Samrajya" at the age of 16. A trekkers' paradise, the fort also offers great views of the surrounding landscapes. Come monsoon and you will see many flowers bloom here which adds to the beauty of the place. 

  • Trekking: Yes
  • Difficulty level: Easy. 
  • Camping: Yes. Accommodation can be arranged in tents.
  • Best time to visit: August to March
  • Distance from Pune: 115 kilometres.

28. Sarasgad 

Sarasgad Fort has been an important fort that aided the military operations of the Maratha Empire. The fort was built on a mountain that has four pinnacles and was thus used for the purpose of keeping watch on the nearby regions. There are many caves located here which also helped soldiers take shelter during the time of the war. There are ten water tanks along with many steps that have been carved in stones. One of the main attractions at Sarasgad is the Dindi Darvaja. The rough terrain makes trekking here quite challenging.

  • Trekking: Yes
  • Difficulty level: Difficult. 
  • Camping: Yes. Accommodation can be arranged in tents.
  • Best time to visit: October to February
  • Distance from Pune: 120 kilometres.

29. Sudhagad 

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Dating back to the 2nd century, this fort was earlier called Bhrorapgad. The Marathas took over the fort from the Bahamani Sultan in 1657 and Shivaji Maharaj renamed the fort as Sudhagad. Sudhagad was Shivaji Maharaj's first choice as the capital of his kingdom but later chose Raigad due to the latter's strategic location. Sudhagad has two Shiva temples, numerous other ruins, a granary, tombs and a few lakes that you can visit. 

  • Trekking: Yes
  • Difficulty level: Medium. 
  • Camping: Yes. Accommodation can be arranged in tents.
  • Best time to visit: October to February
  • Distance from Pune: 133 kilometres.

It is said that the Marathas had control over 300 forts across the state of Maharashtra. These forts have, time and again, proved to be great examples of excellent military strategies and well-executed administration. A visit to one of these forts will surely leave you enthralled.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
AADITEE KULKARNI AADITEE KULKARNI

Ever since my first trip at the age of 4, I’ve been fascinated to explore places around the world. Lover of world cultures, food, souls and all things blue; I spend most part of my day writing about travel. I also travel with my buddies when my boss approves my leaves.

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