Vishalgad fort & Dargah are the famous places of interest near Kolhapur. Many adventure enthusiasts, history lovers & devotees visit here every year. Trek route of Panhala Vishalgad trek is also popular among adventure lovers. Vishalgad is blessed with rich historical background and good places.
LOCATION: 76 kms from North-West of Kolhapur, 60 kms north-west of Panhala, Kolhapur district, Maharashtra. It can be easily spotted from the highway because the fort is situated on a high mountain.
VISHALGAD FORT DARGAH INFORMATION:
Vishalgad fort was among the most prominent forts of Shivaji Maharaj. It was one of the important forts of Maratha Empire. It is also known as Khelna or Khilna Fort. Even today, it is among the most popular forts in the Maharashtra. Vishalgad literally means Massive Fort (Vishal means Massive and Gad means Fort). The name was given by Shivaji Maharaj after capturing it in 1659. This fort is also famous for an incident of Ghod Khind Battle.
Vishalgad is located at a huge height of 1130 meters (3630 feet) from mean sea level. The fort is located on a mountain that divides the region into two parts called Amba Ghat and Anaskura ghat. Its position is on the boundary of Sahyadri Mountain range and the Konkan region. So because of the strategic position of the fort, it was a good spot to keep eyes on both regions.
History Of Vishalgad:
The Vishalgad fort was built in the Shilahar dynasty of the 11th century. Since then the was under the control of various rules like Yadav’s, Khilji, Vijaynagar, Bahamani, Adilshahi and then under Maratha Empire.
Earlier, Khelna (Vishalgad) fort was under the command of Sultan Adilshah of Bijapur. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was very keen to capture this fort due to its rough terrain, strategic position & strong defensive nature. But these qualities themselves caused problems to Maratha army while attacking the Vishalgad fort. Maratha Army did attack the fort bravely but the troops of Adilshah defended the fort fearlessly.
Then, Maratha army made a different plan. So as per the plan, a small troop of Maratha army went up to the fort. They convinced the Fort commander (Killedar in Marathi) that they were not happy with the rule of Shivaji Maharaj so now they have a desire to serve the Sultan Adilshah.
Then they were given a permission to enter the fort. On next day, they made a riot inside the fort and caused total chaos inside the fort. At the same time, Shivaji Maharaj attacked the fort from outside. Due to this dual attack, Maratha army conquered the fort very easily. After then Shivaji Maharaj changed the name of the fort.
Ghod Khind Battle:
The battle of Ghod Khind was an important chapter in a life of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. When he escaped from the siege of Siddhi Jauhar to fort Panhala, he was about to get captured by the enemy in Ghodkhind (It is a narrow pass 15 kms before Vishalgad). At that time, Maratha commander-in-chief Bajiprabhu Deshpande requested the king to carry on to Vishalgad fort & give him a signal once he reaches safely on the fort. Then Bajiprabhu stood there like a wall to save his king, after promising to signal their safe arrival at the fort with the sound of cannon fire. Bajiprabhu Deshpande & his army fought brave hearty & defeated the enemy in the Ghod Khind. Many Maratha soldiers including Bajiprabhu Deshpande lost their lives in this battle.
Panhala Vishalgad Trek:
Being one of the best forts in Maharashtra, many hikers perform Panhala-Vishalgad Trek. Gajapur is the base village to the fort. A large number of trekkers & adventure seekers comes here to accomplish the Panhala Vishalgad Trek via Pavankhind with full of enthusiasm. Few adventure clubs also organize adventure activities like rock climbing & rappelling.
Places To See:
The main doorway of Vishalgad has disappeared with time. There is “Mundha Darwaja” to the right side. There are temples of Amruteshwar & Shri Narsinha. There is a Samadhi built in the memory of Bajiprabhu Deshpande & Phulaji Deshpande. In the monsoon, heavy rainfall gives rise to many splashing waterfalls in this region.
Vishalgad fort dargah of Hazrat Malik Rajhan at is visited by many pilgrims. It is built in the fort vicinity & thousands of devotees visit this dargah every year. There is a lake named Bhupal lake,the bank of the lake has a temple of Lord Shiva. The temple of Narsoba, Maruti, Vaghjai , Takmak Tok and Sati’s Vrindavan are some of the other sites to explore on the fort.
The fort wall of Vishalgad is very unique. Wall has been constructed on each fort curve. You have to cross the bridge on the valley to climb the fort.
BEST TIME TO VISIT: All year round. You can visit Vishalgad fort & dargah at any time of the year. In monsoon season, one can see amazing lush green surroundings and waterfalls at the fort.
TIME TAKEN: Minimum 4 hours are required to see the fort surroundings properly.
HOW TO REACH: Fort & dargah are well connected by public as private means of transport. You can reach here by ST buses, personal or hired vehicles. ST buses regularly ply from Kolhapur, Ratnagiri and Belgaon. The distance between Kolhapur and Vishalgad is about 81 kms.
- BY ROAD: Kolhapur is well connected to all major cities in the Maharashtra. Vishalgad is 76 kms away from Kolhapur so it is about 2-2.5 hours drive from Kolhapur city via Amba Ghat hill station. Once you reach Amba Ghat then ahead it is about 45-55 minutes drive. Good parking facilities are available at the fort.
- NEAREST RAIL STATION: Kolhapur is the nearest railway station to reach Vishalgad Fort & dargah. The distance between station & the fort is 81 kms. This railway station is connected to Pune, Mumbai, Nagpur & other major cities in the Maharashtra.
- NEAREST AIRPORT: Ratnagiri Airport is the nearest airport to the fort. It is about 90 kms from the fort.
EATING STUFF: Food is available at the top of the fort. There are some eateries on the top that serves mouthwatering food items. But it is advisable to carry your own food & sufficient water along with you.
STAY: Many hotels, lodges & resorts are available at Kolhapur for accommodation purpose. You can also stay at Sanatorium on the top of the Vishalgad fort. It is a comfortable 1-day visit from the Kolhapur city. One can also stay at Amba Ghat.
- Jyotiba Temple
- Narsobachi Wadi
- Gokak Falls
- Barkhi Waterfall
- Vishalgad Fort Forest.
MAP TO REACH: