Located in the strategic location of Maval taluka in Pune district these twin forts played a very important role in pre-British era of Indian history.
To get to the fort from Pune, one to get a local heading Lonavala and get down at Malavli. And for the ones coming from Mumbai, reach Lonavala and then take local to Malavli. The forts are located at about 2.5km from the station. Also located here are the Buddhist Bhaja caves-a set of 22 caves dating back to 200 B.C. similar to it’s counterparts Karla caves located near Karla village after crossing the NH4.
From the base village one can start walking towards the Bhaja caves. The road to the fort is near the caves.
STRATEGIC LOCATION :
The forts are a boon by nature, because they are rightly the twins. Located in the mighty Sahyadris the twin forts divide the Pavana-Indrayani basin and stand as mighty guards to the trade route connecting the Deccan plateau to the Kokan. And the whole Maval area is blessed by nature giving the empire having control over the area an extra edge over the invading enemies.
MILITARY MARVEL :
The path towards the fort is such that one feels that he is walking towards Visapur when he is actually walking towards Lohgad. Designed in such a way that the enemy could see only the fortified walls of Visapur fort inspite of walking towards Lohgad fort provided extra time for the well fortified Lohgad fort to prepare for the battle. The forts of Tung and Tikona are also located in the Maval area which mainly served as watch towers for the twin forts giving them time to prepare for the battle. The fort of Korigad is also loacated in the area. The large Pavana basin adding to an advantage. Excellent water sources on the forts making it ready for long battles. Thus making the whole area a strong military war field.
Height from sea level : 3450 feet ( 1052m ).
The fort of Lohgad is itself one the best built forts of the Maratha empire. The fort is so excellently fortified that to capture a gate one has to face attacks from 3 sides of the above fortifications and there are such 4 fortified gates (1. Ganesh ; 2. Narayan ; 3. Hanuman ; 4. Mahadarwaja ) making the fort highly invincible. The fort is naturally fortified from it’s major sides by natural cliffs. The fort has a long portion of fortified mountain which resembles a Scorpian tail and derives it’s name from it “ विंचू काटा “. It measues 1500m in length and is 30m wide. It has a water tank in between which was supposedly used near large canons. This part of the fort served as place to keep an eye on the places around the fort. The fort has two large water tanks – one octagonal in shape and the other having 16 sides. The fort has grain storages in the bastioned gates itself. The Ganesh and Narayan darwajas (gates) have Rice ( 5m x 4m x 3m ) and Nachani ( 10m x 10m x 4m ) storages. The fort to date is surrounded by dense forests. And proves itself as strong fort.
HISTORY OF LOHGAD :
- The fort has a long history dating back to several ancient dynasties in the order of their command over the fort : Satavahanas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Yadavas, Bahamanis, Nizamshahis, Mughals and the Marathas.
- Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj had captured the fort in 1648 A.D. but had to surrender it to the Mughals under the treaty of Purandar in 1665 A.D.
- The fort didn’t stay in the Mughal hands for a long time for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj recaptured it in 1670 A.D. after his famous escape from Agra.
- The fort was used to keep the treasury the Marathas acquired during the “The Loot of Surat”.
- It was in the vicinity of this fort where Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj used to meet Sant Tukaram- a saint.
- The fort after the Maratha war of independence was under the control of Sarkhel Kanoji Angre- the naval chief of the Maratha forces around 1700 A.D.
- Nana Phadnis who was the advisor to the Peshwas renovated the fort by building the outer fortifications making it more invincible by buiding the Ganesh and Narayan darwaja (gates).
- It is said that in the right or left bastion of the Ganesh darwaja , a couple of Sable family was buried alive in return of Patilki (head) of the village to their heirs.
- Hanuman darwaja is the oldest gate on the fort.
- The fort has a tomb of one of the Nizamshahi begaum.
VISAPUR FORT :
Height from sea level : 3556 feet ( 1084m ).
The Visapur fort is the twin fort of the Lohgad fort. The fort has a higher elevation than Lohgad. The fort had excellent fortifications and natural protection giving it an added advantage. The fort has water tank and storage tanks for food making it sustainable for long wars. The fort is well surrounded by dense forests from all sides .
HISTORY OF VISAPUR FORT :
- The Visapur fort was built by Balaji Vishwanath-the first Peshwa to Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj in the earlier 18th century A.D.
- There are alot of Hanuman temples around and on the fort which suggest it being the patron deity of the Visapur fort.
THE FALL OF LOHGAD-VISAPUR FORTS :
In 1818, when reducing the Peshwa’s forts, the strength of Lohagad and its fame as the treasury of the Maratha kingdom, caused the English to make special preparations for its attack. A detachment of 380 European and 800 native soldiers, with a battering train, summoned from Konkan, were joined by artillery from Chakan, and two other British battalions. On 4 March,1818, Visapur was attacked and occupied.
Making use of its higher elevation and proximity to Lohagad,, the British troops set up their cannons on Visapur and bombarded Lohgad, forcing the Marathas to leave the fort. Thus, in 1818, Lohagad-Visapur was taken over by the British in 1818 AD and placed under the command of a Colonel Prother. Considering, the strategic importance of Visapur and the fear of revolt in the future by the Maratha army by using the fort, both the north (Konkan) and the south (Deccan) gateways were blown up, and except a few huts, nothing was left standing.