||FortHeight : 3400 ft.|
|Type : Hill forts
||Fort Range : Lonavala|
|District : Pune
||Grade : Easy|
| Each and every fort built had a purpose mainly confined to war times, but the basic aim behind fort building was to guard the important routes on which trade takes place. Each and every fort is built to protect the 60 ghats in Sahyadri. Those, which belong to ancient times, include Shivneri, Rajgad, Lohgad and many others. Of them, Lohgad and Visapur, two forts are situated near Lonavala, a famous place near Pune. Lohgad is 2000 years old, and this is proved by the existence of Bhaje and Karla caves in its vicinity. The Buddhist followers who traveled all over to spread Buddhism carved these out. These were the places where they could get peace of mind, far from people, on high mountains. Thus the forts played a major role in preserving a great culture.
| Lohgad was one of the most important forts of Satwaahan Period, which takes us to 2000 to 2500 years back. Bhaje & Bedse caves where used by Buddhist monks to stay. These caves are situated in the mountain of Visapur. Sage Lomesh had been meditating on Lohgad, and this is why the fort is called so. It had been built with a primary intention to keep a watch on Nane Maval, Korbaarse Maval and Andhra Maval.
After the downfall of Bahmani kingdom, the fort went into the hands of Nizamshahi in 1489. Thereafter it remained with till 1630. When the brother of seventh Nizam named second Burhan ruled here (1590-1594), he was imprisoned on this fort. In 1630, the fort went under the control of Adilshah. Shivaji Maharaj captured it in 1648, two years after he captured Torna. Netaji Palkar was appointed to look after the fort and the surrounding region.
In 1665, Mirza raja Jaysingh invaded Purandar, and launched a major attack on the forts in Pune region. Villages nearby Lohgad became a victim of that. In March 1665, Kutubuddin attacked and looted the villages here. About 1500 soldiers came down from the fort, but could not sustain, and returned back. According to the treaty of Purandar, the fort went into the hands of Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb broke the treaty, and Shivaji Maharaj got it back in 1670. Aurangzeb recaptured it in 1700. Shahu Maharaj gave the fort to Kanhoji Angre. In 1720 it was under the control of Balaji Vishwanath. Nana Phadnis was an important personality amongst the Peshwas. He developed the fort a lot. He renovated the first, second and the fourth entrance of the fort. Jaavji Bomble and later Dhondopant Nitsure ruled under Nana Phadnis. He shifted his entire treasury on this fort, which was kept in Laxmi Kothi. Nana Phadnis passed away in 1800. His wife came here in 1802. Bajirao-II was an inefficient ruler, who was pro-British. General Wellesley was the person who insisted Dhondopant to be loyal to Bajirao. But it did not last long, and Dhondopant Nitsure’s man attacked Bajirao. Wellesley decided to capture the fort. In 1818 colonel Prother came here and captured Visapur. Lohgad came into his hands without firing a single bullet.
|Fascinating Spots :|
|Vinchu Kata :
| The fort houses many old constructions and much of its fortification is very intact. This becomes clear as we move. The entrances and the ramparts are as they were 200 years ago. As we enter the Ganesh Darwaaja, we come across an inscription on a rectangular stone. If it is not stone, one has to check every stone there. The words on it tell that the construction was initiated and done by Dhondopant under Nana Phadnis. Here are the galleries for guards.|
Between Narayan & Hanuman Darwaaja there are two go downs. These were used for storage of granary. After entering the Maha Darwaaja we come across an old 'Dargah'. Besides the Dargah we come across the remnants of the court. Going towards right we come across 'Laxmi Kothi'. It is a big cave where 50 people can stay. The Kothi has many rooms. On Lohgad Laxmi Kothi is the only place for us to stay. The treasury of Nana Phadnis was kept here. In front of this place are two cannons. Besides the cave are many other caves. On the northern side of the fort is a newly built Dargah. This is the tomb of Sheikh Umar. The history is interesting. Three Arabs named Sheikh Umar, Sheikh Salla and Sheikh Malang invaded Pune. Salla resided in Pune city and destroyed the temples. Malang went and stayed on what is known as Malanggad, near Kalyan. Umar seized Lohgad. A sage was meditating here. Umar threw him off the cliff and became the ruler here. Today his Dargah has gained importance as pilgrimage.
Going ahead from the old Dargah towards right there is small a temple of Lord Shiva. Going ahead we come across a small lake besides which there are drinking water reservoirs. This is only place on fort where we can get drinking water. After walking 15 to 20 min we come to a bigger lake, which was built by Nana Phadanavis. The lake is polygonal with 16 sides, and was constructed by Nana Phadnis. An inscription here tells us about that.
To the western side of the fort is 'Vinchu Kata', which reminds us of 'Sanjeevni Machi 'of Rajgad. It is 1500m long & 30m wide part of the mountain, separated from the main part. Viewing from the fort this portion looks like scorpion’s sting and hence it is called 'Vinchu Kata'. As named, this portion was to keep a watch on the surrounding region, and any activity of the enemy in its vicinity could be tackled. Ample quantity of water is available in this area. This 'Vinchu Kata' was used for keeping a watch on the nearby area. Here we can see some cannons. The bastion on the end of this machi is like the Armour of the fort.
|Bhaje Caves :
| The fort is not so big as the main forts, but it acquired significance due to its geographical location and the dominance of Buddhists and later the Satvaahans here. Building forts strengthened the peaks of Sahyadri, and the marvelous caves and sculptures beautified their faces. The artistic works not only reveal the cultural development, but also show an advanced architecture that is not achievable today. The caves of Ajantha and Verul are the best works, so are the caves of Karla and Bhaje. Karla caves are little farther from here, but Bhaje caves are near Malavali. The ancient Viharas and Stupas of Buddhists indicate that they were Heenyana Buddhists, who do not believe in idol worship. Mahayana Buddhists carved idols of Buddha. Here we can find 8 more Stupas. There is a temple, which is Surya-Mandir or Temple of Sun. the chariot of Sun God is carved here. The constructions here are highly astonishing, and remained intact even after more than 2000 years. The wooden planks used here have not degraded yet. The place is now under the care of ASI.|
|Ways To Reach :|
|1)From Malavali :|