When the construction of this castle was started, there was not much time in the king’s hands and the work was finished in a hurry. In Marathi language, ‘Avchit’ means hurry and ‘gad’ means fort. Hence, the name Avchitgad came into existence after the advent of Maratha Rule in Western part of India.
History of Avchitgad Fort
Avchitgad Fort was constructed by Shilahar rulers. These kings were originally from Kolhapur, Maharashtra. They were the followers of Jainism and later started believing in the principles of Lord Shiva. It is also assumed that the reason they choose to build this fort here is because of the jungle towards one side of the hill which was considered as a safety of the castle.
Eventually, the fort was occupied by the Nizam of Ahmednagar. Later Chhatrapati Shivaji Bhonsle, the great Maratha Emperor, also captured the fort. He strengthened the fortifications and renovated the structure. In 1818, the forces of British East India Company, under the leadership of Colonel Prother, captured the fortress from the Peshwas during the Third Anglo Maratha War. The British also occupied various other forts in the nearby areas during this period.
Structure of the Avchitgad Fort
The shape of the hill on which it is built is similar to a horse' shoe. There are two entrance gates. On entering the gate, one can view a bastion on the southern side which was used to keep a vigil. The wall of the bastion has some inscription engraved on it. It says that some kind of reconstruction work was conducted in 1796.
The second entrance gate leads to a water tank and Lord Khandoba's statue. From the top standing at the parapet, one can see the beautiful surroundings as far as the eyes can capture. During the monsoon, one can see the dense forest from the top on the south. The forest is habituated by foxes, leopards, monkeys, etc. Glimpses of other closer forts are also possible from the top. Telbaila, Sarasgad, Dhangad, Sudhagad and Raigad are those ruined fortress that can also be viewed.
Inside the fortress, there is a vast water tank which stored and supplied water to the residents of the fort for bathing and washing purpose. There were six other smaller reservoirs near the large water tank. These tanks were probably used for drinking purposes. Even now, the water from two of these small tanks is potable. A temple devoted to Goddess Pingalsai and a small shrine built to commemorate Sardar Baji Pasalkar is present in the premise of Avchitgad Fort. There are a few handfuls of cannons still at the top.
Places to visit nearby the Avchitgad Fort
Apart from the scenic beauty of the Avchitgad Fort, there are also some nearby attractions that are also visited by the trekkers. Some of them are:
How to Reach Avchitgad Fort
The Avchitgad Fort is easily accessible from both Pune and Mumbai by both roadways. From Mumbai, it is 185 km and from Pune 130 km. Several buses and taxis are available to reach the fort. The nearest rail station is the Nagpur Rail Station and the nearest airport is the Pune Airport from where visitors can reach the Avchitgad Fort.
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