History of Harishchandragad
The history surrounding the Harishchandragad Fort is linked with the Malshej Ghat, which is a mountain pass in the Western Ghats range. The fort played a major role in guarding and controlling the surrounding region.
As per the various ancient Puranas like the Matsya Purana, Agni Purana and Skanda Purana, there are references which suggest that the origin of the Harishchandragad Fort dates back to the 6th century, during the rule of the Kalachuri dynasty. Carvings on several of the structures within the fort premises indicate that the fort belonged to the medieval period.
There was a citadel within the fort premises that was built during the 6th century and by the 11th century, several caves were carved out, that housed the idol of Lord Vishnu. The various constructions on the fort and those existing in the surrounding region point to the existence of a diversity in culture in the region.
Before the fort was captured by the Mughals, it was controlled by the Mahadev Koli tribe and by 1747; it was under the control of the Maratha Empire.
Overview of Harishchandragad
The caves of Harishchandragad are spread out all over the fort and many of these are situated at the foot of the Taramati peak, also popularly known as Taramanchi. There are other caves which are near the temples of Harishchandreswar and Nageshwar, whereas some are near the citadel and some far away in the forests. A 30 ft deep natural cave is on the north western side of the fort, to the right of Kokan Kada. Other than these, many other caves are still said to remain undiscovered.
Visiting Information on Harishchandragad
Harishchandragad lies where the boundaries of Thane, Pune and Ahmednagar districts converge and is thus easily accessible via roadways. The nearest railway station is at Igatpuri at a distance of almost 81 km from the fort and the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai is the closest at a distance of 202 km from Harishchandragad.
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