Raigad is a hill fort situated in the Mahad, Raigad district of Maharashtra, India. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj built this fort and made it his capital in 1674 when he was crowned as the King of a Maratha Kingdom which later developed into the Maratha Empire, eventually covering much of western and central India.
The fort rises 820 metres (2,700 ft) above the sea level and is located in the Sahyadri mountain range. There are approximately 1737 steps leading to the fort. The Raigad Ropeway, an aerial tramway exists to reach the top of the fort in 10 minutes. The fort was looted and destroyed by the British after it was captured in 1818.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj seized the fort in 1656, then known as the fort of Rairi from Chandrarrao More, a feudatory of the Sultan of Bijapur. Shivaji Maharaj renovated and expanded the fort of Rairi and renamed it as Raigad (King’s Fort). It became the capital of Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaja’s maratha kingdom.
The villages of Pachad and Raigadwadi are located at the base of the Raigad fort. These two villages were considered very important during the Maratha rule in Raigad. The actual climb to the top of the Raigad fort starts from Pachad. During Chhatrapati Shivaji’s rule, A cavalry of 10,000 was always kept on standby in Pachad village.
After capturing Rairi from Chandrarao More, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj also built another fort Lingana around 2 miles away from Raigad. The Lingana fort was used to keep prisoners.
In 1689, Zulfikhar Khan captured Raigad and Aurangzeb renamed it as Islamgad. In 1707, Siddi Fathekan captured the fort and held it until 1733.
In 1765, The fort of Raigad along with Malwan in present Sindhudurg District, the southernmost district of Maharashtra, was the target of an armed expedition by the British East India Company, which considered it a pratical stronghold.
In 1818, the fort was bombarded and destroyed by cannons from the hill of Kalkai. And on 9 May 1818, as per the treaty, it was handed over to the British East India Company.