From being the seat of power of the Maratha Empire to being known as the “Oxford of the East”, Pune can certainly boasts of amazingly rich heritage and a vibrant history.
Pune and it’s periphery hosts several historical monuments marking wars fought and forts conquered, including the birthplace of the founder of the Maratha Empire..
Shivneri Fort, the birthplace of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is situated in the city of Junnar, just 90 kilometres away from Pune.
Built in the 17th century, the fort has seven doorways and one needs to cross them all to explore this military fortification. It can be reached by road, but the struggle to find a parking space isn’t an easy task on busy tourist days. The fort is well surrounded by mud walls and you can also see ancient rock-cut caves while trekking up to the fort from the trekking trail.
Although there are small local restaurants at the forts base, stalls offering fresh cucumbers and lime soda are available right through. If you intend staying and exploring the city, there are hotels and restaurants in the town of Junnar, just 3 kilometres from the Shivneri Fort.
Inside the fort, the prayer hall, a tomb and a mosque are among the major buildings. Statues of Jijabai (Shivaji Mahraj’ mother) and the Young Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj can also be seen inside the fort. The crib of Shivaji Maharaj is there, still locked inside a room.
At the centre of the fort is a pond called the Badami Talav. The temple of Shivai Devi, the Goddess after whom Maharaj was named, can also be seen en route.
To the north is a steep overhanging. This narrow stretch known as the Kadelot Point from where the criminals who were given capital punishment were handcuffed and executed. From this point, one can also catch a glimpse of the Manikdoh Dam, Hadsar Fort and Fort Chavand.
The city of Junnar is also an abode for many other forts, cave temples and hiking spots. The cave temple of Lenyadri, one of the Ashtvainayak temples is also a famous attraction.
Agro-tourism is extensively practised in Junnar to attract visitors towards this lesser discovered city. Strolling on the roads can be potentially dangerous in view of the leopard spotting in this region.
Visit Junnar in the monsoons for verdant green trails, fresh air and a really picturesque view from the top.
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