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Shivneri Fort

Saturday, October 22, 2011



Shivneri is the birth place of Shivaji, the great Maratha warrior king.

It is located in Pune district, near Junnar on the outskirts of Pune city. It is located at a distance of around 125 km from Pune.


Shivneri fort from a distance
A large part of our school history had to do with Shivaji. So it seemed like a good idea to get an update on our history lessons. Nimish, one of my trek buddies, agreed and we made plans to see the fort.

I boarded the Indrani Express at Dadar at and Nimish joined me at Thane 15 minutes later. We bought a local ticket to Pune, boarded the unreserved compartment and made ourselves comfortable on the footboard near the door.


Temple, from where the road to Shiveri starts
For our pains, we were rewarded with scenic village views all the way to Pune. Wow! There is nothing like watching the rising sun from a train. The sight is to be seen to be believed.
View from Darwaja
 At around , we reached Pune station and trundled off to have some breakfast. A small hotel seemed to promise satisfaction. We had vada pav (potato patty mixed with chillies and masala served within a loaf of bread). Not content, we polished off some onion bhajjis and hot tea. Wow, what a way to start a day. With our stomachs full, we said, Junnar, here we come. We waited at the bus depot for about 30 minutes. But there was no sign of the bus. Finally a bus heading towards Junnar arrived. We ran to catch it, only to discover that it was just the two of us going to Junnar. We could take any seat we wanted.
View from the top
ST buses, also called Lal Dabbas (or red containers), are usually packed to capacity, with seats and the bus groaning under excess weight. Very often enterprising people will slip in their belongings from the windows in order to stake claim to a seat if there happens to be a big crowd. Of course, this leads to disagreements and hearty quarrels. Luckily none of this happened on our bus.

After inquiring with the bus conductor we boarded the bus. The distance from the depot to Junnar depot was roughly around 125 km. When he heard this, Nimish began to have second thoughts about the trip. I convinced him to go along, even though it would take us 2 hours to reach Junnar.


Ganesh Darwaja with the emblem of lion
The bus suddenly halted just fifteen minutes after we left the depot. The conductor collected Rs 120 per head as the ticket cost to Junnar and went shopping with the booty. The driver and conductor wanted to buy some soft toys from a local vendor who had his moveable outlet near the road. Leaving us to guard the bus.
Tombs
 After around 15 minutes, they arrived and we set out once again. We reached Junnar at . Again Nimish was confused about whether to go ahead and see Shivneri or whether it was better to go home. I somehow influenced his decision and Shivneri Fort became our destination.
Caves
We boarded another ST bus which would take us to the entrance of Shivneri fort; it took us around 20 minutes to reach the base of the fort. The bus was packed with people. We were standing on our toes and we thanked God for the little space we had.
Fortification
Reaching Junnar, we alighted at the Ganesh temple constructed near the road and then walked on to the fort. It was when we started our march up the fort. With rucksacks on our backs and the hot sun shining on us, we started. The road to the fort is made of tar, but it takes you only halfway up. From there, you need to climb a flight of stairs.


Very soon we reached the fort. The view from up here was amazing. We could see hill ranges and waterbeds in the distance, besides villages and square shaped farms in shades of green and brown, and the fortification of the fort on top.


Rooms atop the fort
We entered via the Ganesh Gate or Ganesh Darwaja atop which we saw carved emblems of lions. Atop the fort there was a small garden, a temple and a few caves. One of the caves had a stupa in it.

There were a few water tanks on the fort, but they were dirty. Of course, that didn’t stop the frogs from breeding in there.


birth place of Shivaji
From here I could see the entire way up, even the road we had taken to come up to Shivneri after we had alighted from the bus. We then entered the fort via Mena Gate and Kulup Gate.
structure atop the fort
Finally we reached Amberkhana. Here we visited a few structures which could have been palaces or store houses at one time. It was hard to tell. Later we reached the place where Shivaji was born. It was a one-storey square shaped structure with a protruding balcony at the top. The balcony had five windows, three front facing and the other two on the sides. The balcony was very neatly carved. It was all very marvellous.

Badami tank


A stairway takes one up to the first storey. The ground floor is locked but the doors still offer a glimpse of a statue of Shivaji and the cradle in which he used to sleep. The doors of this structure have been treated with a coat of varnish, giving them a very new appearance and taking away their charm. They should have been left the way they were.

There was a Badami Tank close by, but it was empty.
Kadelot point
Kamani Tank and Ganga Jamuna Tank are waterbeds carved out in the rocks. There are pillars in the tanks. The water has turned green over the years, and is obviously unfit for drinking.

There are a few structures on the fort. One of these houses the bronze statues of Shivaji and Jijabai. It also contains a painting showing Shivaji sitting on a throne, while holding court.




Shivaji's cradle
From Kadelot Point one can see the entire city below. It is truly beautiful.

Two tombs are situated atop the fort but there is no mention of whose they are.

After exploring the fort for around two hours, we decided to head back home.

At we had reached the bus stop. Getting a vehicle to take us to Junnar was quite a task. With no buses in sight, we decided to board a tum tum to Junnar.

Even the tum tums were packed with people, with people shooting out from all the exit points. Luckily we got one and reached Junnar. From there, we boarded a bus to Bangar Phata. It took us 30 minutes to reach there.


Door to Shivaji birthplace


By now, I was exhausted. I had no energy to do anything. So I sat there eating a few bananas, while Nimish tried hard to get us a ride to Kalyan. All this while ST buses, transport vehicles and dumper trucks, all packed, whizzed by.

Finally after 45 minutes, we finally got an air-conditioned ride to Kalyan in a Mahindra Xylo for just Rs 100 per head. Now that is a steal! At , we were at Kalyan station from where we boarded a train to Andheri.


Painting of Shivaji in his Darbar
One lesson learned from this trip was that it is better to carry food and water, as there are no hotels around the fort.

Finally we got home tired and exhausted, but still raring to go on the next trip.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Overall Nicely brief along with snapshots.
Good one. Keep it up. - Laxman

Anonymous said...

Whenever I go through your blogs it gives me the feeling that I am missing the adventure life...

Any how... thanks for sharing your experience... Thums Up

Himanshu said...

Nicely written

Mervin Pates said...

Hey gr8 job bro !!! u have done amazing research on this with equally amazing pics. Would like 2 see more of it.- Mervin Pates

merod22 said...

Thanks Guys, Appreciate it
Please do give me your feedback on my other posts too and FOLLOW my work on blogger if you like my posts.

Binoy said...

wonderful

merwynsrucksack said...

Thanks Binoy

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