Pratapgad Fort! The Historical site of the epic encounter between Chhatrapati Shivaji and Bijapur general Afzal Khan.
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Located in Satara district in the Western State of Maharashtra, Pratapgad Fort is a massive fort that is otherwise known as ‘Valour Fort’. This particular fortress has a remarkable historical background as it played a key role in the battle which basically gives rise to the Maratha Empire. Exuberantly situated amidst the verdant atmosphere, the fortress is now the famously known tourist destination. The popular fort naturally located at 1,080 meters that is 3,540 ft above the sea level and is 15 km from Poladpur and 23 km west of Mahabaleshwar which is a popular hill station in the area.
Teeming with a green atmosphere, the fortress of Pratapgad was completely built-in 1656 which was under the command of the Maratha King, Chhatrapati Shivaji. Back in the 1650s, the young and vibrant Maratha King Chhatrapati Shivaji commanded his Peshwa or Prime Minister, Moropant Trimbak Pingle to keep an eye on the construction of a strategic fort in the Western Indian state of Maharashtra. The main reason to build the new two-level fort of Pratapgad or Valour Fort was to defend the banks of the Nira and Koyna rivers and the strategic Par pass. And what happened next? Three years later the renowned Adilshahi general Afzal Khan marcahed towards Pratapgad intending to destroy the Marathas entirely. However, the Brave-Hearted Shivaji was not fallen at Afzal’s plan but with an avenging eye and terrific heart, Shivaji was ready to face Afzal’s crowd. To revenge his brother’s death, who was mercilessly killed by Afzal, Shivaji was cold-blooded to have a battle with Afzal.
To annex the whole of Maratha kingdom, Afzal Khan marched Paratapgad fort with more than 20,000 cavalries, 15,000 infantry, 1,500 musketeers, 80 cannons, 1,200 camels and 85 elephants. But Shivaji had about 6,000 light cavalries, 3,000 light infantry and 4,000 reserved infantry. As per the tradition followed, before starting any battle, both the leaders must first meet to discuss the peaceful resolution. They had a meeting on November 9, 1659, where Afzal Khan tried to stab his enemy but Shivaji was cautious and treacherously attacked Afzal back. The injured Afzal tried to escape in agony but the lieutenant of Shivaji chased him and beheaded him where his head was sent to Shivaji’s mother as a trophy. Thus, Shivaji’s victory at the Battle of Pratapgad was a huge cue to the growth of the Maratha Empire.
The thriving Paratapgad remained as an essential strategic fort for the Maratha Empire. Later, small temples were built inside the military stronghold and also years later in 1957, a 17-foot-tall equestrian bronze statue of Shivaji was erected high in the air majestically by Prime Minister of India. Even, Shivaji had buried Afzal with full military honors at the foot of the fort. And thus, it turns out to be the local shrine for the area’s Muslims.
Just visit the historically erected Pratapgad Fort!