June 20, 2013

This is a must visit fort in Junnar Maharashtra and famous for its architectural style which is popularly known as the "BirthPlace of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj". Shivneri is a highly defensible location, with steep rocks on four sides and a strongly built citadel. The government is also putting the efforts to make this place better, and it comes under the archaeological survey of India.

It is approx 100 km to the north of Pune. From Junnar it is 2 km by road. We followed below:
Pune - Rajgurunagar - Peth - Manchar - Narayangaon - Pimpalgaon Tarfa - Junnar - Shivneri Fort Parking
Below map will help you, If you are coming from any of the sides.

Shivneri Fort Map near Junnar
Shivneri fort is popular trekking spot too. Either you can start from main entrance of the fort or from the parking area near stairs route. We stopped our car near the foothills of the fort to mark out the Shivneri caves.
Rajmarg: To enter the main fort, you have to cross tourist friendly seven gates and approx 400 steps, that is a small trek in itself. In total there are 9 Gates. Each gate is intricately carved and adds more value to this historic edifice.
Gate1 - Mahadarwarja - Main Gate
Gate2 - Ganesh Darwaja
Gate3 - Pir Darwaja: I observed face shaped rocks just near this gate.
Gate4 - Hathi Darwaja
Gate5 - Mena Darwaja
Gate6 - Gulup Gate
Gate7 - Phatak Darwaja
Ambarkhana was the huge grain storage space.
Gate8 - Shivani Devi Gate: As you enter the gate, you will find "Temple of Shivai Devi" on one of the cliffs of the fort. This small temple is dedicated to the goddess Shivai Devi, after whom Shivaji was named.
Ganga-Jamuna Taki:
In the fort there are two water springs, called Ganges and Yamuna, which have water throughout the year, though quite dirty.
Kamani Masjid: We had some Rihana song snaps "Under my umbrella".

BirthPlace of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj:
This 2-storey structure is the main attraction of the place where we reached after 1 hour. The place is locked but having Shivaji's idol and a small swinging bed. A very well preserved staircase leads to the top of this marvellous 2-storey structure. The window on top is a good place for taking a pause and enjoy the splendid view of the valley in cool breeze. Shahaji, Chatrapati Shivaji's father, was concerned for the safety of his wife Jijabai during her pregnancy as there was constant war going on. He therefore moved his family to Shivneri fort.
Badami Talav: At the centre of the fort is a water pond which is called 'Badami Talav'. We see some of the frogs were jumping in this partially filled pond. The idol of Shivaji’s mother, Jijabai and Shivaji can be observed here.
Gate9 - Kadelot Tok: You can see Junnar city view from here.

There are around 10 tanks on the Shivneri Fort and multiple well-maintained gardens. Tea, Coffee and liquid stuff were available on the fort, but not the snacks. We couldn't find a washroom in working condition. The fort can be visited in 3-4 hours all around. Throughout the trek, it offers magnificent views of the surrounding landscape and is a great place to relax and gaze at the green valley after the tiring climb.
Shivneri fort sits in the midst of several forts. To its north stand the forts of Narayangad and Harishchandragad. Jeevdhan, Chavand (Prashannagarh), Hadsar (Parvatgarh), and Bhairavgad are also close by. Five dams – Vadaj, Yedgaon, Pimpalgaon, Manikdoh and Dimbhe situated around Shivneri are also popular picnic spots.

The best time to visit Shivneri Fort is during Monsoon and we also started this year's Monsoon express visiting this place. During this time blooming and colorful flowers make the place like a rainbow. I also got the chance to have some flower proposal snaps with Meenal. The company of Hemali, Ishu, Tanuj, and Meenal made my day, and whispering wind & drizzling rain time to time took away some credit for the wonderful trip. We return back to Pune and had dinner at Amanora.
Places to visit near Shivneri Fort, Junnar:
Two kilometers away from this fort there are the Lenyadri caves which is one of Ashtavinayak temple in Maharastra.
The other one is Shree Vighanahar Ganpati Temple at Ozar.
The Shivneri group of caves is the closest to Bhimashankar with over 50 caves.
Some others forts visited in MH: Kanakdurg Fort - Harnai, Lohagad Fort, Sinhgarh Fort, Purandar Fort, Murud Janjira Fort, Alibaag Fort - Kolaba (or Kulaba) fort.

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