Cindi Lauper’s song “Girls just wanna have fun” plays in my mind whenever I replay memories of my roadtrip to Raigad with my girl friends. Last year in February, me and my friends randomly decided to take a roadtrip from Navi Mumbai to Raigad Fort (150 kms) on Saturday. One of my friends, I must praise her for her excellent and confident driving skills, took the whole and sole responsibility to drive us safe to Raigad and drop us back home. We started our trip with fulfilling breakfast of Misal Pav at Sri Datta guru Snacks. Do you know it’s a sin to pass Panvel without stopping at Shri Datta Guru Snacks? Well, we were in no mood to commit any sin on our first Road trip. We started off from Panvel 8 am and reached Raigad at 12pm. The highways are well-maintained and smooth, ensuring the hassle-free journey to the spot. Just as you cross Panvel city limit, all you see is long smooth road, greenery on the both side of the window and the pollution-free air filling your lungs. That’s when you know- You are heading somewhere awesome!
A little stop here and there for photo clicks because I couldn’t resist the feel of the raw scenery around me.
We were little out of information about the food options available at Raigad, so we decided to have lunch at Mangaon – The open umbrella, before heading to Raigad. However, later I learnt that there is a Cafeteria nearby both Ropeway stations at the base and at the fort.
Raigad Fort has soft spot in heart of every Maharashtrian as this is the place where the greatest warrior Chhtrapati Shivaji Maharaj was crowned emperor. The fort served as capital of Maratha Empire from 1674 A.D. The majestic fort is located at height of approx. 2700ft above sea level.
There are 2 ways to reach the fort –
1. Trek all the way to the fort (appx 3 hours to reach the top). Best time for trekking at Raigad is from June to February.
2. Take a Ropeway to reach the fort. This the easiest way to reach to the top but I can’t say it’s the quickest. There are only 2 rope cars and 2 rope lines. One car for each line. The waiting here is almost for more than an hour on the weekends and holidays.
Be it anyway, when you reach the Raigad Fort, it will leave you spell bounded for hours. The fort has ruins of King’s Court, Queen’s palace, Market area, watch towers and numerous minarets which adds to the history of the fort. This fort also has the famous “Hirakani Buruj”(Hirkani Bastion) named after a woman Hirakani from nearby village, who use to come to fort to sell the milk. Unfortunately, she was still in fort when all the fort doors were shut closed after the sunset. The love for her infant made her dig the ‘Buruj’ and escape thus collapsing the security of the fort. Instead of punishing her Maharaj rewarded her for finding the loophole in the security in the fort.
I was amazed by the panoramic view of mighty Sahyadri mountain range surrounding the fort, as if it has its protective arms assuring the security to the Maratha Empire. The cold wind blew wild through the Sahyadri’s draping the Raigad Fort and making us not want to leave it. We sat at the ‘Tak-Mak’ point, relaxing until 5PM. The Ropeway service was only available till 5:30 pm, after which only way to go to base is to use the steps.
Heading back took us little longer than expected due to long traffic at Mumbai-Goa highway. Nevertheless, we managed this road trip – safe and memorable. Singing songs in car, debates on various topics, heated arguments to the point of laughter, eager stops for photo clicks, we girls enjoyed this Road Trip.