Pratapgad – literally ‘Valour fort’, is situated very close to Mahabaleswar (just about 25 kms), though the roads are mostly steep and curved. This fort was commissioned by Maharaj Shivaji himself (unlike many other captured forts) and was constructed by Shivaji’s well-known Prime Minister Moropant Pingale, as a defense mechanism. It is believed to have been completed in 1656. It is also believed that Goddess Bhavani blessed Shivaji Maharaj with a shining sword, at her temple here.
[Click on the pics to enlarge]
In what proved to be a major test of his army and was instrumental in setting the foundation for the rise of the Maratha empire, Shivaji fought the legendary Battle of Pratapgad against Adilshahi General Afzal Khan here. Despite being outnumbered, Shivaji’s wisdom and valour ensured they achieved a significant victory against such a major regional power. You can read the entire description of the battle here – it’s nothing less than AMAZING! We had goosebumps when the guide related the story of how Shivaji (all of 5 feet or a little above) had overpowered Afzal Khan who stood tall at 7 feet!
The fort is currently in possession of the heirs of the Satara princely state.
All in all, this fort is a must-visit. It can do no less than fill you with patriotic fervour and abundant energy. If only we could contribute a tiny-weeny bit of what he did for the Motherland!