Shiv Jayanti or Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Jayanti is a highly important festival Indian state of Maharashtra.
It is celebrated today (February 19), marking the birth anniversary of the Maratha emperor, Chhatrapati Shivaji.
The revered Indian warrior-king engaged in both alliances and hostilities with the Mughal Empire, Sultanate of Golkonda and Sultanate of Bijapur, as well as European colonial powers and his legacies are marked as crucial milestones of Indian history.
In fact, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport is eponymous with this great warrior-king.
On this important day for the state of Maharashtra, here are a few places you could visit on your trip to the state, if you wish to know more about this lionised king.
This 17th-century military fortification near Junnar in Pune district of Maharashtra is the birthplace of the erstwhile emperor. It was primarily used to guard an old trading route in the state. The fort houses a small temple inside that is dedicated to the goddess Shivai Devi, after whom Shivaji is named. Featuring a triangular shape, the fort extends up to one metre and has seven spiral well-defended gates. Junnar is about 90km from Pune.
Back in 1630 AD, Shivaji Maharaj’s father Shahaji Bhosale, established Lal Mahal for his wife Jijabai and son. The king stayed here for several years until he captured his first fort. The current Lal Mahal in Kasaba Peth (Pune) is a reconstruction of the original one that was located in the centre of the city and was brought to ruins due to repeated attacks on the city. An important site in Shivaji’s history, here is where the emperor married his first wife, Maharani Saibai. The encounter between Shivaji and Shaista Khan (a Mughal general) where Shivaji cut off the later’s fingers, makes Lal Mahal even more significant in the Maratha history.
Situated in the Raigad district of Maharastra, amid the Sahyadri mountain range, this stunning hill fort was seized by Shivaji Maharaj in 1674 from the Raje Chandraraoji More, the King of Jawali (an area in the state). Following which, the king made this fort, the capital of the Maratha Empire. Today, the main fort ruins consist of the queen’s quarters and six chambers. Raigad Fort also has ruins of a market which was accessible to horseback riders. Inside the fort is a replica of the original throne that faces the main doorway.
Picture credit: Aditya Joshi
This hill fortress is located at around 35 km southwest of Pune. Previously known as Kondhana, the fort had been witness to many battles, most importantly — the Battle of Sinhagad in 1670. Built strategically, the Sinhagad or Lion’s Fort provided natural protection from enemie due to its very steep slopes. Walls and bastions were constructed only at key entrances. An important fort in the Maharashtra’s history, it was captured by Mughal forces and regained back by its rightful owners — the Marathas — many times. Today, the fort is a popular weekend and trekking destination, offering views of the Sahyadri range from its top.