Shivaji's Raigad fort getting major revamp

In Maharashtra's coastal Konkan belt, the Raigad fort is a major attraction.

Once impregnable by military standards and nestled in the picturesque Sahyadri ranges a distance away from the Arabian Sea, the majestic Raigad fort is getting a major revamp to convert it an international tourist spot.

 
It is in this fort, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj,  the legendary Maratha warrior laid the foundation of the Hindavi swarajya, a term referring to self-rule of Hindu people. 
 
On 6 June 1674, Shivaji Maharaj was coronated as a king in this fort and he made it his capital.
 
Sambhajiraje Chhatrapati,  a descendant of Shivaji Maharaj,  who hails from the Kolhapur royal family and is a President-nominated Rajya Sabha member is spearheading the revamp as chairman of Raigad Development Authority (RDA), that is engaged in the revamp.
 
In Maharashtra's coastal Konkan belt, the Raigad fort is a major attraction. 
 
Spread in over 1,300 acres, it is the biggest fort complex in India, in terms of area and has one of the most unique topography. 
 
The fort rises about 820 metres above the sea level and goes up to nearly 1,356 metres.
 
The fort comes under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
 
"Of the Rs 606.08 crore sanctioned for  RDA, Rs 114 crore has been earmarked for the Raigad fort," Sambhajiraje told journalists in Raigad fort.
 
Besides, nearly Rs 237 crore has been sanctioned for roadworks been Mahad to Raigad fort, and, it is being developed as a heritage highway. "We are developing Raigad fort as a heritage hill station," said Sambhajiraje, who had been appointed as brand ambassador of forts by Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.
 
Apart from that, nearly Rs 100 crore would come from the Centre - based on the recommendations of 15th Finance Commission headed by NK Singh, for revamp of 10 forts.
 
Sambhajiraje said that the Raigad fort would be self-sustainable and it is being developed as a "model fort".  "We would also have a light and sound show and facade lighting," he said, adding that Rs 50 crore has also been earmarked for the cable car revamp.
 
A proper heritage walk is being proposed. "It takes around 14 km and 4 hours now to see the fort," he said, pointing out that the idea is to attract visitors to stay for two to three days and appreciate the fort. "Locals would be trained as guides and the help of various organisations and groups of fort lovers would be taken," he noted.
 
"As many as 84 water tanks are being cleaned up scientifically so that artefacts are being retained," Sambhajiraje said, adding that there are nearly 350 sites that need to be explored archaeologically. 
 
According to the plan, the 21 neighbouring villages would also see massive development. "We will also see that in tourism-related jobs, locals get preference," he said.
 
Works would also be undertaken under the employment guarantee scheme - for the participation of locals.
 
Nature trails are also being developed as the fort area is very rich in biodiversity. "There is rich flora and fauna. We will incorporate these in the walks," he said.
 

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Shivaji's Raigad fort getting major revamp

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