Purandar Fort (also called Purandhar Fort) पुरंदर किल्ला (in Marathi) figures repeatedly in the rising of Shivaji against the Adil Shahi Bijapur Sultanate and the Mughals. Purandhar fort stands 4,472 ft. above the sea (1,387 m) in the Western Ghats, 50 km southeast of Pune. It actually consists of two forts - Purandar and Vajragad (or Rudramal). The latter is the smaller of the two and is on the eastern side of the main fort. The village Purandar takes its name from this fort. Purandar fort is also known for birthplace of Sambhaji Raje Bhosle (second Chhatrapti and son of Chhatrapati Shivajiraje Bhosale)
The earliest known mention of Purandar is in the Yadava era (11th century). The 1000yr old Narayaneshwar temple of Hemadpanthi architecture built by the Yadavas still exists in Narayanpur, the base village of Purandar. After the defeat of the Yadavas by Persian invaders, the territory fell in to the hands of these invaders who further fortified Purandar in 1350. During the early rule of the Bijapur and Ahmednagar kings, Purandar was among the forts directly under Government, and never entrusted to Jagirdars (estate-holders).
Sometime under the Bedar kings (1347-1490) the fort was besieged several times. To prevent Purandar fort from falling, a man and a woman were buried alive under one of the fort bastions to appease its patron deity. The king of Berar then ordered his minister a Esaji Naik Chive to bury a first born son and his wife into the foundation of the bastion. This was promptly done and after a further offering of gold and bricks. When the bastion was finished Esaji Naik was given possession of the fort and the father of the sacrificed boy was rewarded with two villages.
Structures within the fort
The fort has two distinct levels. The lower part is called the machi. North of the machi is a flat area where the cantonment and hospital was housed. There are many temples dedicated to Purandareshwar (the fort's patron god, from which it also takes its name) and Sawai Madhavrao Peshwa here. There is a statue of Murarbaji Deshpande, the fort-commander (killedar) who gave his life to protect the fort from the Mughals. The northern part of the machi has a low fall with several bastions and an imposing gate with two towers.