Sinhagad, Sinhgarh, or Sinhgad (Marathi: सिंहगड, The Lion's Fort), is a fortress located roughly 30 kilometres southwest of the city of Pune, India. Previously called Kondhana (Marathi: कोंढाणा), the fort has been the site of many important battles, most notably the battle of Sinhagad in 1670. It was also strategically located at the centre of a string of other forts such as Rajgad, Purandar and Torna.
Perched on an isolated cliff of the Bhuleswar range of the Sahyadri Mountains, it is situated on a hill rising 1312 metres above sea level. Given natural protection by its very steep slopes, the walls and bastions were constructed at only key places; it has two gates – the Kalyan Darwaza in the south-east and the Pune Darwaza in the north-east.
This fort has had quite a long history, It was called 'Kondana' after the sage Kaundinya. The Kaundinyeshwar temple, the caves and the carvings indicate that this fort had probably been built two thousand years back. It was captured from the Koli tribal chieftain, Nag Naik, by Muhammad bin Tughlaq in 1328 AD.
Shahaji Bhosale, as the commander of Ibrahim Adil Shah I, was entrusted with the control of the Pune region. His son Shivaji, however, refused to accept the Adilshahi and initiated the task of setting up Swarajya. He gained control of Kondana in 1647 by convincing Siddi Amber, the Adilshahi Sardar who controlled the fort. Bapuji Mudgal Deshpande played key role in this activity.In 1649, it had to be handed over to Adil Shah for Shahaji Maharaj's release.
Shivaji Maharaj recaptured it back in 1656 again with the help of Bapuji Mudgal Deshpande,who convinced Fort commander by giving land in newly created Shivapur village and peacefully gained control of fort.This Fort saw attacks of Mughals on 1662, 1663 and 1665. In 1664, Shahistekhan- mughal general even tried to bribe people of fort to hand over the fort to him but he was unsuccessful. In Purandar Pact it went into the hands of the Mughal army chief Mirzaraje Jaysingh, in the year 1665. In 1670, Shivaji Maharaj re-conquered this fort and then it stayed under Maratha rule till 1689.
After the death of Sambhaji, the Mughals regained control over. Again in 1693 the Marathas recaptured it headed by Sardar Balkawade. Chatrapati Rajaram took asylum on this fort during Mogul raid on Satara but Rajaram died on Sinhagad on the 3rd of March 1700 & in 1703 Aurangzeb conquered the fort. In 1706, it once again went into the hands of the Marathas. Pantaji Shivdev of Sangola, Visaji Chafar and the Pant Pratinidhis played key role in this battle. Then this fort remained with Marathas till 1818, when the British conquered it. British however took three months to capture this fort, which was longest it took them to win any fort in Maharastra.
Battle of Sinhagad
One of the most famous battles for Sinhgad was fought to recapture the fort by Tanaji Malusare, a general of Shivaji in March 1670. A steep cliff leading to the fort was scaled with the help of a monitor lizard named yashwanti, colloquially known as a ghorpad. Thereafter, there ensued fierce battles between Tanaji and his men, and the mughal army headed by Udaybhan Singh Rathod a Rajput sardar, that had the fort at the time. Tanaji lost his life, but his brother Suryaji took over and captured Kondana.