The first historical mention of Mahabaleshwar dates back to year 1215
when the King Singhan of Deogiri visited Old Mahabaleshwar. He built a
small temple and water tank at the source of the river Krishna. Around
1350, a Brahmin dynasty ruled this area. In the middle of the 16th
century the Maratha family of Chandarao More defeated the Brahmin
dynasty and became rulers of Javli and Mahabaleshwar, during which
period the temple of Old Mahabaleshwar was rebuilt.
In the 17th century Shivaji Maharaj took over Javli and Mahabaleshwar
and constructed the Pratapgad fort in 1656.
In 1819, the British included the hills in the territory of the Raja of
Satara. Col. Lodwick (Late General Sir ) stationed at Satara, in April
1824 with a contingent of soldiers and Indian guides climbed up the
mountain face reaching what is now known as the Lodwick Point.
Starting with Sir John Malcolm in 1828, a succession of them from Sir
Mountstuart Elphinstone, Arthur Malet (for whom the seat at "Point
Arthur" is named), Carnac, Frere and many others became regular
Present day Mahabaleshwar came into existence in the year 1829-30. In
old records it is mentioned as Malcolm Peth, but in practise today it is
known as Mahabaleshwar.
Added to the scores of magnificent scenic "points", the perennial
springs, streams, and waterfalls of Mahabaleshwar plateau, with its year
round superb climate, drew the English and others to Mahabaleshwar like
honey bees to sweet nectar. By the end of the 19th century it had become
an attractive popular hill station of world renown.
Raj Bhavan, the Summer residence of the Governor of Maharashtra, is also
"Babington House", a magnificent colonial-style bungalow built in the
shape of a cross with a deep varanda, elaborate metal work railing and
extensive outhouses is considered Mahableshwar's most beautiful country
It was formerly one of the principal country seats of the Dubash family,
a Parsi ship chandler dynasty from Bombay who sold it to the Rahejas in
the early 1970s. It contains a central dining room with a 24-seater
table and a lovely library pavilion with 1st edition books collected by
the Dubash family, notably Jamsetjee "Jimmy" Kavasjee Dubash, a great
bibliophil and art collector.
Mahabaleshwar Monuments :
Pratapgad Fort: Pratapgadh is truly a place to visit and remember the
heroic deeds of Shivaji Maharaj. As Pratapgadh is very close to
Mahabaleshwar, it is always crowded. The 45 minutes journey is
wonderful. Pratapgad Fort which is 24 kms, away is a place worth
visiting. It was built by Shivaji in 1656. The height of the fort is
almost 3500 feet. It was built to control the rebellious Satraps of the
surrounding Javali Basin. Legend has it that Shivaji was blessed with a
shining sword at the temple of Goddess Bhawani here. It was the site of
the famous battle between the Maratha chieftain Chhatrapati Shivaji and
Afzal Khan, the commander of the Bijapur Sultanate.
Pratapgad History: The Maratha king Shivaji Maharaj commissioned
Moropant Trimbak Pingle, his prime minister, to undertake the
construction of this fort in order to defend the banks of the Nira and
the Koyna rivers, and to defend the Par pass. It was completed in 1656.
The Battle of Pratapgarh between Shivaji and Afzal Khan was fought below
the rampants of this fort on November 10, 1659. This was the first major
test of the fledgling kingdom's army, and set the stage of the
establishment of the Maratha empire.
Pratapgad continued to be involved in regional politics. Sakharam Bapu,
a well-known minister of Pune, was confined by his rival Nana Phadnis in
Pratapgad in 1778. He was later moved from fort to fort until he finally
died at Raigad. In 1796, Nana Phadnis, while escaping from the intrigues
of Daulatrao Shinde and his minister Baloba, assembled a strong garrison
in Pratapgad before heading to Mahad.
In 1818, as part of the Third Anglo-Maratha War, Pratapgad surrendered
by private negotiation. This was a great loss to the Maratha forces, as
Pratapgad was an important stronghold, had a large garrison, and could
suppress much of the country round Wai.
A 17-foot high equestrian bronze statue of Shivaji was unveiled by
Jawaharlal Nehru, then Prime Minister of India, on the 30th of November
1957, the same year a road was constructed by the Public Works
Department from Kumbhrosi village up to fort. A guest house and a
national park were built inside the fort in 1960.
The fort is currently owned by Uday Raje Bhosale, the heir of the Satara
: The square hill fort of Kamalgad in mahabaleshwar covers a flat area of 3-4
acres. The fort is surrounded by steep rock and can only be reached by
perilously scaling this rock.
Although it’s believed that The Kamalgadh fort was build during the
Marathas as the other forts in the area were administered by a mokasadar
from Bijapur. Early documents written now are in defunct Modi script of
the Marathi language refers to the fort as ‘Kattalgad’. A detailed study
of these documents is underway. In April 1818, Kamalgad surrendered
after resistance to a British detachment commanded by a Major Thatcher.
Under the British, it was used to execute prisoners of war.