Image of a steep staircase constructed from stone with a view of the valleys in the background

History of Lohagad Fort Lonavala

Lonavala is a lovely hill station, home to magnificent towering forts that belonged to some of the most prominent dynasties that ruled parts of our country. One such structure is Lohagad, also known as Iron Fort. Situated at 3,389 ft. above sea level, Lohagad is connected to another fort called Visapur Fort. While most people know this marvellous edifice for its historical importance, it also makes for a great trekking spot, owing to the numerous trails leading up to the Lohagad fort. Information regarding its history can be scarce, but we have compiled important historic events involving this structure in chronological order to understand its historical significance.

As you explore and broaden your knowledge about the terrific history behind the fort, do pamper yourself with a luxurious stay at Rhythm Lonavala.

In 1489 Malik Ahmad Nizam Shah founded the Nizamshahi dynasty and decided to expand his empire. It was during this period that he managed to conquer most forts in Pune, including Lohagad. During the second half of the 16th century, the Nizamshahi dynasty declined and Bijapur Sultanate gained control of Lohagad Fort.

A powerful clan emerged from Bijapur’s declining Adilshahi Sultanate - the Maratha clan. Shivaji Bhonsle I, also known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, managed to capture Lohagad in 1648. However, his success was short-lived as the fort was given to the Mughal Empire owing to the Treaty of Purandar.

Image an old cannon plcaed on a rocky platform with trees and grass in the background
Image of a donward sloping stone wall with a view of the valley and clear skies in the background

Previously, Shivaji had attacked Mughal Emperors and managed to plunder Surat. As a result, Aurangazeb sent Jai Singh I, the commander to quash the Adilshahi dynasty. Therefore, Jai Singh I besieged Purandar Fort which forced Shivaji to sign a treaty, relinquishing his ownership of Lohagad. From 1668 to 1670, there was a brief period of peace between Aurangazeb and Shivaji. Conflicts ebbed and Shivaji succeeded in re-capturing Lohagad. He used this magnificent fort to store all the treasures and loot from his conquest in Surat for the second time.

Fast forward to the early 18th century, the East Indian Company was facing immense pressure due to Kanhoji Angre’s efforts. He was the chief of the Maratha Navy and succeeded in capturing numerous English yachts to collect tax. The East India Company granted him ownership of 10 forts and Lohagad was one among them. 7 years later, Lohagad came under Balaji Vishwanath’s control, who was the first Peshwa (appointed Prime Minister) of the Maratha Empire.

Image of structure made of stone and covered in moss
Image of an intricate stone building covered in moss with two people walking on an elevated platform

In 1789, Nana Phadnavis, an influential minister from the Maratha Empire ordered the reconstruction of Lohagad. This led to the construction of a step well and numerous water tanks. However, things deteriorated when Baji Rao II ascended the throne. The nobles appointed him as the puppet ruler and their power grew gradually, forcing Baji Rao II to flee from the capital. After suffering from innumerable defeats in battles against the British, Lohagad belonged to Colonel Prother, and the British Empire deserted this fort in 1845.