On the way up to the top, one can witness the weapons and armory used at the time. A heavy arsenal, literally and figuratively, each of the weapons weigh about 20-30 kgs and it is said that an average person than would practice with them for 6-8 hours a day. Clearly shows the strength in the limbs of our ancestors. The highest point of the fort stands on the edge of the 3000 feet high cliff. The place known as Punishment Point, was used execute the criminals by throwing them down the cliff. A spine chilling place even now as the cool breeze equivalent to that of an air conditioner with temperature dropped to the lowest. And the view is worth dying for!
Among all the tales, the fort is well known for one due to which its name is derived. ‘Pratap’ means victory, and the name of the fort is dedicated to the victory of Chhatrapati over the Mughal General Afzal Khan.
Chhatrapati Shivaji’s contemporary ruler was the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, who had placed a handsome bounty on Shivaji Maharaj’s head. Afzal Khan was the Mughal General in the Deccan region and he accepted the challenge to defeat Shivaji Maharaj. Setting out a message of peace proposition to Chhatrapati at Pratapgadh, Afzal Khan had planned to kill Shivaji during the meet. Afzal Khan, as it is said, was a monster among men, standing at 7 feet tall and was strong enough to flip a raging bull without breaking sweat.
Shivaji Maharaj, on receiving the invitation of the peace proposition, went ahead to meet Afzal Khan with 2 of his trusted generals. As they met, Afzal Khan tried to kill Shivaji Maharaj by squeezing his neck. However, Shivaji Maharaj, having anticipated such move, tore open Afzal Khan’s belly using the tiger claws he was wearing on his hands. Withering in pain, Afzal Khan retreated through the tent where he was decapitated by one of Shivaji’s bodyguards. The trumpet of victory of blown from the fort and hence the fort came to be known as Pratapgadh Fort.
Pratapgadh, just 15 kms from the famous hill station of Mahabaleshwar, stands tall reminiscing the valiant tales of the glorified Maratha history. Plan your next trip there and be amazed by living the part of the history.