Vishalgad (also called Khelna or Khilna) was one of the important forts of Shivaji and Maratha Empire. The name ‘Vishalgad’ meaning grand fort in Marathi, was given by Shivaji after annexing it for the Maratha Empire in 1659.

The fort is situated in Maharashtra, India. It is 76 kilometers North-West of Kolhapur, 60 kilometers north-west of Panhala fort and 18 kilometers south of Kolhapur Ratnagiri road. It is situated on the hills that divide the region into two parts viz Amba ghat and Anaskura ghat. Since it is placed on the border of the hilly portion of Sahyadri ranges and the konkan region, it got great political significance in the historical times. It was regarded as a 'Watch tower' for both the regions.

The road to Vishalgad passes through thick wood. The fort is separated by a deep narrow riven from the road terminus. Its vastness is big as per its name Vishal. Steep cliffs separate it from adjoining land, making difficult to enter except existing entrance. One Bhosala warrior climbed this fort with the help of Ghorpad (an iguana) and captured it on behalf of Adilshaha of Bijapur. He was named Ghorpade onwards.

The fort is about 1130 meters (i.e. 3630 feet) high from the sea level.



Location info:

Address:76 kilometers North-West of Kolhapur, 60 kilometers north-west of Panhala fort and 18 kilometers south of Kolhapur Ratnagiri road.
District: Ratnagiri
Nearest City: Ratnagir/Kolhapur
Best time to visit: Any Time.



The fort was constructed by the Shilahara king ‘Marsinh’ in 1058 A.C. Initially, he named it as 'Khilgil'
In 1209, the then king, the then king of Seuna Yadavas of Devagiri defeated Shilaharas and captured the fort
In 1309, Allauddin Khilji defeated King Ramchandra of the Seuna Yadavas of Devagiri and soon the fort was attached to the Khilji Dynasty
In August 1347, the Mughal chief of the western India Hasan Gangu Bahamani became independent as a result of which the fort became a part of Bahamani Sultanat
During 1354 to 1433, the fort was under the rule of Vijayanagar Empire
After the fall of the Vijayanagar Empire, it was captured by a local Maratha king Shankarrao More. Therefore, the Bahamani Sultan sent troops from Bidar under the Generalship of Mahmood Gawan, his then prime Minister, to re-capture it. Gawan's officers Karnasinh Bhonsale and his son Bhimsinha captured the fort with the help of Ghorpad i.e. Giant monitor lizard. Thenceforth, Bhimsinha was conferred with the title Ghorpade.
In 1489, Yusuf Adil Shah separated himself from the Bahamani kingdom along with the area under his command and founded his independent sultanat at Bijapur. Hence, the fort was attached to Adil Shahi sultanat
In 1659, Shivaji captured the fort with the help of the officers on the fort
In July 1660, the fort witnessed Shivaji's escape from the Adilshahi blockade around fort Panhala and the Battle of Pavan Khind. Baji Prabhu Deshpande, Shivaji's experienced General and Rango Narayan Orpe, Shivaji's young officer on the fort, defeated Adilshahi troops respectively at Pavan Khind and Gonimooth
After Shivaji's death, Chhatrapati Sambhaji would spend most of his times on the fort. He took initiative in renovation and reconstruction of some parts of the fortresses and gates of the fort
In 1689, Rajaram Chhatrapati fled to Fort Gingee in Karnataka (now Tamilnadu) from fort Panhala and thus ‘Vishalgad’ became an un-official capital of the Maratha empire. Ramchandra Pant Amatya from Vishalgad and Rajaram Chhatrapati from Gingee made several moves and defeated Aurangzeb with the help of Santaji, Dhanaji, Parshurampant Pratinidhi and Shankaraji Narayan Sacheev.
During the times of Maratha Empire, Vishalgad was made capital of a large region consisting of ninety towns and villages in Kolhapur and Ratnagiri districts. Sardesai and Sarpotdar were officers on the fort since Adilshahi times. Some of the Havaldars (Military In Charge) on the fort during Rajaram Chhatrapati to Chhatrapati Shahu's times were :

1. Trimbakji Ingawale - 3 years
2. Santaji Kathe - 9 years
3. Khandoji Karanjkar - 3 months
4. Umaji Gaikwad - 6 months
5. Shamji Rangnath Orpe Sarpotdar - 6 years
6. Vithoji Nimbalkar - 6 months
7. Malji Dalvi - 2 months

In 1844, as a result of mutiny by the Killedars, British army demolished the entire fort and dismissed the officers there

Interesting things to do:

Its a good trekking place for trekkers.Photographers Delight , can take lots of photos of the beautiful place.

Interesting things to Visit:

The Bhunda Darwaja or a bare gate seen from the busstop shows wrong way of the entry.
Actual entry is separate. Nothing is there except the ruins of old buildings. Now the fort is known to people as place of Malik Raihan Dargah.

A Sati Mandir is there in memory of Ambadevi the queen of King Rajaram I , who burned as Sati after the death of her husband.

The Samadhi or tomb of great warrior Baji Prabhu Deshpande who fought until death with Siddi Masood, commander of Adilshaha who was perusing Shivaji at the time when he escaped from siege of Siddi to fort Panhala and was rushing to Vishalgad.

Mobile range info:

How to reach?

Nearest Railway Station:Ratnagir.
Nearest Airport:Ratnagir Airport
Road Transport:From BOMBAY proceed to KOLHAPUR by Bus.Take a bus on the RATNAGIRI road ( via MALKAPUR) to AMBE (62 Kms). Catch another bus to GAJAPUR and on to the base of VISHALGAD (4 Kms).State transport buses ply regularly from Kolhapur, Ratnagiri and Belgaum.

Nearest Visiting places:

  • Amriteshwar Temple
  • Takmak Tok
  • Sati Vrindavan
  • Tomb of Hazrat Malikdhyan Baba
  • Shri Nrusinha Temple
  • The Bhunda Darwaja or a bare gate seen from the busstop shows wrong way of the entry.

Nearest Petrol Pump:


  • Mahalaxmi Resort Panhala at Kolhapur
  • Hotel Raysons Regency at Kolhapur
  • Hotel Ayodhya at Kolhapur

Things to carry:

Mineral water bottles, food, first aid kit,camera and so on

Tips & Suggestions:

Help Line/Phone Number:

Police Station:100
Nearest Hospital:At the Nearest City.
Society/Community Phone Number