Harishchandragad is a spectacular hill fort in the Ahmednagar district of India. Its history is link with that of Malshej Ghat, kothale village and it has played a major role in guarding and controlling the surrounding region.
The fort is basically quite ancient. Remnants of Microlithic man have been discover here. The various Puranas (ancient scriptures) like Matsyapurana, Agnipurana and also Skandapurana include many references about Harishchandragad. Its origin is mention to have been in the 6th century, during the rule of Kalachuri dynasty. The citadel was construct during this era. The various caves probably have been carve out in the 11th century. In these caves are idols of Lord Vishnu.
Caves are spread out all over the fort. Many of these are place at the foot of Taramati peak and are the place of accommodation. A few are near the temple, whereas some are near the citadel and some far away in the forests. A 30 feet (9.1 m) deep natural cave is on the northwestern side of the fort, to the right of Kokan Kada. Many other caves are still mention to remain undiscover.
Places to be explore here:
Saptatirtha Pushkarni: Firstly to the east of the temple is a well-built lake name as “Saptatirtha”. On its bank are temple-like constructions in which there are idols of Lord Vishnu. Recently these idols have been shift in the caves near the temple of Harishchandreshwar.
Kedareshwar Cave: Secondly towards the right of Harishchandreshwar temple, there is the huge cave of Kedareshwar (see picture), in which there is a big Shiva Linga, which is completely surround by water.
Kokan Kada: This cliff faces west and looks down upon the Konkan. It provides views of the surrounding region. The cliff has an overhang, but has been climb many times. Sometimes a circular rainbow (the Brocken spectre phenomenon) can be also be observe from this point.
Taramati peak: Also known as Taramanchi. This is the top most point on the fort (1429 meters). Leopards are observe in the forests beyond this peak. From here we can have a glimpse of the whole range of Naneghat and the forts near Murbad.
Caves on Harishchandragad: These caves are spread out all over the fort. Many of these are situated at the foot of Taramati peak and are the place of accommodation.
Nageshwar temple near Khireshwar: This is a great antique construction, and diverse artistic works are observe on this. On the ceiling of the temple are carvings. The main attraction of the carvings here is the 1.5 m long sculpture of Lord Vishnu in the sleeping posture, popularly known as “Sheshshayi Vishnu” in Marathi.
Temple of Harishchandreshwar: Lastly this temple is marvelous example of the fine art of carving sculptures out of stones that prevailed in ancient India. It is about 16 m high from its base. Around this temple there a few caves & ancient water tanks. The river Mangal Ganga is mention to originate from one of the tanks located close to the temple.
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