Mahuli seems to date from the time of the Shilaharas. In 1485 along with other Konkan forts it was captured by Malik Ahmad, who afterwards became the founder of the Nizam Shahi dynasty of Ahmadnagar. In 1635 Mahuli surrendered to Shahaji Bhosle and here Jijabai, the mother of Shivaji, occasionally took refuge with her son. In 1636 Shahaji, with his puppet Nizam Shah, was tightly cornered in this fort by Khan Zaman and Randulla Khan and finally surrendered to Randulla in October of that year on honourable terms. In 1661 it was taken by Shivaji though defended by a Rajput garrison. Shivaji was obliged to surrender the fort to the Moghals under the terms of the treaty of Purandhar in June 1665 ; but in 1670 after a serious repulse and a siege of two months it was re-captured by Shivaji's Peshva Moro Trimbak Pingle. The Treaty of Pune of June 1817 saw the English the masters of this formidable fort.
Places of Interest
The following are the details of Captain Dickinson's survey in 1818. It is the loftiest of the mane forts on a hill more than 2.500 feet (762 metres) high. The hill has three fortified summits Palasgad on the north, Mahuli in the centre and Bhandargad in the south. Mahuli, the middle peak, is the largest of the three, being upwards of half a kilometre long by nearly as much broad, with a plentiful supply of water and in many places fine soil. The ascent is throughout steep, the latter part up a very difficult and rugged ravine. At the head of the ravine stands an exceedingly strong gate-way, flanked and covered with towers, the work being continued for some distance along the brink of a stupendous precipice. On a rising ground on the top of the hill, a little beyond the gate-way, is a little redoubt called Parthalgad, very low and out of repair. The other two forts, Palasgad to the north and Bhandargad to the south, can be readied only up the heads of narrow ravines which separate them from Mahuli. From the country below, Palasgad alone is accessible. In Mahuli and Bhandargad there were a few buildings which required a little repair while Palasgad and other works were rapidly falling into decay. In Captain Dickinson's opinion the fort was untenable. In 1862 it was very much dilapidated. Time, indeed, has wiped off almost all traces of fortifications. The top of the hill is covered with myrobalan and other trees and recent plantations by the forest department. The fort is often visited by adventurous parties of hitchhikers.
Mahuli Fort, on the hill of the same name 2,815 feet (857.612 metres) high, is in Shahapur taluka lying about six and a half kilometres northwest of Shahapur town. Towards the south end of the hill-top is a huge cleft, probably 700 (213.360 metres) or 800 feet (243.840 metres) deep, in which stand some gigantic basalt pillars. You can travel from Mumbai to Asangaon & from asangaon start your trek to visit Mahuli. If you are travelling from Pune, come till Kalyan & catch train from there. The old ascent was from the east by the Machi village. The gateway which stands at the head of a very steep ravine, and the battlements along the crest of the ravine are now mostly in ruins. The fortifications are said to be the work of the Moghals and on the top are the ruins of a place of prayer and of a mosque. As in Takmak, Malanggad and other Thane hill-forts, a sheer precipice of black basalt from 500 (152.410 metres) to 600 feet (182.880 metres) high runs almost all round. Towards the south a small cleft runs right across the hill which was said to have been used as a dungeon. It was impossible for the prisoners to climb the sides as to jump down at the end was certain death.