One hundred and fifty years of British rule had made the Indian minds dull and stagnated. The rot of degeneration had set in very deep. Its seriousness could be well gauged from contemporary events. Fort Raigad houses the sacred Samadhi of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the founder of Hindavi Swaraj. Mr. James Douglas, an Englishman, visited Fort Raigad in 1883. He found the Shiv Samadhi lying in a state of total dilapidation. He wrote in his book 'Book of Bombay' as under-
It is indeed creditworthy that alien rulers like the British noticed the ruin of Fort Raigad. Juxtapose it with the negligent attitude shown by the heirs and admirers of Shivaji Maharaj back was humiliating. The writings of Mr. Douglas set many contemporary Englishmen and Indians thinking. It resulted in a movement to restore the Shiv Samadhi. Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak intensely felt the need to awaken the Indian psyche and to spur its aspirations for freedom.
|President||Shri Raghujiraje Angre|
|Vice President||Shri Deepak Tilak
Shri Trimbak Purohit
|Treasurer||Shri Pravin Thite|
|Chief Secretary||Shri Pandurang Balkawde|
|Secretary||Shri Sudheer Thorat|
Lokmanya Tilak, in 1895, founded the Shri Shivaji Fund Committee for celebration of 'Shiv Punya Tithi' and for the reconstruction of the Samadhi of Shivaji Maharaj. He made a public appeal to the various princes, wealthy nobilities and ordinary people for donations. These appeals were made through the powerful medium of the newspaper 'Kesari'. He did not stop just at that but also started publicly acknowledging the receipts in Kesari. This was done in order to establish accountability to the public at large. The response was overwhelming. It successfully aroused the national pride and energized the Indian mind.
In 1896, under his personal leadership 'Shiv Punya Tithi' was celebrated at Fort Raigad. The main objective of this large-scale public celebration was to pay obeisance to the sacred Samadhi and awaken the patriotic spirit by eulogizing Shiv Chhatrapati. The name of Shri Shivaji Fund Committee was later changed to Shri Shivaji Smarak Raigad Mandal. Ever since 1896, Shri Shivaji Raigad Smarak Mandal founded by Lokmanya Tilak have kept up the tradition of celebrating 'Shiv Punya Tithi' at the Fort.
Shri Shivaji Raigad Smarak Mandal, besides celebrating Shiv Punya Tithi, also undertakes several other useful works. These include publication of books related to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Raigad Fort, maintenance of various structures of historical importance on the Fort, tree plantation and beautification of the general area, provision of drinking water facilities, making donations to other organizations to celebrate Shiv Chhatrapati-related events and last, but not the least, sponsoring the Raigad Ropeway. Jog Engineering Limited under the able leadership of its Chairman, (late) Shri. Vishnu Maheshwar Jog and Shri Shivaji Raigad Smarak Mandal, entered into a Build, Operate and Transfer agreement for construction of the Raigad Ropeway project in November 1994 and completed the same in March 1996. On 3rd April 1996, it was inaugurated by Prof. Rajendrasinhji, Sarasanghchalak, R. S. S
(Late) Shri Rajendrasinhji, alias Rajjubhaiyya, inaugurating the Raigad Ropeway by garlanding portraits of Shri Shivaji Maharaj and Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak.