Raigad was known to be the very heart of Maratha country wherein the fierce battle was fought in 1656 and eventually Shivaji defeated Chandarrao More and won the Raigad fort. Fourteen years later, in the summer of 1670, Shivaji moved his capital to Raigad, then the fortress of Rairi. Chhatrapati Shivaji renovated and expanded the Fortress of Rairi and renamed it Raigad, or the King's Fort, the name he gave it when he selected it for his capital when he was in the process of assuming the royal character. Shivaji was coronated on 6th June, 1674 and breathed his last here on 3rd April 1680.

Raigad, strategically perched atop a wedge-shaped block of hill, split off from the Western Ghats and inaccessible from three sides. Stories of incredible valour and heroic deeds are etched on every pebble at Raigad. It is a monument of his prophetic vision of Hindavi Swarajya and a sacred place of pilgrimage. Though parts of Raigad are in ruins, yet they inspire an aura of grandeur.

Raigad was previously a part of the Kulaba (also spelled Kolaba) district which was split from Thane district in 1869. However at this point the northernmost parts of modern Raigad district were retained in Thane district. Panvel, just across the bay from Mumbai was not put in Kolaba district until 1883, and Karjat, an area in the north-east corner of modern Raigad was not placed in Kolaba until 1891. Raigad is famed for its rich heritage, ancient monuments and rocky terrain.