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The War Architecture and Shivaji Raje

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‘The War Architecture and ShivajiRaje


यशवंत, कीतीवंत । सामर्थयवय तं, वरदवंत । पण्यवंतु आणि जयवंत । जािता राजा

आचारशील, ववचारशील । दानशील, धमशय ील । सवज्ञयपिे सशीलु । सकळाठायी ॥

या भमंडळाचेू ठायी । धमरय क्षी ऐसा नाही ।

महाराष्ट्रधमय राहहला काही । तम्हाकारिेु ॥

Swami Samarth


Architecture is a powerful system that shapes our society. While it provides shelter to people, it also keeps others out. Buildings can signify progress, but it can also imply control of ruling classes. Often, architecture is the first to be rebuilt after a war. Sometimes, it becomes the cause of the war. In a world often beset with conflict, architecture can be used as a tool to dictate and dominate the actions of people illustrates how architecture can affect conflicts. When buildings are used to divide and control, differences are highlighted and discrimination subtly enters the picture.Even though structures do not directly cause people harm, their mere presence can evoke feelings that translate to actions and opinions.

Considering this, it appears that architects and designers play a large role in shaping communities and influencing thought. Just as architecture can cause conflict, it can also be used to encourage peace and unity. Kings definitely benefit from architecture that that protects from impending invasioins as well as promotes harmonious co-existence.Maybe if designers can create spaces that encourage people to get together, to see each other as equals, maybe they can change the minds of people at war. Maybe if buildings are made more inclusive, open to all, we can create a society that is not divided by class or religion. Planners help shape our nation, and they have a large responsibility in their hands. Will the built environment break or unite our country that has suffered war? The answer lies with the designers of our land.

A fortification is a military construction or building designed for the defense of territories in warfare, and is also used to solidify rule in a region during peacetime. The term is derived from the Latin fortis ("strong") and facere ("to make").

From very early history to modern times, defensive walls have often been necessary for cities to survive in an ever-changing world of invasion and conquest. Some settlements in the Indus Valley Civilization were the first small cities to be fortified. In ancient Greece, large stone walls had been built in Mycenaean Greece, such as the ancient site of Mycenae (famous for the huge stone blocks of its 'cyclopean' walls). A Greek phrourion was a fortified collection of buildings used as a military garrison, and is the equivalent of the Roman castellum or English fortress. These constructions mainly served the purpose of a watch tower, to guard certain roads, passes, and borders. Though smaller than a real fortress, they acted as a border guard rather than a real strongpoint to watch and maintain the border.

The art of setting out a military camp or constructing a fortification traditionally has been called "castrametation" since the time of the Roman legions. Fortification is usually divided into two branches: permanent fortification and field fortification. There is also an intermediate branch known as semipermanent fortification. Castles are fortifications which are regarded as being distinct from the generic fort or fortress in that they are a residence of a monarch or noble and command a specific defensive territory.

Roman forts and hill forts were the main antecedents of castles in Europe, which emerged in the 9th century in the Carolingian Empire. The Early Middle Ages saw the creation of some towns built around castles.

Medieval-style fortifications were largely made obsolete by the arrival of cannons in the 14th century. Fortifications in the age of black powder evolved into much lower structures with greater use of ditches and earth ramparts that would absorb and disperse the energy of cannon fire. Walls exposed to direct cannon fire were very vulnerable, so the walls were sunk into ditches fronted by earth slopes to improve protection.

The arrival of explosive shells in the 19th century led to yet another stage in the evolution of fortification. Star forts did not fare well against the effects of high explosive, and the intricate arrangements of bastions, flanking batteries and the carefully constructed lines of fire for the defending cannon could be rapidly disrupted by explosive shells. Steel-and-concrete fortifications were common during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The advances in modern warfare since World War I have made large-scale fortifications obsolete in most situations.

Forts: A number of forts dating from the Later Stone Age to the British Raj may be found in India. "Fort" is the word used in India for all old fortifications. Numerous Indus Valley Civilization sites exhibit evidences of fortifications. While Dholavira has stone-built fortification walls, Harrapa is fortified using baked bricks; sites such as Kalibangan exhibit mudbrick fortifications with bastions and Lothal has a quadrangular fortified layout. Evidence also suggested of fortifications in Mohenjo-daro. Even a small town – for instance, Kotada Bhadli, exhibiting sophisticated fortification-like bastions – shows that nearly all major and minor towns of the Indus Valley Civilization were fortified. Forts also appeared in urban cities of the Gangetic valley during the second

urbanisation period between 600–200 BC, and as many as 15 fortification sites have been identified by archaeologists throughout the Gangetic valley, such as Kaushambi, Mahasthangarh, Pataliputra, Mathura, Ahichchhatra, Rajgir, and Lauria Nandangarh. The earliest vedic brick fortification occurs in one of the stupa mounds of Lauria Nandangarh, which is 1.6 km in perimeter and oval in plan and encloses a habitation area. India currently has over 180 forts, with the state of Maharashtra alone having over 70 forts, which are also known as durg, many of them built by Shivaji, founder of the Maratha state. A large majority of forts in India are in North India. The most notable forts are the Red Fort at Delhi, the Red Fort at Agra, the Chittor Fort and Mehrangarh Fort in Rajasthan, the Ranthambhor Fort, Amer Fort and Jaisalmer Fort also in Rajasthan and Gwalior Fort.

In the constant struggle for power, forts and fortified settlements were a potent symbol of authority. Thus, in ancient India as elsewhere, forts were the measure of Monarch's strength. There are many references to Forts and fortifications in ancient and medieval literature dating from the Vedic times. The Rigveda Samhita mentions tribes living in fortifications called Pur, meaning earthworks strengthened by stone walls. The Aiteraya Brahmana refers to the three Agnis, or fires, as three forts which prevent the Asuras (demons) from disturbing the sacrifice. The Ramayana and the Mahabharata also contain account of forts, and the Puranas state that the rampart and ditch are the important elements in the fortification of a castle. Kautilya's Arthashstra gives a vivid account of the fortified city of Pataliputra, capital of the great Maurya empire, 3rd century B.C., which is supported by the subsequent excavations in the modern city of Patna. Durg is the Indian term of fort, and means difficult to trespass, signifying the importance of a strategic site, a strong wall and a moat to make it an impregnable bastion.

There are six type of forts: the Dhanva Durg or desert fort; the Mahi Durg or the mud fort; the Jala Durg or the water fort; the Giri Durg or hill fort; the Vriksha or Vana Durg, or the forest fort; the Nara Durg or fort protected by men. Of these the giri Durg is considered the best, though the Mahabharata claims that the Nara Durg was the strongest because a collection of able and trusted men is a king' s greatest asset.

One of the most crucial requirements of a fort was a regular supply of water to ensure self-sufficiency during a siege, which could last for months. The planner in the past gave great thought to the availability of this life saving element by laying down guidelines on storage and efficient reservoir systems. The source of water was a closely guarded secret to prevent the unscrupulous enemy from poisoning it. Varahmir states in his Brihat Samhita that arteries of flowing water lie at various depths beneath the surface of the earth, and these can be located by an understanding of the topography and environment. However, where natural resources of water are scarce, as in the case of forts in the Rajasthan desert, a common method of storing water in the tanks was devised.

Architecture of Forts: A number of text were written on Vastuvidya or the art of architecture, which cover the building of Durgs. These include the Narada Shilpashastra, Maurya, Aparajita Prichha, Vasturajaballabha, Vastumandana, Vastumanjari and Mayamata. The discovery of gunpowder was a great invention of medieval times, leading to the added power of artillery. But the use of cannons to breach impregnable ramparts did not in any way reduced the strength of the fort. Instead, forts equipped themselves with Karkhanas, run by blacksmith who cast cannons and manufactured new weapons so that both sides were evenly balanced.

But the forts were not simply inanimate buildings serving a military purpose; they housed one of the most magnificent palaces ever built. They were alive and echoing to the sounds and cymbals of some of the great dynasties, witness to regicides and bloody succession battles and carrying within their bastions; harems and glitter unsurpassed. Thus, when writing the history of any era, of an empire, it is the forts of that period which dominate the rise and fall of fortunes. Some of the finest examples of the fort architecture in India are the forts of Chitorgarh, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Agra, the Red Fort and many others.

Most of the forts in India are actually castles or fortresses. But when the British Government in India were cataloging them in the 17th–19th century they used the word forts as it was common in Britain then. All fortifications whether European or Indian were termed forts. Thereafter this became the common usage in India. In local languages, the fort names are suffixed by local word for fort thus usage of the Sanskrit word durga, or Urdu word qila or the Hindi word garh or gad in Rajasthan,and Maharashtra is common. For example, Suvarnadurg, Mehrangarh, Sudhagad etc.Indian Types of Ancient Indian Forts

Detail on stupa at Sanchi showing evidence of crenallations and embrasures

Though most of the structures have been decayed and are lost, India's legacy of ancient forts is seen mostly in the shastras (ancient Indian treatises) and in the reliefs on stupas.[5] On some of the early relief work, the carvings indicate that ancient Indian forts has crenellations, embrasures and sloping walls.[3] The Arthashastra the Indian treatise on military strategy describes six major types of forts differentiated by their major mode of defense:[6]

• Jala-durga (Water fort) o Antardvipa-durga (island fortress): surrounded by natural (sea or river) water bodies. E.g. Murud-Janjira. o Sthala-durga (plain fortress): surrounded by artificial moats or irrigated by a river.egDeeg Fort, Lohagarh Fort
• Dhanvana- or Maru-durga (Desert Fort): Surrounded by an arid area of at least 5 yojanas (73 km).
• Giri-durga (Hill fort) o Prantara-durga: Located on a flat hill summit. E.g. medieval forts such as Chittor, Gwalior and Ranthambore.
o Giri-parshva-durga: The fortifications and civilian structures extend down to the hill slope (not just the summit).
o Guha-durga: Located in a valley surrounded by hills, where the outposts and the signal towers are located.
• Vana-durga (Forest fort): Surrounded by a dense forest over a distance of at least 4 kroshas (14.6 km).
o Khanjana-durga, built on a fen surrounded by thorny forests.
o Sthambha-durga, built in the forest among tall trees; lacks sufficient water sources.
• Mahi-durga (Earthen fort) o Mrid-durga: surrounded by earthen walls o Parigha-durga: Surrounded by earthen walls, as well as stone or brick walls. The walls are at least 5.4 m high and their width is half of their height.
o Panka-durga: Surrounded by fens or quicksand
• Nri-durga (Human fort)

Defended by a large number of loyal and experienced warriors. Usually a city fortress, populated by a substantial garrison.

Each of these types had its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, according to the Manusmṛti, the forest fort suffers from monkey attacks, the earthen forts get swarmed with rodents, the water forts were plagued by diseases etc. The Manusmṛti considers the Hill fort to be the best defensive structure. Some Sanskrit text consider hill forts to be the abode of gods and hence auspicious. The Mahabharata describes the Human fort as the most effective fortification.

With the advent of the Muslims, closely followed by the introduction of artillery in the 16th century there were several changes to the construction and design of forts. These changes were similar to the changes that took place in Western forts with the advent of gunpowder, i.e. the lowering of walls, thickening of walls, further pushing out of bastions etc. The construction of a citadel in the centre and putting in more area between the citadel and the walls was characteristic of Muslim forts (influenced in turn by the Norman motte and bailey). Classic examples of such structures are the Golkonda and the Berar fort.

The gates of medieval Indian forts were highly decorated.[9] Two distinct styles are seen. The Hindu style with a lintel and the Mughal style with an arch. Gates in Indian forts were often high and wide to allow elephants to pass. Often they had rows of sharp, stout iron spikes to dissuade an attacking army from using elephants to break down the gates.[11] Such a gate with spikes can be seen on the Shaniwarwada fort, Pune. The walls of the forts were often looked higher from the outside than the inside as the forts made use of the natural rock formations on hills. This not only gave an illustion of greater height but also lead to the lower walls of the fort to be entirely made up of natural rock providing almost a perfect defense against the use of a battering ram or elephants to tear down the walls. The main gate to the forts was located mostly facing north direction, this was to avoid its deterioration by the rains,winds and the sun.


Stone was the most important material for building fortifications in medieval India. Walls were erected by one of the following three construction methods. A wall could be an earthen rampart faced with stone on both sides. The rampart was built using the earth excavated while digging the ditch, with three-quarters of it used for building a rampart and one-quarter for levelling out the surface inside the fortress and in front of the ditch. Facing the rampart with stone allowed for the erection of higher and steeper walls than those possible with a purely earthen rampart. The structure had a substantial shortcoming, however: an earthen core accumulated water, which could destroy the stone shell. Drainage channels were therefore installed along the length of the wall from top to bottom. The main binding material for construction was Lime mortar.

Lime mortar mixer on Rasalgad

The second method consisted of filling the space between the outer layers with earth mixed with rubble. This core was considerably harder than simply using rammed earth. The third and most advanced method involved the use of mortar. A rubble-built wall fastened with mortar was strong and long lasting. Construction methods depended, however, on the materials available.[2]

In medieval India, several reports exist of the practice of burying humans either dead or alive in the foundations of fort walls, to ensure their stability, being widely followed. It was believed that the ghosts of those sacrificed as such would keep evil spirits away. During the building of the Sri Qila, Delhi Alauddin Khalji is reported to have buried 8,000 skulls of Mughals killed by him into the foundation. During the building of Purandar Fort one its bastions gave way several times. The king of Berar then ordered his minister an Esaji Naik Chive to bury a first-born son and his wife into the foundation of

the bastion. This was promptly done and after a further offering of gold and bricks. When the bastion was finished Esaji Naik was given possession of the fort and the father of the sacrificed boy was rewarded with two villages.[13] Along with the fortification, emphasis was also given for construction of rock cut water cistern, ponds, wells and lakes. To avoid evaporation of water, the water bodies were covered. At times rooms were built close to water bodies to keep the temperature low.

Many Indian fortifications have parapets with peculiarly shaped merlons and complicated systems of loopholes, which differ substantially from similar structures in other countries. Typical Indian merlons were semicircular and pointed at the top, although they were sometimes fake: the parapet may be solid and the merlons shown in relief on the outside (as at Chittorgarh). What was unique is the arrangement and direction of loopholes. Loopholes were made both in the

merlons themselves, and under the crenels. They could either look forward (to command distant approaches) or downward (to command the foot of the wall). Sometimes a merion was pierced with two or three loopholes, but more often, one loophole was divided into two or three slits by horizontal or vertical partitions. The shape of loopholes, as well as the shape of merlons, need not have been the same everywhere in the castle, as shown by Kumbhalgarh.

Shivaji Bhosale (1630 – April 3, 1680) was an Indian warrior-king and a member of the Bhonsle Maratha clan. Shivaji carved out an enclave from the declining Adilshahi sultanate of Bijapur that formed the genesis of the Maratha Empire. In 1674, he was formally crowned as the chhatrapati (emperor) of his realm at Raigad.

Over the course of his life, Shivaji engaged in both alliances and hostilities with the Mughal Empire, Sultanate of Golkonda and Sultanate of Bijapur, as well as European colonial powers. Shivaji's military forces expanded the Maratha sphere of influence, capturing and building forts, and forming a Maratha navy. Shivaji established a competent and progressive civil rule with well-structured administrative organisations. He revived ancient Hindu political traditions and

court conventions and promoted the usage of Marathi and Sanskrit, rather than Persian language, in court and administration. Shivaji's legacy was to vary by observer and time, but he began to take on increased importance with the emergence of the Indian independence movement, as many elevated him as a proto-nationalist and hero of the Hindus. Particularly in Maharashtra, debates over his history and role have engendered great passion and sometimes even violence as disparate groups have sought to characterise him and his legacy.

Shivaji was descended from a line of prominent nobles. India at that time was under Muslim rule: the Mughals in the north and the Muslim sultans of Bijapur and Golconda in the south. All three ruled by right of conquest, with no pretense that they had any obligations toward those who they ruled. Shivaji, whose ancestral estates were situated in the Deccan, in the realm of the Bijapur sultans, found the Muslim oppression and religious persecution of the Hindus so intolerable that, by the time he was 16, he convinced himself that he was the divinely appointed instrument of the cause of Hindu freedom— a conviction that was to sustain him throughout his life.

Collecting a band of followers, he began about 1655 to seize the weaker Bijapur outposts. In the process, he destroyed a few of his influential coreligionists, who had aligned themselves with the sultans. All the same, his daring and military skill, combined with his sternness toward the oppressors of the Hindus, won him much admiration. His depredations grew increasingly audacious, and several minor expeditions sent to chastise him proved ineffective.

Shivaji’s Defence establishments: Any aggressor takes pain to defend himself first. With this in mind,Shivaji began to Build as well as amass by conquests numerous forts. They were to serve two purposes:

1. Defend his people who took shelter into them.

2. Defend his lands because the forts were gateways to the lands.

3. Symboloze his power and might.

4. Put fear into the minds of those who were thinking of annexing his territories by attacks.

Fortunately we have a near contemporary source on this which gives the exact figure as 240. The source is a chronicle, which is named as Sabhasad Chronicle or Sabhasad Bakhar in Marathi. Krishnaji Anant

Sabhasad was a member of Shivaji’s court and he wrote a chronicle describing the life of Shivaji. It is the earliest of all the Marathi chronicles relating to Maratha History. It was written before 1720 in any case. This chronicle was translated from Marathi into English by the great Bengali Historian Surendra Nath Sen. It was published by Calcutta Univesity way back in 1920, and now its pdf is furtunately available. The chronicle says that, Shivaji was master of around 240 forts. Many of them were sea-forts as well. The whole Konkan coast was under him with small pockets belonging to enemies like Portuguese and Siddy. In Karnataka & Tamil Nadu, he had around 79 forts. His ‘old possessions’ had 50 forts around Pune. Another 111 were constructed by him from scratch. So the total is 79 + 50 + 111 = 129 + 111 = 240.

So, the 240 total forts minus 111 built from scratch means he won 240 - 111 = 129 forts in total (approx). And 79 forts conquered in Karnataka & Tamil nadu. The first 39 are “above the Ghats” i.e. not coastal.Rest 40 are the coastal ones. Total he won fort from 210 to 240. This is and surprising amount as in his time, there were Mughals in North-West. British in the North- East. Portuguese in the South. Sultans in Maharashtra (where Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was born). So, imagine all these forces in India and how can he win 210 to 240 forts? Below is the list of forts belonging to him Torna.

Other’s say that Chhatrapati Shivaji was founder of Maratha empire in western India in 1664, was well known for his forts; he was in possession of around 370 at the time of his death. Many, like Panhala Fort and Rajgad existed before him but others, like Sindhudurg and Pratapgad, were built by him from scratch. Also, the fort of Raigad was built as the place of throne, i.e., the capital, of Maratha Empire by Hirojee Indulkar on the orders of the Chhatrapati. This is the place where Shivaji was crowned and today also his Samadhi (shrine) stands in front of the Jagadishwar temple. These forts were central to his empire and their remains are among the foremost sources of information about his rule. The French missionary Father Fryer witnessed the fortifications of Gingee, Madras, built by Shivaji after its conquest, and appreciated his technical know-how and knowledge. Water conservation Lessons from the forts

In the olden times, Shivaji knew the importance of water and had devised a number of techniques to manage and conserve water resources. These efforts not only met the drinking water needs of the people, but also helped the survival of livestock and agriculture in areas where perennial rivers were absent and the population depended on rains and often faced water scarcity or droughts. A classic example of the ancient ingenuity in designing water-harvesting structures to meet the needs of people living in hilly and mountainous areas is the techniques used in ancient hill forts of Maharashtra.

Many were constructed during the reign of the Maratha warrior of the 16th century, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The forts were designed to provide strategic advantage against the enemy, the Mughals

Of the 550 forts that were constructed during this period of which roughly 450 remain, the majority of them being hill forts. The water-harvesting methods on these forts were designed taking into consideration the topography and the water resources available. Every hill fort functioned as an independent town where everything--from groceries to armour-- was available in sufficient amount to sustain in times of an attack by the enemy. Similarly, water, too, needed to be stored efficiently, considering the impracticality of carrying water to the fort on the hills for the daily needs of the people . A number of structures, such as underground water tanks, reservoirs, cisterns, and artificial lakes, were constructed on these forts .

Sindhudurg was built in order to control attacks by Portuguese and Siddhis on the coastal areas of the Maratha Empire. This fort is the witness of Shivaji's navy which was later led by Kanhoji Angre in times of Shivaji's grandson Shahu I, and came to glory. Also Shivaji built the forts of Colaba and Underi to control the activities of the Siddhis in Arabian Sea. At the time of Underi's construction British opposed a lot and stood with their warships in the sea to obstacle the material being supplied for the construction of the fort. But for their surprise the material required for construction was being supplied with the help of small boats in night.

The hill fort of Salher in Nashik district was at a distance of 1,200 km (750 mi) from the hill fort Gingee, near Chennai. Over such long distance, hill forts were supported by seaforts. The seafort, Kolaba Fort, near Mumbai, was at a distance of 500 km (310 mi) from the seafort Sindhudurg. All of these forts were put under a havaldar with a strong garrison. Strict discipline was followed. These forts proved useful during Mughal-Maratha wars.

Notable features of Shivaji's forts include:

• Design changes with the topography and in harmony of the contour, no monotony of design.

• No ornate palaces or dance floors or gardens.

• No temple complexes.

• Not much difference in the area of higher or lower ranks.

• Marvelous acoustics in the capital.

• Sanskritization of fort names.

Community participation in the defense of forts.

• Three tier administration of forts.

• System of inspection of forts by higher ups including the king.

Distinct feature of forts like double line fortification of Pratapgad, citadel of Rajgad.

• Foresight in selection of sites.

Suvela Machi, view of southern sub-plateaux, as seen from Ballekilla, Rajgad

Hill forts played a key role in Shivaji's strategy. He captured important forts at Murambdev (Rajgad), Torna, Kondhana (Sinhagad) and Purandar. He also rebuilt or repaired many forts in advantageous locations. In addition, Shivaji built a number of forts; the number "111" is reported in some accounts, but it is likely the actual number "did not exceed 18." The historian Jadunath Sarkar assessed that Shivaji owned some 240–280 forts at the time of his death. Each was placed under three officers of equal status, lest a single traitor be bribed or tempted to deliver it to the enemy. The officers acted jointly and provided mutual checks and balance.


Sindudurg Fort provided anchorages for Shivaji's Navy

Aware of the need for naval power to maintain control along the Konkan coast, Shivaji began to build his navy in 1657 or 1659, with the purchase of twenty galivats from the Portuguese shipyards of Bassein. Marathi chronicles state that at its height his fleet counted some 400 military ships, though British chronicles counter that the number never exceeded 160 ships.

With the Marathas being accustomed to a land-based military, Shivaji widened his search for qualified crews for his ships, taking on lower-caste Hindus of the coast who were long familiar with naval operations (the famed "Malabar pirates") as well as Muslim mercenaries.[140] Noting the power of the Portuguese navy, Shivaji hired a number of Portuguese sailors and Goan Christian converts, and made Rui Leitao Viegas commander of his fleet. Viegas was later to defect back to the Portuguese, taking 300 sailors with him. Shivaji fortified his coastline by seizing coastal forts and refurbishing them, and built his first marine fort at Sindhudurg, which was to become the headquarters of the Maratha navy.[142] The navy itself was a coastal navy, focused on travel and combat in the littoral areas, and not intended to go far out to sea.

Water supply during the Shivaji era

Gangasagar talaav, Raigad fort.

The system of water supply during the Shivaji era was almost same on all forts. A certain amount of water was allotted to every person according to his post in the administration and this water would be manually carried from the tanks or lakes to the individuals by water carriers referred to as ‘panke’ who were paid according to their workload and the person who has employed him .Evidence shows that water was used with utmost care on the forts . Pratapgad, Satara District, Maharashtra, India

Pratapgad Fort. The upper fort is visible to the right of the photograph, while the outworks of the Tehalni tower stretch away to the left.

Pratapgad fort is located 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from Poladpur and 23 kilometres (14 mi) west of Mahabaleshwar, a popular hill station in the area. The fort stands 1,080 metres (3,540 ft) above sea level and is built on a spur which overlooks the road between the villages of Par and Kinesvar.


The Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj commissioned Moropant Trimbak Pingle, his prime minister, to undertake the construction of this fort in order to defend the banks of the Nira and the Koyna rivers, and to defend the Par pass. It was completed in 1656.[1] The Battle of Pratapgad between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Afzal Khan was fought below the ramparts of this fort on 10 November 1659. This was the first major test of the fledgling kingdom's army, and set the stage of the establishment of the Maratha empire. Pratapgad continued to be involved in regional politics. Sakharam Bapu, a wellknown minister of Pune, was

confined by his rival Nana Phadnis in Pratapgad in 1778. He was later moved from fort to fort until he died at Raigad. In 1796, Nana Phadnis, while escaping from the intrigues of Daulatrao Shinde and his minister Baloba, assembled a strong garrison in Pratapgad before heading to Mahad. In 1818, as part of the Third Anglo-Maratha War, Pratapgad surrendered by private negotiation. This was a great loss to the Maratha forces, as Pratapgad was an important stronghold, had a large garrison, and could suppress much of the country around Wai. A 17 feet high equestrian bronze statue of Shivaji was unveiled by Jawaharlal Nehru, then

Prime Minister of India, on 30 November 1957, the same year a road was constructed by the Public Works Department from Kumbhrosi village up to fort] A guest house and a national park were built inside the fort in 1960. The fort is currently owned by Udayanraje Bhosale, the heir to the former Satara princely stateStructure: The upper fort was built upon the crest of the hill. It is roughly square, 180m long on each side. It has several permanent buildings, including a temple to the god Mahadev. It is located at the northwest of the fort, and is surrounded by sheer cliffs with drops of up to 250m.

The lower fort is around 320m long and 110m wide. It is located at the southeast of the fort, and is defended by towers and bastions ten to twelve metres high. The Afzal tower extends out from the fort proper and defends the approach to the fort. It is said to have been constructed after the Battle of Pratapgad, and Afzal Khan's body is said to be buried under the tower. In 1661, Shivaji Maharaj was unable to visit the temple of the goddess Bhavani at Tuljapur. He decided to dedicate a temple to the goddess at this fort itself. This temple is on the eastern side of the lower fort. The hall has been rebuilt since the original

construction, and consists of wooden pillars about 50' long, 30' broad and 12' high. The shrine is made of stone, and contains a clothed black stone image of the goddess. The roof of the temple is flat inside, but covered in lead covering put up by the Satara Raja Pratapsinha (1818–1839). A small spire or shikhar covers the shrine.The temple also has the sword of Maratha General Hambirao Mohite adorned with 6 diamond stones signifying that he had killed 600 soldiers in the battle. There is also a spatikha linga being worshipped inside the temple. The armors used in the battle during that period by the infantry soldiers are also on display just outside the temple

Sinhagad Fort, Pune Located in the Sahyadri Mountains, Sinhagad Fort is an ancient fortress known for its historical significance and architecture. It was once known as Kondhana and has witnessed a number of battles; one notable battle being the 1670 Battle of Sinhagad. The name, “Sinhagad”, literally means Lion’s Fort signifying its strength and brilliance. Today, the structure is a perfect landmark for trekkers as it is located at a height of over 750 metres in the Sahyadri Mountains. In fact, the fort is strategically built right in the centre of the line of Maratha forts built in the Sahyadris. Some of these citadels are the Rajgad Fort, Torna Fort and the Purandar Fort..

Water-harvesting structures at Sinhagarh

The hill fort of Sinhagad in Pune has many water tanks built within its structure. These are rock-cut cisterns called take or tanks that accumulate and store rainwater. These tanks were created when the rocks needed for the construction of the forts were extracted from the ground. A total of 48 such take can be seen in the fort. At some locations, there are dressed stone walls around these tanks to increase the height and the storing capacity of the tanks, says Joshi. These tanks stored water for four to six months, following the rainy season.

Different types of water cisterns are found on forts, some are open to the sky, some are built-in caves in the rocks, while some others are dug under the ground and on the slopes. In some cases, cisterns were built in groups so that the surface runoff was diverted into the cisterns and water could be recharged and stored better . A group of 24 rock-cut cisterns that can still be found on the Sinhagad fort.At times, after the demand for the stones to construct the fort was fulfilled, the excavated portion on the ground was blasted at greater depth to create underground cracks to generate groundwater in the form of springs in the cistern

Prabalgad Fort: rechristened under Shivaji's rule

Prabalgad Fort, also known as Kalavantin Durg or Kalavantin’s Fort, is located between Matheran and Panvel in Maharashtra, at an elevation of 2,300 ft in the Western Ghats. It was built on the pinnacle of a rocky plateau, very close to Matheran. Previously, the fort was known as Muranjan, until it was taken over and renamed by the Maratha forces under Shivaji's rule.

The fort can be approached via a steep climb. The steps leading up to the fort were cut into the rock of the hill. There are no safety rails on the edge and no ropes on the wall to grab on to. The hardest part is the descent, especially if you have vertigo. According to the legend, the fort was built for a queen named Kalavantin but that really seems to be all that anybody knows. Around 1458, Malik Ahmad, the prime minister of the kingdom of Ahmednagar, took over the fort during his conquest of Konkan. The Mughals took control of Prabalgad along with Kalyan, Mahuli, Karnala and a number of other forts after Sambhaji's death.

by: Elroy

The fort was conquered by Shivaji from the Mughals in 1657, after establishing himself in the KalyanBhiwandi area. At the time of the attack, the fort was governed by Kesar Singh, a Mughal sardar, and was the only fort to put up a strong resistance. On seeing the signs of defeat, the women in the fort performed jauhar, a tradition of self-immolation to ensure an honourable and respectful death. Singh died during the battle in October 1657, and Shivaji, in an act of kindness, allowed Singh's mother and her grandchild a safe passage out.

Raigad: Soaring to a height of around 820 metres, the captivating Raigad Fort is perched on the Sahyadri mountain range in Mahad, Maharashtra. The majestic fort is accessible only from one side through a pathway which has about 1737 steps as deep valleys surround the other three sides. Alternatively, one can take the ropeway to reach the fort top in 4 minutes.

The fort is of great pride for the Marathas and is a reminder of the bravery and audacity. The Raigad fort is not just a tourist spot; it is a sacred place of pilgrimage which holds the imprints of the grand vision of Hindavi Swarajya as cherished by Chhatrapati Shivaji. While most of its parts are in ruins now, the fort still boasts of the brave history of Marathas.

After capturing the Raigad Fort, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj renovated and named it as the capital of Maratha kingdom. The Britishers named it as the Gibraltar of the East as this well-fortified structure atop a hill had defied various attackers. It has several beguiling gates Nagarkhana Darwaja, Mena Darwaja, Maha Darwaja and Palkhi Darwaja. There was also a statue of Shivaji erected in front of the ruins of the main market avenue that eventually leads to his own Samadhi and that of his beloved dog.

Chhtrapati ShivajiMaharaj seized the fort in 1656, then known as the fort of Rairi from Chandraraoji More, The King of Jawali. Chhtrapati Shivaji Maharaj renovated and expanded the fort of Rairi and renamed it as Raigad (King's Fort). It became the capital of Chhtrapati Shivaji Maharaj's Maratha Empire.The villages of Pachad and Raigadwadi are located at the base of the Raigad fort. These two villages were considered very important during the Maratha rule in Raigad. The actual climb to the top of the Raigad fort starts from Pachad. During

Shivaji Maharaj's rule, A cavalry of 10,000 was always kept on standby in Pachad village. Chhtrapati Shivaji Maharaj also built another fort Lingana around 2 miles away from Raigad. The Lingana fort was used to keep prisoners.

In 1689, Zulfikhar Khan captured Raigad and Aurangzeb renamed it as Islamgad. In 1707, Siddi Fathekan captured the fort and held it until 1733. In 1765, The fort of Raigad along with Malwan in present Sindhudurg District, the southernmost district of Maharashtra, was the target of an armed expedition by the British East India Company, which considered it a piratical stronghold. In 1818, the fort was bombarded and destroyed by cannons from the hill of Kalkai. And on 9 May 1818, as per the treaty, it was handed over to the British East India Company.

Later the Raigad fort became a Capital of Shivaji’s empire. It has a peculiar topography with gradual slopes, which made it suitable for constructing lakes. Around 12 lakes or talaavs and 30 rock-cut cisterns can be found in the fort now . Gangasagar talaav, that had the largest storage capacity in the fort, was constructed on a slope by extracting stones (which were used for the construction of the fort) and building a wall on the outer side to restrict and accumulate the water flowing from the hill tops into the talaav.

Dev take at Sinhagad fort. (Source: India Water Portal)

This tall fort of Rajgad, was most unapproachable, and therefore cut off from the outside world to a great degree. It had facilities to store large amounts of water. Two big lakes or talaavs and around 39 rock-cut cisterns can be found in the fort. The ministers who managed the kingdom knew the importance of conserving water, and the experts, who had the knowledge of the water stored in the rocks, known as panades were invited to identify the springs in the rocks. These rocks with the springs were then extracted and blasted to expose the springs. Chandra tale in the Rajgad fort, has one such spring. Rock-cut cisterns served as backup storage as springs often changed course or stopped flowing due to the heavy artillery sounds on the forts.

Sindhudurg Fort (Marathi ससधंदु र्यु ककल्ला) is a historical fort that occupies an islet in the Arabian Sea, just off the coast of Maharashtra in Western India. The fort was built by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The fortress lies on the shore of Malvan town of Sindhudurg District in the Konkan region of Maharashtra, 450 kilometres (280 mi) south of Mumbai.[1] It is a protected monument.

Shivaji Maharaj Supervising construction of Sindhudurg

Sindhudurg island-fort was built by Shivaji Maharaj, the 17th-century ruler of Maratha Empire. Its main objective was to counter the rising influence of foreign colonizers -English, Dutch, French and Portuguese merchants) and to curb the rise of Siddis of Janjira. Construction was supervised by Hiroji Indulkar in 1664. The fort was built on a small island known as the Khurte island.

Structural details: The Great Shivaji Maharaj brought 200 Vaddera people for building this fort. Over 4,000 pounds of lead were used in the casting and foundation stones were firmly laid down. Construction started on 25 November 1664. Built over a period of three years (1664-1667), the sea fort is spread over 48 acres, with a two-mile (3 km) long rampart, and walls that are 30 feet (9.1 m) high and 12 feet (3.7 m) thick. The massive walls were designed to serve as a deterrent to approaching enemies and to the waves and tides of the Arabian Sea. The main entrance is concealed in such a way that no one can pinpoint it from outside.

At a time when traveling by sea was banned by scriptures, this construction on an island represents the revolutionary mindset of its engineer. A remain of an iron mould can be seen.

Vijaydurg (sometimes written as Viziadurg), the oldest fort on the Sindhudurg coast, was constructed during the regime of Raja Bhoja II of the Shilahar dynasty (construction period 1193-1205) and restructured by Shivaji Maharaj.

Earlier, the fort encompassed an area of 5 acres (1 acre = 4840 square yards or 4047 square metres) and was surrounded by sea on all four sides. Over the years the eastern trench was reclaimed and a road constructed thereon. Presently the area of fort is about 17 acres and is surrounded by the Arabian Sea on three sides. Shivaji Maharaj extended the area of the fort by constructing three walls on the eastern side, each 36 metres high. He also constructed 20 bastions.

According to legend, this is one of only two Maratha forts where Shivaji Maharaj personally hoisted the saffron flag. The other fort is Torna. Vijaydurg Fort was called the "Eastern Gibraltar", as it was virtually impregnable.[4] Its locational advantages include the 40 km long Waghotan/Kharepatan creek. Large vessels cannot enter the shallow water of this creek. Also, Maratha warships could be anchored in this creek and yet remain invisible from the sea. It is a protected monument.

The name Vijaydurg comes from two words, "Vijay" meaning Victory and "Durg" meaning Fort. The fort was earlier known as "Gheria", as it is situated close to the village of "Girye". Shivaji Maharaj captured this fort from Adil Shah of Bijapur in 1653 and renamed it as "Vijay Durg" as the then Hindu solar year's name was "Vijay" (Victory).

Vijaydurg fort is located at the tip of the peninsular region of Vijaydurg in Devgad Taluka, of district Sindhudurg. It is one of the several coastal forts on the western coast of Maharashtra, India. It is surrounded by water on all the four side but connected to land through a narrow road. The port adjacent to the fort is a natural port and is still used by local fishermen.

In 1653 Shivaji Maharaj had captured this fort from Adil Shah of Bijapur and renamed it as "VijayDurg". The original name of the fort was "Gheria" and the first fortification appears to have been constructed in 1200 during the regime of Raja Bhoj II. Shivaji Maharaj developed Vijaydurg as an important base for Maratha warships. Maratha Empire looked to be in a decline after death of Shivaji Maharaj In 1680, when his son and successor Chhatrapati Sambhaji was captured by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and brutally tortured to death on 21 March 1689. Later in that year the fort of Raigad fell in the hand of Mughals. Wife of Shambhaji and his infant son Shahu along with many others were captured and were treated as state prisoners.

End of Maratha Naval Supremacy

The battle of Vijaydurg marks the end of the Maratha Navy as a potent force. The Maratha Admiral Dhulap captured some ships later. The Sawants of Sawantwadi, the Chhatrapati of Kolhapur and the Gaikwads of Baroda, all had a few ships. But the command of the seas, for all practical purposes had passed to the Company permanently. they achieved this in 1756 only because of the alliance with the Peshwa. Architecture: According to unconfirmed reports, there is a 200 meter long, undersea tunnel from the fort to the palatial Dhulap house in the village.[11] Supposedly, the roof of the tunnel has been pinched to protect it from landslides and it is also well ventilated. Now the tunnel is partially blocked. If the presence of the tunnel can be confirmed, and the tunnel cleared, it could serve as a tourist attraction of historical and architectural interest.

• Recent oceanographic evidence supports the existence of an undersea wall, constructed out at sea at a depth of 8–10 meter depth undersea.[12] Made of laterite, the wall is estimated to be 122 meter long, 3 meter high & 7 meter broad. Attacking ships often met a watery grave after colliding against this wall. When the Siddhi of Janjira was going to attack Vijaydurg, he got a message from Portuguese telling him that they had lost 2 of their ships while they were nearing the fort.

• 1.5 km from the fort up the Waghotan Creek, exist the remains of a naval dock carved from rock. This is where Maratha warships were built and repaired. The ships built here were of the 400500 tonnage capacity. This 109 meter long and 70 meter wide dock faces the north side and is an achievement of Maratha naval architecture. Most of the smaller ships used to be docked near this small inner port.[14] The southern and eastern side is cut out of a natural rock and rest is dry masonry. In addition to this a number of grapnel and triangular stone anchors were noticed in the adjoining area of dockyard.

• On the other hill in front of the fort a wall was built to deceive the enemy. When the enemy attacked the wall, he had already wasted his ammunition and before he could understand, he would be attacked by Marathas from the rear side.

• The Archaeological Survey of India had undertaken restoration and repair works for Maratha forts in Maharashtra which included Vijaydurg Fort along with Shivneri and Sindhudurg Fort.

• The fort has many monuments, now in ruins which show the characteristics of Maratha architecture. The food storage and court are such classic examples.

• This fort also has a Khalbatkhana, where important meetings were held. There are only 3 forts that had a Khalbatkhana. They are Rajgad, Raigad and Vijaydurg.

Its importance for the Maratha kingdom stems from the fact that this is only one of the two forts of the Maratha kingdom, where King Shivaji personally hoisted the saffron flagIt was built in 17th Century and is one of the major tourist attar ction for people visiting Maharashtra. The Architectural marvel

• There is a 200m long tunnel (undersea/underland ) from the fort to the Dhulap’s palatial house in the village. The tunnel is man-made and the roof has been pinched to protect it from land-slides and it is also well ventilated.

• The fencing compound wall constructed at 8 -10 m depth undersea, 300ft from the fort is another architectural wonder. The wall constructed is 122 mtr long, 3 mtr high & 7 mtr in breadth. Majority of attacking ships met their watery grave after colliding on this wall as this wall is not visible above the sea level.



Joshi, P. P. Joglekar and R.K. Mohanty,Bulletin of the Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute,Vol. 76 (2016), ,published by: Vice Chancellor, Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute (Deemed University), Pune