Wednesday, July 27, 2011


As like Janjira, Vijaydurg is also a robust fort in Maharashtra. The history of the fort dates back to 1205 AD, when it was constructed by King Bhoj of Shilahar dynasty. Later the fort was ruled by many dynasties including Yadav, Kings of Vijay Nagar, Aadilshaha, Marathas and British. Shivaji Maharaj captured this fort from Adilshah in 1653. This is among the two forts where Shivaji Maharaj had personally hoisted the saffron flag of Maratha empire. The other fort is Torana.
Vijaydurg remain impregnable for a long time. It was attacked in 1717, 1720 and 1734 by British, Portuguese and Dutch, but remain unconquered.

Vijaydurg was the main Maratha naval base under Kanhoji Anngre and Tulahi Aangre. A naval dock was constructed near Vijaydurg, where Maratha warships built and repaired.

Way to main entrance of Vijaydurg

Way to main entrance of Vijaydurg

This fort has strategic advantage, as it is situated near Vaghotan Creek, which is 40 km long. Large warships could not enter the shallow water of the creek, so these ships were useless to attack on this fort. Maratha warships were anchored in this creek and so were invisible from deep sea.

The under water fencing wall constructed around the fort is the protective shield of the fort. The wall is present at 8 to 10 meter depth from the sea surface and is invisible from the surface. Most of the warships attacking on this fort would struck this wall and sunk.

One more architectural marval is the under water, under ground tunnel from the fort to the Dhulp's palatial house in the village. This tunnel is man made.

Vijaydurg is protected with its 36 meter high fortification and the 20 bastions on it.The fortification available today is actually constructed by Shivaji Maharaj after he captured the fort from Aadilshah. He then renamed the fort to 'Vijaydurg'. Earlier the fort was known as 'Gheria', as it is situated near the village 'Girye'.

Cannon shells on Vijaydurg

Fortification of  Vijaydurg

Water tank on Vijaydurg

Fortification of Vijaydurg

Fortification of Vijaydurg

Fortification of Vijaydurg
Fortification of Vijaydurg

Fortification of Vijaydurg

Fortification and the Bastion on it 

Fortification of Vijaydurg

Fortification of Vijaydurg

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Murud Janjira the robust fort is situated on the west coast of India. It is in Raigad District of Maharashtra, about 165km south of Mumbai.

The special thing about the fort is that, the fort was invincible to Marathas, Dutch and the British. All these tried to conquer the fort many times, but all the attempts were in vain. The robust fortress which is standing tall even after more than 400 years of construction, the cannons and the bastions of the fort has made the fort unconquerable.

In the 15th century the local fishermen had constructed some wooden structure on this island in the Arabian sea with the permission from Nizamshah of Ahmadnagar. This was done to protect the community from pirates. Ram Koli (Patil) was the leader of the fishermen community. Later he became rebel and refused to respect the orders of Nizamshah

One of the commander of Nizamshah, - Piram Khan captured the fort and the wooden construction from Kolis in Troy style. He entered the fort with three ships full of soldiers pretending to be a merchant. He offered Ram Patil and his men good quality wine. When all were under influence of the wine, Piraam Khan's soldiers came out of the ships and arrested Ram Patil. The fort was captured by Piram Khan. His son "Burhan Khan" constructed the fort which we see today. He razed the old construction by Kolis before constructing the new fortification with stone in about 1570. Since then the fort is impregnable.

Repeated attempts by Shivaji Maharaj to capture the fort failed. After him, Chhatrapati Smbhaji also could not capture the fort. So he build yet another marine fort : Padmdurg, just 9 km north to Janjira. Later Peshwas tried to capture Janjira, but failed.
The fort is about 3 km from the shore and can be approached by sailboats. As like other marine forts in Maharashtra, the main entrance is not visible unless the visitor comes enough close to the fort. The mosque, the palce of Siddi, the fresh water reservoirs, the cannons laying on the bastions of the fort are the things to be seen on the fort. Also there are other ruins of the buildings laying on the fort. The fortification of the fort is still in good condition as compared ti other forts in Maharashtra.
Here are some snaps of the impregnable fort : Janjira.

Fortification as seen from outside of Janjira

Fortification as seen from outside of Janjira

Main entrance of Janjira. This is not visible from along distance

Main Entrance of the fort Janjira

Remains of the construction inside the fort Janjira

One of the cannon laying on the bastion of the fort Janjira
One of the cannon laying on the bastion of the fort Janjira

Fortification ans the sea as seen from iside the fort
Sweet watre reservoir

Ruins of the construction and the palace of Siddi

Water reservoir and the palace of Siddi

Cannons laying on one of the bastion of Janjira

Sign inscribed in stone wall near main entrance

Signs inscribed in stone wall near main entrance

Singn inscribed in stone wall near main entrance

Ruins of construction

Cannon on the fort

Main entrance from inside

Monday, July 4, 2011

Baji Prabhu Deshpande and The Battle of Pavankhind

Baji Prabhu Deshpande was a sardar in Maratha army in time of Shivaji Maharaj. He is wel known for his valor and supreem scarification for Shivaji Maharaj in Ghodkhind pass.

The Battle of Pavankhind was fought between Adilshaha and the Marathas on the night of 13th July 1660. The heroes of the battle were Baji Prabhu Deshpande, his brother Fulaji Prabhu Deshpande, Sambhaji Jadhav (Father of Dhanaji Jadhav) and 300 anonymous Maratha soldiers. One more name - "Shiva Kashid" is to be included in the list, he did not participated in the actual battle, however made sure that Marathas could get enough time to take strategic positions in the Ghodkhind. Because of his supreme scarification Baji Prabhu and Shivaji Maharaj could reach Ghodkhind before Siddi Masud could get them. Ghodkhind was renamed to "Pavankhind" after this battle in the memories of the martyrs of the battle.

After Afzalkhan was killed at Pratapgad, the Maratha army concurred the area till the fort Panhala near Kolhapur from Aadilshaha. After capturing Panhala, the siege was laid to the fort by Adilshahi general Siddi Jauhar. Shivaji Maharaj was on the the fort Panhala. The siege was too tight to escape from it. All the attempts made by Maratha general Netaji Palkar to break the siege failed.

Finally, a plan was prepared to escape from the siege and to go to Vishalgad. Shivaji Maharaj sent his representative to Siddi Jauhar, and told Siddi Jauhar that he was ready to sign a treaty. This news made the soldiers who were conducting the siege relax to some extent. In the night (night of 13th July 1660), Shivaji Maharaj took selected 600 soldiers with him and quietly escaped the siege.

Statue of Shiva Kashid on Panhala
 Siddi Jauhar's men came to know about Shivaji Maharaj's escape from Panhala. Siddi Jauhar immedietly sent Siddi Masud ( his son in law) on pursuit of Shivaji Maharaj with 3000 cavalry. They soon got the palanquin of "Shivaji Maharaj". With immediate effect, "Shivaji Maharaj" was arrested and with immense pleasure was taken to the camp. Then they came to know that they had been fooled. The one who was arrested was not real Shivaji, he was a barber, "Shiva Kashid"!!!!!! Needless to say, he was immediately  killed. Thus, Shiva Kashid sacrified his life to save his king. 

This was according to the plan. Siddi Jauhar's army was expected to chase the escaping Shivaji Maharaj. To mislead them, Shiva Kashid volunteered to be a duplicate Shivaji. He dressed like Shivaji Maharaj and boarded in palanquin, similar to that of Shivaji Maharaj. When the chase started Shiva Kashid got himself arrested by Siddi Masud. As expected he was taken to the camp. This gave the fleeing Marathas some time to cover more distance towards Vishalgad. Thanks to Shiva Kashid.
Tomb of Shiva Kashid
Again the chase was started.When Shivaji Maharaj was near Ghodkhind, Siddi Masud got the fleeing Marathas. The Ghodkhind is a narrow pass. It is too narrow that only a few soldiers can pass through it simultaneously. Marathas were divided into two troops of 300 each. Shivaji Maharaj took one troop with him and went ahead towards Vishalgad. Other troop led by Baji Prabhu Deshpande stood the ground in Ghodkhind to deffend the pass until Shivaji Maharaj reach Vishalgad.
Statue of Baji Prabhu Deshpande on Panhala
Shivaji Maharaj was unware about the siege laid to Vishalgad by Suryarao Surve and Jaswantrao Dalvi, the Adilshahi sardars. Shivaji Maharaj attacked the siege with his full strength, and the siege was broken. Shivaji Maharaj reached the fort Vishalgad and quickly fired cannons. This was the signal for Baji Prabhu Deshpande, who was defending the Ghodkhind,  that Shivaji Maharaj has reached to Vishalgad.

By this time, Baji Prabhu and his 300 soldiers were fighting  against 3000 soldiers of enemy. They all were badly wounded and extremely tired. As soon as Baji Prabhu heard sound of cannons, he breathed his last with satisfaction. 

Because of the martyrs like Shiva Kashid, Baji Parbhu, Fulaji Prabhu, Sambhaji Jadhav and many other unknown Maratha soldiers, Shivaji Maharaj could escape the siege successfully and could reach Vishalgad safely.

Tombs of Baji Prabhu and Fulaji Prabhu

Tomb of Baji Prabhu Deshpande

Tomb of Fulaji Prabhu Deshpande