Forts in Ratnagiri

AMBOLGAD FORT

Ambolgad Fort (Rajapur T.); on the bay at the north entrance of the Rajapur river, raised very little above sea level and with a ditch on the north and west sides, covers an area of a quarter of an acre. In 1818 the fort surrendered to the British forces. There is no water. The walls and bastions of the fort are now ruined.

AVRA FORT

Avra Fort (Savantvadi T.), Avade Kot about 25 miles south-east of Savantvadi and about 42 miles north of the Vengurle road, is built of stones and mud. It is surrounded by a dry ditch overgrown with brushwood and bamboo. On the north is an outwork connected with the fort by a very thick bamboo hedge on the east and a wall on the west. There is a strong but poorly sheltered gateway. The fort was dismantled in 1845. The fort is in a dilapidated condition at present.

BAHIRAVGAD FORT

Bahiravgad Fort (Chiplun T.), high and hard to reach, on a spur Of the Sahyadris, covers an area of about eight acres of very broken, rocky brushwood-covered ground. The walls are in ruins; but water is abundant,

BAHIRAVGAD FORT.

Bahiravgad Fort (Kankavli Peta), on the top of the Sahyadris in the village of Digavle (p. 2,152) is between three and four acres in area. There are no walls or bastions and there is no provision for water.

BHAGVANTGAD FORT

Bhagvantgad Fort (Malvan T.), in Masure village and across, the creek from Bharatgad, has an area of about one and a half acres. There are no wells in the fort nor is it inhabited bv the people. It is in a dilapidated condition. In a temple is a sacred stone, a pointed rock jutting through the floor, and apparently the peak of the hill. The fort was built about the same time as Bharatgad Fort (1701), by Bavdekar, the rival of Phond Savant. After some resistance, it was taken by the British in 1818 (April-May). [AS. Jour VI. 320. The particulars of the capture are thus detailed: A detachment of the IVth Rifles, arriving on the 29th of March, was during the night employed in raising batteries, which were opened the next morning at daybreak. As it was found impossible to effect a breach across the river, two columns of the detachment under the command of Captains Gray and Pearson were ordered to cross at different passes to take the place by escalade. The garrison, on seeing that the troops had crossed, abandoned the fort. It was taken about ten o’clock on that day. Service Record of H. M’s IVth Rifles, 22.]

Bhavangad Fort (Sangameshvar T.;), on rising ground close to the village of Chikhali (p. 1,202), in Sangameshvar taluka, is a small fort not more than half an acre in area. The walls of the fort and its compound are in a dilapidated condition. There is one gun in the fort.

GOVALKOT FORT

Govalkot Fort [Tulajl Angre called this fort Govifidgad and the Anjanvel fort, Gopalgad, Gopal and Govind being generally used for any couple of things very elosely alike.’ Mr. A. T. Crawford’s MS.] (in Chiplun municipal area), on a small hill rising from rich fields, surrounded on three sides by the Chiplun creek and with a filled up ditch on the fourth, covers an area of about two acres. Water lasts till April and provisions can be had in a village, two miles off. The walls and bastions are in ruins. The place has little natural or artificial strength. There are two doorways, one to the north, the other to the east, and eight battlements. On the south wall, is an image of Redjaiji.

According to local report, the fort was built about 1690, by the Habshi of Janjira. The Habshi may have repaired the fort. But the position of the Redjaiji image seems to show that it was part of the original fort and that the builder or renewer was a Hindu king, probably Shivaji (1670). From the Habshi, it was taken by Angre (about 1744), from him by the Peshva (1755), and from the Peshva by the English (1818).

KAMTEKOT FORT

Kamtekot Fort (Devgad T.; R. S. Kolhapur 85 m.). The fort is situated in the area Sherei-Ghera Kamte of the main village Kotkamte. The bastions on all sides have fallen down and only the plinth of the fort is in existence. The existing walls are about 10′ in height. The land inside the fort measuring about 30 gunthas is used as paddy growing land. The ditch covering an area of about eight gunthas is also used for paddy cultivation at present. According to the Record of Rights of the village the whole area under fort is a private land.

The temple of Shri Devi Bhagavati lying about two furlongs from the fort is in good condition. There are four old guns near the temple. The management of the temple is done by a manager appointed by the Civil Court. About 2,000 to 3,000 people from neighbouring village attended the Navaratra Utsav held in the month of Ashwin, every year.

MAHIPATGAD FORT

Mahipatgad Fort (Khed T.; 15° 50′ N, 74° 20′ E; p. 6477), about 19 miles from Khed, facing the Harlot pass and Makrandgad, the Mahabaleshvar ‘ Saddle back’ stands at the head of a high spur, and running parallel to the Sahyadris is crowned by the three forts of Mahipatgad, Sumargad, and Rasalgad. Reached by a very narrow difficult pass six miles long, [The most direct practicable route from the northward is by the main road as far as the Government bungalow at Poladpur, whence to the left a path leads over broken ground, and after sighting the fort, winds among and over steep hills. Pursuing this pathway southwards, it is necessary to pass, at a distance of one and a half miles, along the whole west side of the fort. Reaching the valley, the ascent is gained over projecting spurs on the west and leading over the south continuation of the range the path winds over spurs on the eastern side of it, and reaches two hamlets, whence a steep pathway leads to the top. It is about four miles from the beginning of the ascent on the west to the interior of the fort. Report on Mahipatgad, 1854.] in 1880, Mahipatgad was a table-land 120 acres in area, with no surrounding wall, but with well-built battlements and gateways in six places where the approach was easy. The defences were in bad repair, the wood work had gone, and in many places the stone work was in ruins. On all sides the table-land was surrounded by the village of Beldarvadi [Beldarvadi, bricklayers’ suburb, is a strip of rugged land said to have been assigned to certain bricklayers brought by Shivaji to build the fort.]. There were six gates, to the north, the Kotval gate formed by two battlements one on each side and joined with parts of the ramparts; to the north-east the Red gate, Lal Devdi; to the east the Pusati gate formerly entered by a ladder; to the south-east the Yeshvant gate and a thirty feet high battlement; to the south the Khed gate with traces of the path by which the garrison used to receive its supplies; and to the west the Shivganga gate called after a ling at the source of a rivulet. At the entrance of the south or Khed gate, was the foundation of a temple of Maruti and Ganapati, its walls half standing, half fallen. Here according to one account, there were 360, and according to another 700 stables [Foundations of this sort are found all over the fort.]. Further on was a stone house forty-five feet long by fifty-four broad, and a temple of Pareshvar, a very strong building about twenty feet long by thirty-eight broad. The six gates and the battlements have come down. There are cracks on the walls, due to heavy rainfall. It enjoys a yearly grant of Rs. 15. In the temple enclosure, are two ponds, with, on their banks, some engraved stones. The local story that the fort was begun and left half finished by Shivaji is supported by the heaps of mortar piled in several parts of the enclosure. The rough and une
ven ground within the fort is over-grown with thorn bushes and other brushwood.

At present (1960), some Christians inhabit the fort area and there are to be seen a number of Christian tombs. From the fort one gets a good view of the red tiled steep roofed bungalows of Mahabaleshvar in the day time and twinkling lights on the slopes of Mahabaleshvar hills in the night. The village of Beldarvadi surrounding, the table-land is also clearly visible. Some of the villages on the border of Satara and Kolaba districts are easy to locate.

MAIMATGAD FORT

Maimatgad (Sangameshwar T.), perched on the top of a very high and steep spur of the Sahyadri range, in the village of Nigudvadi (p. 418), about six miles east of the village of Devrukh and 2½ miles south of the Kundi pass, covers an area of about sixty acres. Provisions can be got from a village close by. In 1862, it was in a very ruinous state. At present (1960), the fort walls and the outer wall are in good condition. Water is available in sufficient quantities in five small ponds. There are four small sized guns on the fort. The old temple of Bhagavati, was renovated recently.

NANDOS FORT

Nandos Fort, in Nandos village (Malvan T.); is not more than a quarter of an acre in area. In 1862, it was surrounded by a ditch and was in fair repair. There was no garrison. Water and supplies were abundant. [Govt. List of Civil Forts, 1862.] The fort is totally ruined.

PALGAD FORT

Palgad Fort (Khed T.), about one and a half acres in area, stands on the crest of a high hill on the north-west boundary of Khed. In 1862, it was in ruins, with nine old useless guns, of which there is no trace today. It is said to have been built by Shivaji and was taken in 1818 by the British. At the foot near Dapoli, lies the village of Palil (Palgad).

NIVTI FORT

Nivti Fort in the village of Kochare (Vengurle Peta, p. 3543), 6½ miles south of Malvan and eight miles north or Vengurle, stands at the month of a small creek in rather a striking day. Nivti is also a minor port.

Nivti fort, on a very picturesque and well-wooded headland about 150 feet high, is a complete ruin. [Nairne’s Konkan, 105.] In 1786, it was taken by the Kolhapur troops and soon after restored to Savantvadi. [A wing of the 89th Regiment; 2½ battalions Indian infantry; 3 troops of Indian cavalry and artillery. Nairne’s Konkan, 127.] In “the early years of the nineteenth century (1803 and 1810), after being taken and retaken by these rival chiefs, it remained in the end with the Savants. In 1818, when British power was established, the southern villages continued to suffer from the raids of the Savantvadi garrisons of Nivti and Redi. A British force [The details were: the head-quarters of the IVth Rifles, crossing the river at Karli, arrived before Nivti on the 2nd February 1819. On the 3rd the batteries opened and on the following day the fort capitulated and was taken. Service Record of H. M.’s IV Rifles, 29.] was sent into the Konkan, and on the 4th February 1819, Nivti was invested and given up without resistance. [Gov. List of Civil Forts, 1862.] The nearest railway station is Belgaum, 87 miles to the south-east.

RAMGAD FORT

Ramgad Fort is in the village of Ramgad (Malvan T.; p. 870). Except a towered wall leading to a reservoir, there are no defences. The walls about 18′ high, ten feet thick, and more than 700 yards in circumference, have fifteen small towers most of them with three embrasures. The west gateway is an eight feet wide and fifteen feet long passage, lined with stone steps between the fort wall and a tower about 18′ high and 18′ in diameter. Inside the fort are the commandant’s house, and an interesting ruined temple about thirty-six yards square. [Mr. R. D. Worthington, C. S.] In 1862, the walls were in a dilapidated state. There was no garrison and no water. There were 21 guns and 106 cannon balls all old and useless. [Gov. List of Civil Forts, 1862.] Ramgad surrendered to the British on the 6th of April 1818.

RASALGAD FORT

Rasalgad Fort (Khed T.; 17° 45′ N, 73° 30′ E;), at the south end of the spur which further north is crowned by the Sumargad and Mahipatgad forts, has an area of about five acres. Less elevated than either of the above forts, Rasalgad is approached by an easy ascent which begins on the west and is about three miles from the village of Madave (Khed T.; p. 897). Narrow in the north, the fort gradually broadens, dividing in the south into two spurs, one running to the south-east, the other to the south-west. The fort is entered from the north by a very massive gate guarded by a tower and high battlements. In a crevice in the wall opposite the gate is an image of Maruti. About eighty yards inside is a second gateway, also strongly guarded by a tower and battlements. Further south, where the ground broadens, there is a temple with some rich wood carving. This temple, dedicated to the goddesses Zolaya and Vaghya, is of some local sanctity forming every year the gathering place for bands of worshippers from fourteen neighbouring villages. Both the spurs of the hill beyond the temple are fortified. On the south-east spur is a roofless building once used as a storehouse. Beyond the storehouse are some pools with near their banks several memorial stones with very dim weather-worn tracery. The spur after about 300 yards ends in. a battlement’ known as the Pusati’s Tower. The south-west spur is much more strongly fortified. The defences known as the upper fort, bale killa, about 186 feet by 126, are surrounded by walls, with, at each corner, an embrasured battlement. Inside are the ruins of a powder magazine and of the commandant’s house. The temple of Zolaya and the image of Maruti show that the fort was built and for a time held by Hindus. The only trace of Musalmans is in the Upper Fort, a battlement known as the saint’s tower, pir buruj. At present (1960), there are six guns on the fort.

The fort has an easy access but no inhabitants reside in it. However, people often use a big open ground inside the fort as a picnic spot. Puja of the Goddess Zolaya is performed daily and a fair is held in her honour in Navratra, Ashvin Sud., 1 to 10.

SIDHGAD FORT

Sidhgad Fort (Malvan T.), is a hill about 16 miles north-east cf Malvan. It has an area of about 2½ acres. It fell to British troops in April-May 1818. At present nothing remains of the fort.

SUMARGAD FORT

Sumargad Fort (Khed T.), on the same spur of hill as Mahipatgad a good deal lower and about four miles to the south of it is about three-quarters of an acre in area. [Gov. List of Civil Forts, 1862.] Surrounded by walls from fifteen to twenty-two feet high, [Mr. A. T. Crawford’s MS.] and with four corner battlements, the fort has a difficult access.

The fort, built of black stone, is still in a good condition. There are 16 guns in the fort. Inside the fort wall is a tank on an elevated land. There are no inhabitants in the fort. Two miles away from the fort on the western side there is a place, paga, where horses were kept. The way from the fort to the paga is built with stone steps. There are two temples on the fort, one of the god Bahiri and the other of god Shiv. From the top of the fort can be viewed the river Vaghnadi and the villages Mandve, Vadi, Jaitapur, Devghar and Ainavali and the fort Rasalgad.

VETALGAD FORT

Vetalgad Fort on a hill in Pendur village (Malvan T.; p. 6,621), has an area of about 22 acres. In 1862, the walls were in bad order. Water and supplies were abundant. [Gov. List of Civil Forts, 1862.] At present (1960), the fort is in ruins.

YESHVANTGAD FORT

Yeshvantgad Fort (Rajapur T.), on the north entrance of the Rajapur creek, with the sea on

the south and a ditch to the north and west, has an area of about seven acres. Some parts of its outer walls and bastions are ruined. The supply of water is abundant. Redi [Closed for shipping.] is a minor port at the foot of Yeshvantgad, which was formerly a separate village and is now amalgamated in the town Nate.

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