Redi Fort Yeshvantgad
Redi3 (Rajapur T.), more properly Yeshvantgad is a very fair specimen of the forts built about the time of the breakup
of Musalman power (1660) . According to Grand Duff it was
hands of the Savant Chiefs, the fort was besieged by. the Portuguese who planted their guns on Hasta Doligar ‘Hill, and though too far off to do it much harm, the marks of the battering still remain on the south walls of the citadel palace.
Failing to take the fort they are said to have cut down the neighbouring palm groves and decamped. In 1819, in accordance with. an agreement made some years before (1812), with Phonda Savant, the English came to Redi to take the fort from Sambhaji Savant. Their batteries opened on February 13th, and in the evening of the same day the outworks were carried by assault, and next morning the fort surrendered. 1 The marks of the English cannon balls are still visible on the north end of the west side of the palace.
Built on the south side, the fort commands the mouth of the creek. The citadel stands on a hill, which, with a large piece of the surrounding plain, is enclosed by an irregular outer wall. A little above the fort the creek is joined by an
estuary, the water of which protects the eastern end; and a short branch of it washes close along the foot of the southern fortification. At the south-east corner of the wall is some ruined masonry apparently’ guarding a sluice, by which
probably the level of the water could be kept up at low tide. The land to the south-east was probably formerly under water at high tide and an impassable swamp at low tide, for the whole of the outer defences of that side of the fort seem
to be much slighter than elsewhere, the wall ceasing to be fortified and becoming more like, a dam thana fort wall. Along the south-west there are low fortifications and a small pass ending in a gate, from which a towered wall stretches to the
sea. Thus the whole line of circumvallation, about Ii miles, intercepts a long strip of smooth sandy beach about a quarter of a mile in length. Of the whole space enclosed by the walls, the eastern half is taken up by the hill and citadel, and the
western half by a plain, now covered by a palm grove and a small ,cluster of houses. The outer wall is armed with round towers, the strongest of them about twenty feet high and joined by a loop holed curtain about 17 feet high. Through the
gate of the outer wall, a paved road, passing up the central citadel hill, is crossed by a was that runs from the citadel to the outer fortifications. Through a gate in this wall is a square court, and up a flight of steps and through a third gate is the citadel. From their outer foundations the walls of the citadel stand about twenty-five feet high, and close under them circling all except the south-east corner of the walls, is a dry ditch or trench twenty-four feet wide and about thirteen feet deep, cut in the solid rock, its side opposite the wall being a sheer perpendicular. Towards the north-west the side of the moat opposite the wall is lined with masonry. In the south-east corner, where there is no moat, the wall is built rather to protect the besieged from distant artillery than to carry guns. It is not easy to see over, and the ground outside is divided by walls leading from the citadel to the outer fortifications. The square court in front of the citadel entrance is on a much lpwer level than the citadel itself, the top of its walls
being about seventeen feet lower than the top of the citadel. Its walls are ten feet thick and twenty feet high;and it has round towers at the corners twenty-five yards apart measuring from centre to centre of the towers.
The whole court is enclosed within the moat. The walls of the citadel are about twelve feet thick at the top,with a semicircular tower at about every sixty yards, intended for great guns. The circumference of the citadel is about one-third of a mile. The plateau inside is almost perfectly level. The palace is a double square with oblong towers at opposite corners. Its timbers have been carried away, and the only interesting point about its architectnre is the question whether it may possibly be Portuguese1. The fort walls are in good preservation,and the buildings are still habitable. The fort was occasionally used as a sanatorium for Belgaum troops in the past. Within the fort walls is a police stations.
On the Hasta Dongar hill, where, in 1817, the Portuguese planted H their cannon, is a cave hollowed in the face of the rock. It is a square’ opening rather more than six feet deep, not six feet high, with a little terrace about ten yards long
across its front. It commands a view of Akhali, a rocky island containing an image of, the demon god Vetal. On the side of the same hill, under a bold overhanging black rock, is a larger cave about six and a half feet high, nine feet deep, and
increasing in breadth from twelve feet at the entrance to seventeen inside. The local story is that the caves are sacred and were cut a thousand years ago when Redi was called Patan or Patna. Of the ruins of old Redi lying west and south of the
outer wall of the fort, very little masonry is left. But the ground has been considerably dug as if for building stone. The ruins in the angle formed by the continuation of the southern shore of the creek and the sea coast. Just at the point of , this angle is a very singular island or promontory of solid rock, broken off from the mainland. It is a huge mass of stone so steep all round, as, except at one place, to be most difficult to climb. It is covered with shrubs and trees of which one is very large, and with its ample foliage surmounting the steep rock, forms a most conspicuous object for many miles. On the flat top of this rocky island is a curious stone almost buried in the earth. It is about seven feet long, and in shape like the image of a man lying face downwards, the spine being represented by a projecting ridge along the middle. It might be the pillar of a temple, but is more like the top of a sarcophagus. Tradition calls it an image of Vetal, king of the ghosts or goblins. It is held in much local respect, and in Mr. Worthington’s opinion, who visited it in 1878, well deserves careful examination.