Hatgad Fort History

Hatgad Fort, near Mulher, almost on the edge of the Sahyadris, overlooking Surgana state and the rest of the southern Dangs, is on a flat-topped hill which rises some 600 feet above the plain, and about 3600 feet above sea level. The village which bears the same name lies at the foot of the hill, and is fairly prosperous containing some 700 people.

The ascent to the fort is through a narrow passage out in the rock, provided with steps and defended by four gates. Most of the passage is roofed. Below the natural scarp the hill side is pleasantly and thickly wooded. The path climbs through the woods, and, after passing under one or two small ruined gateways, enters the rock and runs under ground for a few yards. As the natural scarp is not very perfect a masonry wall has been run completely round the upper plateau. The wall is now in disrepair. The plateau, which is not very large, is covered with ruins of buildings and with reservoirs. Two of the reservoirs, called Jamna and Ganga, are very deep and spacious, and contain a good supply of excellent drinking water throughout the year. No historical mention of Hatgad has been traced. [Hatgad fort is believed to have been the seat of the sage Hastaman. It is said to have originally been called Hastachal after the sage, but, after it was fortified, its name was changed to Hastagad or Hatgad.] The only local story is that in the time of Bangrao Aundhekar, the last officer who held the fort for the Peshwa, one Supkarn Bhil came with a large following and laid siege to the fort. The siege continued for some time and was not raised until a shot from the garrison destroyed one of the Bhil guns. The Bhils then burnt the village and withdrew. In 1818 Captain Briggs visited Hatgad fort. He found it on a much smaller scale than any other Nasik fort, probably not more than 400 feet above the plain. Like other forts it had a perpendicular scarp of rock all round, and its want of height was more than made up by the strength of its gateways and the works connected with them. It had a wall all round which, though not very thick, was sufficient to give the garrison cover from everything but large guns. There were five gateways in a large tunnel which traversed the rock as it ascended By steep steps. There was one small built bombproof filled with mortar for repairs to the fort. In the middle was a round tower which appeared much like a work but was only a deposit for grain. The absence of any good bombproof was likely to give an invading force means of annoying the garrison, and these were aggravated by a hill about 1200 yards off, from which a very raking and destructive fire might be brought to bear on the fort. The water supply was ample, but the water was bad and guineaworm was common. There were no militia in the fort. [Captain Briggs’ Report, 20th June 1818.] In 1826, the Committee of inspection thought it advisable to station a small detachment of native soldiers in Hatgad.

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