Jaigad FORT History ratnagiri

Jaygad, [Jaygad has been identified with Strabo’s (B.C. 54-A.D. 24), Sigerdis, ” the rest of the coast besides Sarasostus or Saurashtra” (Hamilton’s Strabo, II. 253); with Pliny’s (A.O. 77), Sigeris on the Konkan coast, “one of the chief ports of western India” (Bostock’s Pliny, II. 50); with Ptolemy’s (150) Melizigeris an island of the pirate coast; and with the Melizeigara of the Periplus (247). It seems better to refer these names to island. Jazira and town of Meli or Melundi now known as Malvan. See Malvan.] or Fort Victory, with an area of four acres, stands close to the shore on gently rising ground not more than 200 feet above the sea. Except in a few places, the walls and bastions are in good repair. The fortifications consist of a strong upper fortress on the brow of the hill, with a lower line of defences on the shore immediately beneath it, joined to the upper works by a connected line of bastions down the steep slope of the bill, the whole enclosing a considerable space occupied by a few huts. The upper part, added by Shivaji, has one well of good water. There is a sallyport in the lower walls near the sea, but the main gate is at the top of a very steep flight of steps on the east side. The walls are covered with creepers, which are slowly but surely causing them to fall into ruin. Supplies are limited to fish and poultry, the latter being difficult to obtain; water can be procured from two wells near the landing place. [Hydrographic Notice No. 20.]

Two miles distant, on a hill on the opposite shore, about a quarter of an acre in area, with no water, is the smaller fort of Vijaygad, protected by a ditch on three sides. Its walls are very ruined. Jaygad fort is said to have been built in the sixteenth century by the Bijapur kings. [Jervis’ Konkan, 92. Major Jervis says fifteenth.] Towards the close of the sixteenth century, Jaygad seems to have passed into the hands of the Naik of Sangameshvar, who, with seven or eight villages and 600 troops, was so strong that the combined Portuguese and Bijapur forces, twice, in 1583 and 1585, made expeditions against him. [De Coutto, XII. 30; Faria in Briggs, III. 524. See Nairne’s Konkan, 35.] Jaygad was (1713) one of the ten forts ceded by Balaji Vishvanath to Angre on his promising to renounce Sambhaji, release the Peshva, restore all his conquests except Rajmachi near the Bor pass, and maintain the cause of Shahu. [Grant Duff, 193.] With other Ratnagiri forts Jaygad was, in June 1818, made over to the British without a struggle. [Nairne’s Konkan, 116.]

Within the fort, two buildings are still used by district officers but these require repairs now. To the west of the fort, on the sea slope of the cliff, protected from the sea by extensive outworks, stands the temple of Karteshvar or Shiv, still in good condition. There is also a reservoir of very pure water.

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