MAKRANDGAD FORT History

Makrandgad (Mahabalesvar Peta 17° 55′ N. 73° 35 E; RS. Wathar, 52 m.) 4054 feet above sea level, well known to Mahabalesvar visitors as the Saddleback, is a hill fort situated as the crow flies seven miles south-west of Malcolm Peril. It is well named the Saddleback and consists of two flattened humps with a ridge between them [A view of the fort with its two flattened humps is given in Chessen and Woodhall’s Bombay Miscellany, I, 177.]. From almost any part of the western face of the hill between Bombay and Babington points it forms a fine object in the magnificent pile of hills varying in form and colour which form the south-west group. It is perhaps best seen from Sassoon Point where several peaks and ridges in the background serve for contrast and throw it into strong relief. It is about 650 feet lower than the Mahabalesvar plateau, but to reach the summit it is necessary to walk from ten to twelve miles and descend about 1,800 feet into the Koyna valley. The easiest way is to take a path beyond Gavalani Point which descends by Devli village whence after crossing the Koyna a fairly gradual ascent leads to the village of Ghonaspur lying on a shoulder of the hill at the south-east corner of the scarp. The line of the ridge is north-west south-east. The south-east hump is scalable but the north-west very difficult to climb, if possible. On the south-east hump is a temple of Mallikarjun built by Chhatrapati Shivaji and an unused spring. The fort walls are broken down and appear not to have been Very strong at any time. The local story about this as about other Satara forts is that it was built by Chhatrapati Shivaji probably about 1656 at the same time as Pratapgad. It was a fort of minor importance as it commanded none of the important passes, but it served as a link in the chain between Vasota and Pratapgad. It was surrendered by private negotiation on 14th may 1818 at the same time as Pratapgad [ Pendhari and Maratha War Papers, 343.].

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