KAVNAI FORT

KAVNAI FORT stands ten miles north of Igatpuri, two miles west of the railway line, midway between the Ghoti and Bailgaon stations of the Peninsula Railway. The fort, which is said to have been built by the Moghals, was ceded to the Peshwa by the Nizam in virtue of a treaty concluded after the battle of Udgir (1760) When the Marathas were defeated at Trimbak in 1818, Kavnai, like Tringalvadi and fifteen other neighbouring forts, fell without a struggle to the British. [Blacker’s Maratha War, 322 note 2.] Captain Briggs who visited it after its surrender found two houses at the foot of the hill where the garrison lived. The ascent was easy till the scarp was reached. The scarp, though not very high, was nearly perpendicular and was climbed by bad rock-cut steps. There was only one tolerable gate. The top of the fort was small with an ample water supply and good houses for the garrison.

The fort is now (1880) uninhabited. Below the hill is a village inhabited by Marathas, Kolis, and Thakurs with a sprinkling of Gujarat Osval Vanis. The Osval Vanis are a thriving class who have permanently settled in Kavnai and visit Viramgam, their native place, on marriage and other ceremonial occasions. The chief traffic is in grain, pulse, and oil-seed or khurasni, as well as considerable transactions in rice. The foot of the hill on the north is comparatively well clothed with trees, chiefly an inferior description of mangoes. [Mr. J. A. Baines, C.S.] There is a ruined temple of Kamakshi Devi, to whom offerings of cocoanuts, betelnuts, and money are made on Dasra (October), when people go in numbers to pay their respects to the goddess. A small pond close by the temple holds water throughout the year.

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