Mulher FORT History

Mulher Fort in Satans, on a hill about two miles south of Mulher town and 2000 feet above the plain, lies at the head of the Musam valley about forty miles north-west of Malegaon. The hill is half detached from a range which-rises westwards-till it culminates in Saler about twelve miles further west. The hill has three fortified peaks near one another, Mulher in the middle, Mora to the east, and Hatgad to the west.

Mulher, the strongest of the three, and known as Bala Killa or the citadel, is about half a mile in extent. About half way up, after passing three gateways, comes a rolling plateau with the ruins of what must have been a considerable town. There are still some houses of Kanojia Brahmans, some bungalows, and a mosque, and some cisterns and reservoirs. [There are ten ponds, five with a constant supply of water and five which dry in the hot season. Of the five which last throughout the year the Moti Talav or Pearl Pond is remarkable for the excellence of its water. There are temples of Mahadev, Ram, and Ganpati, and a tomb of a Musalman saint named Bala Pir. On one of the stone pillars of the temple of Ganpati is a Marathi inscription dated Shak 1534 (A.D. 1612, Paridhavi amratsar. It is in four lines of Devnagari letters and records the building of a mandap by Pratapshah who was then chief of Baglan. See above p. 188.] The whole plateau is beautifully wooded chiefly with mangoes and banyans. It is defended by a masonry wall which runs along the edge of the lower slope and at each end is carried to the foot of the upper scarp which is about 100 feet high. The upper scarp is approached through the usual succession of gateways The further ascent is undefended until an angle is reached in the natural scarp above, and the Crevice leading thence to the plateau above the scarp is defended by a succession of gateways now more or less ruined. The point of the plateau thus reached is nearly at the western end of the westmost of the two plateaus of which the hill top is formed. There is a more prominent angle and crevice nearer the middle of the hill top, but the top of this crevice has been closed by a solid masonry wall, which also forms a connection between the two portions of the plateau which are at this point separated by a dip of some fifty to a hundred feet.

The east half of the-plateau is slightly higher than the west half, and is defended at the point just mentioned by walls and gateways which make the eastern part a citadel or inner place of defence Near the third gate are three guns known as Fateh-i-lashkar, Ramprasad, and Shivprasad, each seven feet long. There was a fourth gun called Markandeya Top which the British Government is said to have broken and sold. On the flat top inside the fort are the ruins of a large court-house, and a temple of Bhadangnath in good repair with a terrace in front bearing an inscription. Here and there on the slopes are about fifteen reservoirs, some under ground, others open. All of them hold water throughout the year. There are two ammunition magazines and a third with three compartments.

History.

According to a local story, during the time of the Pandavs, Mulher fort was held by two brothers, Mayuradhvaj and Tamradhvaj. The first historical reference is in, the Tarikh-i-Firozshahi, which says that about 1340, the mountains of Mulher and Saler were held by a chief named Mandeo. [Elliot and Dowson, III. 256.] The next mention of Mulher is in the Ain-i-Akbari (1590) which notices Mulher and Saler as places of strength in Baglan. [Gladwin’s Ain-i-Akbari, II. 73. According to the local story during Moghal rule the fort was owned by two independent Kshatriya chiefs, Pratapshah and Bairamshah. These chiefs held about 1500 villages, the present district of Baglan and the Dangs. They were very rich and had jewels of great value and a white elephant. The Moghals required the two chiefs to do homage at Delhi. The chiefs refused, and the hill stood a siege of twelve years but had then to surrender. The country fell to the Moghals and the guns and the white elephant went to Delhi.] In 1609 the chief of Mulher and Saler furnished 3000 men towards the force that was posted at Ramnagar in Dharampur t guard Surat from attack by Malik Ambar of Ahmadnagar. [Watson’s Gujarat, 68.] In 1610 the English traveller Finch describes Mulher and Saler as fair cities where mahmudis were coined. [The mahmudi, perhaps called after the Gujarat king Mahmud Begada (1459 -1511), varied in value from 1s. to 1s. 6d. (as. 8-12). Watson’s Gujarat, 19, 64.] They had two mighty castles, the roads to which allowed only two men or one elephant to pass. On the way were eighty small fortresses to guard the passages. On the top of the mountains there was good pasture with plenty of grain and numerous fountains and streams running into the plain. [Finch in Kerr’s Voyages, VIII. 278.] In 1637 Mulher was attacked by a Moghal army. Trenches were opened and the garrison was so hard pressed that the Baglan king Bharji sent his mother and his agent with the keys of Mulher and of seven other of his forts. [Elliot and Dowson, VII. 66.] In 1663 the hill forts of Mulher and Saler were in the hands of Shivaji. [Orme’s Historical Fragments, 22.] In,1665 Thevenot calls Mouler the chief town in Baglan, [Voyages, V. 247.] In 1672 Mulher and Saler were plundered by Shivaji. [Orme’s Historical Fragments, 26; Scott’s Deccan, II. 25, 27.] In 16.75 it is shown as Mouler in Fryer’s map. [New Account, 50.] In 1680 the commandant of Mulher made an unsuccessful attempt to seize Aurangzeb’s rebel son prince Akbar. [Elliot and Dowson, VII.309.] – In 1682 all attempts to take Saler by force having failed, the Mulher commandant Neknamkhan induced the Saler commandant to surrender the fort by promises and presents. [Elliot and Dowson, VII. 312.] In 1750 Tieffenthaler describes Saler and Mulher, one on the top and the other in the middle of a hill, as very strong eminencesbuilt with excellent skill, connected, by steps cut in the rock, with rivulets, lakes, and houses in the middle of the hill. [Des. Hist et Geog. de I’Inde, I. 365.] In the third Maratha war Mulher surrendered to the British on the 15th of July 1818. An amnesty was granted to Ramchandra Janardan Fadnavis who held the fort for the Marathas. The surrender of Mulher ended the third Maratha war, [Pendhari and Maratha Wars, 381-382. The bars of the cash-room in the present Satana treasury are composed of the barrels of flint-locks taken from Mulher Mr. J. A. Baines, C.S.] In 1826 a Committee of Inspection described Mulher as a high rock Of an irregular and rugged shape and of a large’ area, towering above and within the precincts of a lower fort. The approach to the lower defences was easy and practicable for loaded cattle; and it was tolerably defended by a line of works and gates, running along the north and east side. To the north were two gateways, the first protected by two large towers without a gate; the second without towers but with a gate in fair repair, only that the wicket was missing. The lower fort contained a Tillage or petta, with many housed, moat of them empty. It was well supplied with water from rook-out cisterns, and appeared to have every requisite for a considerable settlement. The ascent to the upper fort was by a narrow winding and precipitous pathway at every turn well commanded from above Within one or two hundred yards of the top began a line of parallel defences of eight well built curtains at equal distances from each other which continued to the entrance by two strong gateways leading to the top. Inside the fort there were only two buildings, ruinous and uninhabited, but numerous sites showed that it must once have held a large population. There was a good water-supply in ponds and reservoirs, and there were some dry and secure store-rooms large enough to hold provisions and ammunition for a considerable garrison for a year. Nature had done so much for the strength of the upper fort that there had been no occasion to add artificial works. The Committee recommended some slight repairs to the gateway and t

hat a native officer with twenty-five militia or sibandis should be stationed on the hill. In 1862 the fort was described as in a strong natural position on a high hill very difficult of access. [Govt List of Civil Forts, 1862. ]
http://www.maharashtra.gov.in/pdf/gazeetter_reprint/Nasik/appendix_m.html#5

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