RAMSEJ FORT History

 

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Ra’msej or Ram’s Bedstead, in Dindori, about seven miles south of Dindori, and about seven miles north of Nasik, is about 3273 feet above sea level. In 1819 Captain Briggs described Ramsej as neither so large nor so high as most of the Nasik hills, but not so small as Hatgad. The scarp was neither very steep nor very high and if undefended the ascent was not difficult. There were two gateways, one within the other, large but not so formidable as those of Hatgad. There was less uncovered ground on the way up to the gates than in any other Nasik fort. The works connected with the gates were able to give a good flanking fire at a short distance from them. There was a way down by a trap-door kept covered with dirt and rubbish, called the secret road or chor-rasta affording passage for one at a time. All round the fort ran a wall tolerable in some places but mostly indifferent. Within the fort were two or three bombproof and ammunition chambers built of stone. The water-supply was ample.

Captain Briggs left two companies of militia in the fort, one on the top of the hill, the other in the village below. This large party was left at Ramsej that the garrison might always spare ninety or a hundred men to march after Bhils and other marauders. In the fort besides about a ton of grain and a small quantity of salt there were eight guns, nine small cannon called jamburas, twenty-one jingals, thirty copper pots, forty-one brass pots, 256 pounds of gunpowder, forty pounds of brimstone, forty-five pounds of lead, and 240 of hemp. There were also elephant trappings, tents, carpets, and iron ware, which once had been Shivaji’s. [Captain Briggs’ Report, 20th June 1818, in Ahmadnagar Collector’s Inward Miscellaneous File VI.]

The only reference to Ramsej which has been traced is the notice that, in 1664, Aurangzeb detached Shahab-ud-din Khan to reduce the Nasik and Khandesh forts. At Ramsej Shahab-ud-din raised a platform of wood able to hold 500 men, and so high that the men at the top completely commanded the inside of the fort. During the siege Sambhaji’s army arrived to relieve the garrison and on their arrival Khan Jahan advanced from’ Nasik to help Shahab-ud-din. After two unsuccessful assaults the siege was raised, and the great wooden platform was filled with combustibles, set on fire, and destroyed. [Elliot and Dowson, VII. 312; Scott’s Deccan, II. 59-60; Grant Duff’s Marathas, 144; Archdeacon Gell in Bombay Miscellany, I. 14. Ramsej maybe Masij fort near Nasik captured by the Moghal general Ghayista Khan in 1635. Elliot and Dowson, VII. 62.] During the Maratha war of 1818 Ramsej was one of. the seventeen strongholds which surrendered to the English on the fall of Trimbak. [Slacker’s Maratha War, 322 note 2.]

About two miles north-west of Ramsej is Dhair or Bhorgad fort, 8579 feet above sea level. It has an excellent quarry from which, the stone of Kala Ram’s temple, the Kapurthala fountain, and the highly polished Hack band round the Peshwa’s new palace in Nasik are said to have been brought.

Captain Briggs, who visited the fort in 1818, did not find it steep until at the foot of the rock where it became so difficult that it could be climbed only on all fours like a ladder. There was one fairly good gate with ruined bastions. The walls were ruined, and the hill-top was remarkably steep with no place for grain or ammunition. The water supply was ample.

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