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AUNDH fort History

Friday, August 28th, 2009 | mumbaihikers | Uncategorized


[The historical portions in this chapter were revised by Prof. R. V. Oturkar M.A., Poona.]

Aundh (Khatav T; 17° 30′ N, 74° 20′ E; RS Rahimatpur 13 m. NW; p. 4,652) village was the residence of the Pant Pratinidhi and formed part of his estate or jagir. It is surrounded on all sides by territory forming part of the Khatav taluka and lies nine miles south-west of Vaduj, the head-quarters of the Khatav taluka and about twenty-six miles south-east of Satara. At the top of the pass by which the Satara-Tasganv road connects the Khatav and Koreganv talukas a cross road branches due east to Aundh which lies in a basin of small hills entirely sheltered from the north and east. The Pant’s mansion or vada is the chief building in the village and consists of a two-storeyed vada in the Maratha. style with a quadrangle in the centre. In front is a court-yard flanked with buildings out of which a narrow approach leads at right angles into the main street. The whole building covers a space of about two acres. Next to it in the north of the town is a temple, of Yamuna Devi I, the patron goddess of the Pant Pratinidhi’s family. In front of the temple on the east is a very fine lamp-pillar or dipmal about sixty feet high and not more than fifteen feet in diameter at the base. It is studded in eight alternate lines, within each line twenty-two projecting stones for mounting by and twenty-two brackets for lamps making a total of 176 lamps and as many steps. To break the monotony of the structure the steps are fixed in a position intermediate between the brackets and vice versa. The moulding of both brackets and steps is plain but graceful and the stone work on the whole finely cut and well put together. The dipmal is lighted during the Kartik fair. The uncommon height and slender tapering of this dipmal makes it unusually elegant. Aurangzeb came to the village, it is said, with the intention of breaking open the idol, but he spared the dipmal. About two miles south the town is a bungalow built as a summer resort. About a mile to the south-west of the town is a hill about 800 feet above the plain, the summit of which is crowned by another temple. of Yamuna Devi. It was the special resort for worship of the Pant and his family, and was much enlarged and adorned by the Chief and his ancestors. Except its great local repute for holiness, the temple has nothing remarkable about it. The court-yard is about thirty yards square paved with stone and surrounded by ramparts about twelve feet thick and fifteen feet high inside. Outside, the height rises with the hill, and in places is not less than forty feet. There are five bastions one at the south-west and two each at the north-west and north-east corners. The south-east corner is rectangular. On the north-west side is the gateway a pointed arch of the thickness of the wall and on its left is the nagarkhana or music chamber. The temple consists of a plainly built mandap about thirty feet by twenty fronting east with a star-shaped cut stone but plain idol-chamber or gabhara with a greatest length and breadth of about twenty feet and surmounted by a twelve-sided stucco spire. The gabhara contains a black stone image of Yamnai. The ascent up the hill is made easy by means of about a hundred steps and an excellent pathway about ten feet broad. There is an alternative route by a second flight of steps up the lower half of the hill and passing a small shrine of Ganapati. On the hill side at the north-west of the temple is a flat ridge and a stone tank about twenty yards square. The temple and its neighbourhood are the favourite haunt of small, very tame monkeys. Though the temple building is not very notable, the ascent gives a fine view about twenty-five miles north-west towards Satara and on a clear day as far as Singnapur about thirty miles to the north-east.

The family of the Pant Pratinidhi whose capital was at Aundh was descended from Trimbak Krshna the Kulkarni (accountant) of the village of Kinhai in the Koreganv sub-division of Satara. In 1690, Rajaram, the youngest son of Shivaji raised Trimbak Parashu-ram Pant, who was in the service of Ramchandrapant Amatya to the rank of Sardar. He became a great favourite of Rajaram’s and in 1698 was made pratinidhi or viceroy. In 1699 his predecessor Timaji Hanmant, who had been taken prisoner by the Moghals, was set free and reappointed Pratinidhi and Parashurampant received the office of Peshva or prime minister. In 1700 on the death of Rajaram his widow Tarabai again appointed Parashuram pratinidhi. In the civil war which followed the death of Rajaram, Parashuram was Tarabai’s chief general and in 1707 was defeated and taken prisoner by Shahu, the grandson of Shivaji. Parashuram left his appointment and in 1710 the office of Pratinidhi was given to Gadadhar Pralhad. On Gadadhar’s death in the same year, Parashuram was set free and restored, but in 1711 the office was again taken from him and given to Narayan Pralhad. In 1713 Parashuram Pant was again restored and the office of Pratinidhi was made hereditary in his family. In the same year Aundh was the scene of a battle between Krshnarav Khatavkar, who was put up by the Moghals and Balaji Vishvanath who was in the service of Shahu of Satara. Krshnarav was defeated and on submission was pardoned and granted the village of Khatav, twenty-five miles, east of Satara. Parashuram died in 1717 and was succeeded by his second son Shrinivas as his eldest son Krshnaji was Pratinidhi of Vishalgad in Kolhapur State. Shrinivas also called Shripatrav was during all his time Shahu’s chief adviser. After his death in 1746 his younger brother Jagjivan was appointed to his post. In the revolution that took plaice at Satara after the death of Shahu, Jagjivan and his mutaliq Yamaji Shivadev sided with Tarabai and plotted against the Peshva. Consequently Peshva deposed him and the post passed on to Bhavanrav, the grandson of Krshnaji. It is unnecessary to follow the line of succession further. Suffice to say that the office of the Pratinidhis of Satara continued to be held in the same line, till after the extinction of Satara gadi in 1848, but Shrinivasrav who held the post during the sixties of the last century was a member of the Legislative Council of Bombay during the Governorship of Sir Bartle Frere. The State was merged in 1947.

In 1713 Aundh was the scene of a battle between Krshnarav Khatavkar, a Brahman, put up by the Moghals and Balaji Vishvanath afterwards the first Peshva and at that time a clerk to Shahu (1707-1749) of Satara. Krshnarav was defeated and on sub-mission was pardoned and granted the village of Khatav, twenty-five miles east of Satara.

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