VISHALGAD Fort History

Vishalgad Fort (Sahuvadi T.; 16o 50′ N; 73° 45′ E; p. 79), crowns the Gajapur hill about forty-five miles north-west of Kolhapur. It is 3,200 feet long and 1,040 feet broad. The walls, gateways and towers are almost entirely ruined. Besides the old mansion of the Kolhapur Pratinidhi the chief building is a mosque with a tomb to Hajrat Malik Rehanzir seventeen feet long by fifteen broad and eight high. This mosque is visited both by Hindus and Musalmans. Every year on the 13th of the Musalman month Zilhaj a fair or urus is held attended by 300 to 400 people. To meet the cost of this fair the mosque has a yearly cash allowance of Rs. 90. The fort is watered by the Bhopal and Ardhacandra (half-moon) reservoirs, and by a cistern. The Bhopal reservoir which is said to have been built by Bhopal Raja, is 6,400 feet square. The Ardhacandra reservoir is seventeen feet long, fifteen broad and eight deep, and is said to have been built by Ramcandra Pant Amatya who held the fort after its capture by Sivaji in 1659. The eisten, which also is said to have been built by Ramcandra, is 324 feet square and ten feet deep.

According to tradition, about the year 1,000 Visalgad. was in possession of a Hindu king named Bhopal who built the reservoir which still bears his name. On the wall of the mosque which is dedicated to Malik Rahan Pir, a Persian inscription runs:-

“A Maratha king named Bhopal held the fort. I Malik Rahan came and six times besieged it without success. In the seventh siege I took it. Be brave and thou shalt prosper.” Another inscription on a tower known as the Daulat Buruj (tower of wealth) runs-

In this world “perseverance overcome difficulties.” “The Daulat tower has been completed with elegance.” “If you wish to learn its date, it lies, in the letters Daulat Buruj.”

According to Major Graham (author of Kolhapur) the letters of Daulat-Buruj give the apparently incorrect date of 645 that is A. D. 1247. The Musalmans failed to maintain their hold of Visalgad. In 1470 the Bahamani general Mahmud Gawan took Visalgad after a nine months’ siege. After the fall of the Bahmani dynasty in 1489 Visalgad came under Bijapur, and continued under Bijapur, till in 1659, it was taken by Sivaji and in 1660 given by him in grant to Parasuram Trimbak In 1661 a large Bijapur army under Fazilkhan besieged Visalgad for several months and tried to take it by mining the western corner and bombarding it from the top of the Ghonasli hill. Traces of the wells which were dug for the Bijapur army remain at the neighbouring village of Gajapur and the rocky ground which was occupied by the troops is still known as Badasahaca Mal or the royal terrace. In 1730 when Kolhapur was finally separated from Satara, the grant of Visalgad was continued to Janardan Pant by fresh patent or sanad passed by Sambhaji (1712-1760). Till 1844 Visalgad continued to be the head-quarters of the Kolhapur Pratinidhi. In 1844, as the fort had been occupied by the’ rebels, it was dismantled and the Pratinidhi’s head-quarters were moved to Malkapur.

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