Monday, 3 April 2017

Sword of Shivaji Maharaj

Shivaji was one of the most powerful and prominent rulers of the Maratha land, and much of his valor is equally shared amongst his swords. According to reports, Shivaji owned three main swords; namely, ‘Bhawani’, ‘Jagdamba’ and ‘Tulja’. Historical evidences show that ‘Bhawani’ was originated from Toledo, Spain, and there had been innumerable discussions and debates related to this theory of origination. However, Babasaheb Purandare, the renowned historians of those times confirmed that Spain had the top most quality of steel and it was more than likely that all Maratha swords were imported from there.



Nick Evangelista, one of the famous authors and magazine publishers, describe ‘Bhawani’ as a Genoa Blade of four feet length. He also suggests that the sword had a very small grip, with spikes attached to the hilt that could thrust the opponents at one go. However, different paintings of Chattrapati Shivaji depict Bhawani as a patta held in his right hand and integrated within a gauntlet. Now, if these paintings are taken to be true, the presence of spikes as described by Nick needs to be falsified. It has to be noted that although swords were imported from Spain, they were crafted locally and till date stand unique and distinct. Bhawani is now believed to be in custody of Udayraje Bhosle of Satara, the direct descendent of Shivaji.



The second sword in line is the famous ‘Jagdamba’ that is assumed to be gifted to Edward VII, the Prince of Wales, during his visit to India.  Jagdamba is now in the Royal Collection Trust, London. As for ‘Tulja’ there are no traces of evidence or any description available to unveil the present custody of this sword.


Antique collectors in India and around the globe, are trying their best to find out some missing links related to these swords. The Toledo angle of Bhawani talwar, although accepted by most still remains debatable for few. Many are of the opinion that the Indian Government should ask for a detailed account of steel manufacturers of those times from the Spanish authorities that could aid in the markings of Bhawani.


Nevertheless, Maratha rule in India and the contribution towards Swaraj remains unmatched, unbeatable and beyond debates. Maratha swords similar to the rulers were powerful, distinct and unique. It is unfortunate that today we do not have much information and knowledge of these swords and with time they have faded away leaving little or no trace at all. Therefore, taking up necessary steps and effort to find out more about these swords would be a worthwhile investment. This was all about swords of Shivaji and anybody interested to share any information related to these is more than welcome. 

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Information About Panhala Fort

Panhala comes from the word ‘Panalla’, meaning the home of serpents. Located 20 kilometers northwest of Kolhapur, Maharashtra, the Panhala fort or Panhalgad was once one of the major trade centers of the state.

Built between the years 1978 - 1209 CE, the remains within the fort prove the rule of Raja Bhoj for a particular duration.  And it is perhaps because of this, that the famous colloquial quotations “Kahaan raja Bhoj or kahaan Gangu teli” is related to Panhalgad according to many history lovers. After being reigned by a number of rulers, Panhala was then taken over by Shivaji  Maharaj in the year 1659.

Pavan Khind

Panhala Fort is famous for the battle of Pavan Khind. In the year 1960, Adil Shah II sent his army to blockade Panhalgad under the commandment of Siddi Jauhar. Shivaji’s army stood strong and fought back Adil Shah Forces for sometime; however, as the siege continued, the fort forces got exhausted, and Shivaji had no options apart from escaping from the area to gather and train enough army to fight back.

In this battle of Pavan Khind, Shivaji lost one third of his army and the fort was taken over by Adil Shah. It was only in the year 1673, that Shivaji recaptured the fort and housed 15,000 horses and 20,000 soldiers.  Over the years, Shivaji’s son Shambhaji had points of disagreement with his own father and fell out of favor with the king. Therefore, he was imprisoned in Panhalgad from where he managed to escape within a few years of time.

In and around Panhala Fort:

Panhala is one of the largest forts in Deccan. Standing 400m above the Sahyadris, Bijapuri style architecture featuring a peacock motif is very prominent in most of its structures. Some of the important fortifications of Panhala are discussed below:

Ambarkhana: 



One of the most popular destinations of this fort is the Ambarkhana centrally structured and built by the Marathas, as the administrative division and granary. It consisted of 3 sections known as Ganga, Yamuma and Saraswati Kothis, out of which Ganga was the largest with maximum storage capacity.

The Three important Darwaza:



Panhalgad has three important Darwazas, known as - Teen Darwaza, Char Darwaja and Wagh Darwaza. Teen Darwaza is a double gate and is the main entrance to the fort. Char was destroyed during the British siege and has no remains for historical study. Wagh Darwaza was the second entrance to  Panhalgad and has a beautiful Ganesh motif designed, that stands as a center of attraction for all tourists. Wagh had an interesting design that helped to elude invaders and then get them trapped inside.

Kalvanticha Mahal:



Also known as Nayakini Sajja, meaning Courtesans Terrace Rooms, it was mostly used during the Bahmani Sultanate as Rang Mahal or court of the ladies.

Temples and Mausoleums: 

Panhalgad has different temples devoted to Shambhaji  II, Someshwar, along with Ambabai, and Mahakali. Out of these, Ambabai was the oldest where Shivaji made offerings after every expedition and major event. Next, Shambaji II temple is another masterpiece gaining much of tourist attention.


Mausoleums of Jijabai and Ramchandra Pant Amatya have been superbly crafted in memories of their struggle and contribution towards Maratha emprire.

This was all about Panhala fort and the untold history behind. The place is suitable to be visited at any part of the year and therefore remains crowded by history lovers all over the country. 

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Information About Purandar Fort


Purandar Fort is a huge hilltop built in the 13th Century AD. It stands as an epitome of Shivaji’s rising battle against Mughals and the Adil Shahi Bijapur Sultanate. This fort is also the proud birthplace of Shivaji’s eldest son Shambhaji, who later became the second Chattrapati of the clan.


Purandar spreads across the Western Ghats and is 4472 ft above the sea level. Being just at 50KM southeast of Pune, slightly ahead of Saswad village, the fort is a popular destination for all par gliders and trekkers around the city.
 
Golden History of the Purandar Fort:

In the year 1596, Maloji Bhosale was granted the fort by one of the Ahmednagar Sultanate rulers. At a very young age of mere 19 years, Shivaji took control of the fort, amongst many of his initial victories. However, just after a year, Shivaji lost the fort to Aurangazeb’s forces.


Murarbaji Deshpande, the Killedar, made every attempt to retain the fort. However, his efforts had gone in vain as he lost his life and Purandar was besieged by the Mughal forces.


Thereafter, Shivaji was made to sign a treaty with Aurangazeb which took away 23 forts owned by the Maratha Empire including the Purandar. Nevertheless, it took only 5 years for Shivaji to fight back the Aurangazeb rule and reestablish his control on all the fortresses. It is because of this reason that the fort is known for Shivaji’s rising battle against the Mughals.

Shivaji then spend a considerable part of his life in this fort. And it is here that the Chattrapati was blessed with his eldest son, Shambhaji.

Architectural Overview - Places to visit within the fort:

Over the years, Purandar fort has had a number of occupants and thus built in different stages by various rulers. However, despite the architectural variety, Purandar is definitely a highly defensive fort and was therefore chosen to be the detention camp by the British during the Second World War.



The fort has been constructed in two different and vivid parts. The lower part is known as the “Machi” while the upper part is known as the “Ballekilla.”

Structures within the Machi: 

As you enter the fort and go ahead towards the north of Machi, you will come across various cantonments and hospitals that had been built within the fort.


Moving ahead, you will come across various temples dedicated to lord Purandareshwar after whom the fort has been named. You will also find temples dedicated to Madhavrao Peshwa in this area.


The statue of Murarbaji Deshpade, who had sacrificed his life in an effort to save the fort from the Mughals grabs most of the tourist attention.


Structures within the Ballekilla: 

Taking a staircase from the machi, you reach the upper part of the fort known as Ballekilla. One of the most popular structures to witness in this area is the Dilli Darwaza or Delhi Gate. The temple of Lord Shiva, Kedareshwar temple is also a beautiful and soothing place within the fort.


The Koli Chabutra stands as a beautiful monument built to acknowledge the love and sacrifice made by the Koli community towards Swarajya, who were later mercilessly killed by Aurangazeb.


Purandar Fort is a beautiful and a must visit place for all history lovers. People who have visited the place are also of the opinion that the fort has an easy trek and can be the best, first time experience for all aspiring trekkers.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

All Shivaji Maharaj Powadas Free Download

Powadas were Marathi ballads that narrated inspirational events from the golden Maratha period. They were amazingly created by proficient individuals who remained witness to various episodes or incidents of those times.

It was in the 17th century that this genre of Marathi poetry became immensely popular and loved by all and sundry. Powada soon became a profession, and all professional Powada composers cum singers, who were known as ‘Shahirs’, then formed a distinct community or caste known as the ‘Gondhalis.’

The first and the most remarkable Powada that gained extreme popularity, was “Afzal Khanacha Vadh,” or “The Killing of Afzal Khan.” The ballad was recorded by ‘Agnida’s in the year 1659 and remained popular for many years since then. As evident from the name, this poetry described Shri. Chatrapati Shivaji’s heroic encounter and win over Afzal Khan.


The next in line is “Tannaji Malusare.” It was recorded by ‘Tulsidas’ and sings another valiant achievement of Tannaji when he skillfully captured the Sinhagad Fort. Yamaji Bhaskar was another eminent Shahir who composed the “Baji Pasalkar;” almost during the same time when Tulsidas came up with his “Tannaji Malusare.”


Thousands of Powadas were composed and celebrated during the Peshwa Rule. Few eminent Shahirs of those times are; Ram Joshi, Prabhakar, Anant Phandi, Honaji Bala and many more.

‘Itihas Prasiddha Purushanche Va Striyanche Powade’ published in 1891 by Harry Arbuthnoth Acworth and S.T Shalligram, is a collection of 60 Powadas. Ten Powadas were translated into English Language in the year 1894, and were published as Ballads of Marathas.

Below is a collection of Powadas sung by all eminent Shahirs like Babasaheb Deshmukh, Babasaheb Purandare, Shahir Sable, Pirajirao Sarnaik, Vishnu Bala Patil and many more, If you are also looking for a collection of old Powadas, you can free download Shivaji Maharaj Powada of your choice from here. Here we have included Rajyabhishek, Swarajyachi Shapth, Tornagad, Shahistekhan, Gad Aala Pan Shinha Gela by Shahir Babasaheb Deshmukh and few creations by Shahir Vishnu Bala Patil. Enjoy!!

Jai Bhavani!! Jai Shivaji!!

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Information About Pratapgad Fort

‘Pratapgad’ is a hill fort located around 24Kms away from ‘Mahabaleshwar’. The fort is around 1080 meters above the sea level and is one of the best vacation destinations in and around the city. The fort provides an alluring view of the entire costal ‘Konkan’. It is this mesmerizing look that accounts for the perpetual tourist visits to this place.



Historical Summary: 

The fort holds a significant position in Maratha history, for it was here that the famous battle between Afzal Khan and Shivaji Maharaj was fought. Thereafter, the fort had been a victim of many political controversies. It was in the year 1818, during the third Anglo - Maratha war, the fort was surrendered through private negotiation. It caused a great loss to the Maratha Empire.

The visit of Jawahar Lal Nehru to the fort in the year 1957 as the then Prime Minister holds special mention. It was again in this year that a road to the fort was constructed. Jawahar lal Nehru unveiled a bronze statue of Shivaji within the premises and is still a beautiful structure to witness.  Few years later, in the year 1960, a national park and guest house were constructed within the premises.

Architecture - Dual section fortification: 

The unique construction of this fort is what makes it a place worth visiting. The fort has been constructed into two parts - Upper fort and lower fort. The two sections appear as two different forts that are clubbed together. The upper fort occupies the north - western part of the hill; whereas the lower occupies the south - eastern side. This unique construction was completed under the supervision of ‘Moropant Trambak Pingale’ - Prime Minister of Maratha Empire.



Attractions within the fort:

Apart from the construction, the fort has number of places that interests visitors. Some of them are:

Afzal Buruj: 




During the great battle of ‘Pratapgad’, Afzal Khan lost his life at the hands of Shivaji. His death was fierce as he was beheaded and was hung before all to witness. The place where Afzal Khan’s head was hung has been now turned into his tomb under which he was buried.

Bhavani Temple: 

The lower fort holds the ‘Bhavani’ temple that was built by Shivaji in the year 1661. It is said that Shivaji Maharaj was once on his way to visit the great temple of ‘Bhavani’ at Tuljapur. However, unfortunately, due to extreme rains and adverse weather conditions, he failed to reach the temple.


This made him realize that he needs to construct a beautiful ‘Bhavani’ temple within the premises of his own forts. And therefore, he selected ‘Pratapgad’ to be the appropriate place where the ‘Bhavani’ temple could be constructed. The temple till today has suffered least damage and is a beautiful place to visit.

A trip to ‘Mahabaleshwar’ is simply incomplete without a visit to this fort. Due to the archaeological specialty, the fort has remained a very important site for related study. Besides, the historical importance that adds to the glory of the Maratha Empire attracts history lovers to this place. 

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Information About Sinhagad Fort

Sinhagad’ meaning the Lion’s fort is structured 700 meters above the sea level on the Sahyadri mountain ranges. The fort is around 30KM from the main city of Pune in the southwest direction. This fort is perhaps one of the most visited forts, as it is easily reachable from the city.


The name ‘Sinhagad’ or Lion’s fort was originally named as ‘Kondana’. In the famous Battle of ‘Sinhagad’, fought in the year 1671 , the fort received its present day name to honor a great warrior in Shivaji’s army - Shri. Tanaji Malusare. The fort is a symbol of bravery and loyalty of this great martyr who lost his life for the glory of the great Maratha Empire.


‘Sinhagad’ Fort is a great place to be in, not only for history lovers; but also for anybody who likes to travel and explore the beauty of nature.

In and around Sinhagad: 

Just as we fight back this exhausting summer and the monsoons are just about to enter, visiting ‘Sinhagad’ is perhaps the best plans to make. With beautiful waterfalls and greenery all around, the fort is truly magical to witness.


The entire trip to ‘Sinhagad’ from Pune is a short journey that can take half of your day. The fort has an easy climb unlike many forts in and around the district. Besides, it is not very far from the main city and thus you spend lesser time on commute.

Apart from the glory of this fort, ‘Sinhagad’ is a popular picnic spot for tourists as it has many things to offer in relation to number of places not only within the fort but also around the fort. To begin with:

Panshet: 



If water adventure is what goes you crazy, this is the best place to be in. A one day excursion filled with fun and thrill, the place has that all you may want. Water scooters, banana, speed boat rides are only few things that you can try.

Lavasa: 


A family trip to Lavasa is something that you can opt for this summer. However, you only need to skip the climb to the fort. A beautiful planned and structured hill destination, Lavasa is a beautiful place with all its natural beauty and the apt climate that it offers.

Varasgaon: 



Varasgaon dam also know as Veer Pasalkar dam. This dam along with Panshet and Khadakwasla form the primary water reservoir of the entire city. It is a 50 KM distance from the fort and people who visit the fort do proceed to this dam as well. This place is also a great attraction for cyclists in the city.

Nilkantheshwar Temple: 

One of the greatest attractions of ‘Sinhagad’ after the fort is this temple of Lord Shiva. It is a must watch for all who visit the place as it has loads to offer from its ample sculptural beauty and uniqueness. The temple has remarkable carvings of many mythological characters on walls. Some of them are ‘Ashta Vinayak’, ‘Dashavatara’ etc.


Besides, ‘Sinhagad’ also has two important water parks that are the greatest holiday destination for kids in the city. Thus, apart from the climb that makes ‘Sinhagad’ fort a tedious visit during summers, the place has loads to offer for such seasons as well. Thus, visiting ‘Sinhagad’ has to top the holiday destination spot for the year. 

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Information About Sindhudurg Fort

‘Sindhudurg‘Fort -  the naval headquarter of the Maratha Empire. This fort is an ocean fort surrounded by the Arabian Sea. Standing on one of its islet known as the Kurte Island in Malvan town of ‘Sindhudurg ‘district, the fort is just around 450KM south of Mumbai and 130 KM from Goa.



Historical Overview:

The beautiful location of the fort, where it stands today is said to be chosen by Shivaji Msaharaj himself. The Emperor had himself gone and chosen the location for the fort to be constructed and had asked one of his exceptionally skilled architect or engineer, Hiroji Indalkar Deshmukh, to construct the fort.

With an aim to keep intruders away from finding ways to the land through water ways, the fort was build and named ‘Sindhudurg’; meaning the fort of the waters.

Architectural Description:

As the fort is surrounded by water on all sides, a strong and mighty construction was imperative. It took around 3 years and 100 Portugal architects, who together worked to build this mighty and beautiful fort.

The fort spreads over 48 acres and has 30 feet high walls with a thickness of 12 feet. It is said that around 70,000 KG of iron was consumed in its construction, thus giving it the structure and strength it possesses.

One very interesting part of the construction is the main entrance of the fort. It has been constructed in such a way that, the gateway could confuse intruders for a wall, as it was intelligently constructed to appear as a wall from a distance. It was only when people could see it from close, they could realize the true structure of it.

Places of Visits:

The fort with its picture perfect ambience is in itself a treat to your eyes. The mighty fort and the soothing water combination could give a tough competition to many tourists spot in and around the state and the country as a whole.

Temples within the Fort:

Besides, there are a few temples within the fort. The designs of the temples and the carvings on them are no less than the construction of the fortress. The three important temples in the fort are - Temple of Goddess Bhavani, Hanuman Temple and Jarimari.

Shivaji Maharaj Temple

However, the greatest attraction within the fort is the temple of Shivaji. Rajaram, son of Shivaji had constructed this temple within the premises and it is only one of its kinds till date.

Coconut tree with branches:



Another very interesting attraction of the fort is the coconut tree that has branches. It is one of the rarest of the coconut trees that has branches and also bears fruits. It is because of this tree that many tourists and biologists visit the place from around the world.

Water Sports:

The fort also provides number of water sports to visitors who love adventure and explore the deep beautiful ocean. This serves as a major earning source for many residents of the place.


Thus, it would not be wrong to say that ‘Sindhudurg ‘is one of the exotic holiday destinations in Maharashtra and therefore a trip to ‘Sindhudurg ‘in the mid part of the year is a must for all history and water lovers.