Monday, December 5, 2016

Discovery of India - Ahmednagar Fort

Ahmednagar Fort
Entrance to Ahmednagar Fort
Ahmednagar is a district located in Western Maharashtra. One of the major attractions here is the fort built in 15th century which played an important role until the pre-independence period in India. This is where India's first Prime minister Shri Pandit Jawarhar Lal Nehru was imprisoned and during his imprisonment, wrote the famous book of "The discovery of India". This book gives an account of India's cultural wealth, historical significance and philosophy as perceived by the great Indian Freedom fighter. The fort currently lies under the  control of the Indian Armoured Corps Center and School, Ahmednagar. Built in an octagonal shape, this fort is considered as one of the best designed and the strongest of all land forts in the Indian sub-continent.
Leaders Block of Ahmednagar Fort
Pandit Jawarhar Lal Nehru
Pandit Jawarhar Lal Nehru was Imprisoned here
Pandit Nehru's  Room
The Ahmednagar  fort was built by Ahmed Nizam Shah in the year 1490 A.D. The name of this city is attributed to Ahmed Nizam Shah, the founder of the Nizam Shahi Dynasty who established the town after defeating the Bahmani Sultans. Later the fort and town, both fell into the hands of the Mughal Emperor Akbar  in the year 1600 A.D in spite of the valiant efforts of Chand Bibi, the princess of Nizam Shahi to save her territory. The fort was sold to the the Maratha King, Peshwa III in the year 1759 A.D. after which it went into the  hands of Shindia's in the year 1797 A.D. Finally in 1803 A.D, the British captured this fort under the leadership of General Wellesley and it remained with them until independence.
Preface of the Book"Discovery of India"
The List of Freedom Fighters who were Jailed here
 On the 9th of August 1942, Shri Pandit Jawarhar Lal Nehru along with 11 other freedom fighters namely, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (iron man of India), Pandit Govind Vallabh Pant, Acharya Narendra Dev, Acharya J B Kirpalani, Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, Asaf Ali, P C Ghosh, Pandit Harekrishna Mahtab, Shri Shankar Rao Dev, Dr B Pattabhi Sitaramayya and Dr Syed Mahmud were imprisoned here for their involvement in the Quit India Movement until April 1945. The block in which they were imprisoned  is known as the 'Leaders Block' and is being maintained exactly the same way as it was, during their stay here. All the paraphernalia used by Pandit Nehru during his imprisonment are displayed here.
Ahmednagar Fort
The Fort Wall and Moat 
 Bastion 
The Skillfully Laid Steps

Indian Flag Flying High
Though the movement inside this fort is restricted due to the control of Army, the outer fort walls and the Leaders block are accessible with least difficulty. As we approached an Army officer for taking permission  to walk around in the fort premises, he replied positively with a word of advice to stay within the said limits. We  had a chance only to visit the leaders block after which we could walk along the outer walls of the fort  for some distance. We thanked the Army officer in charge and circumvented the fort as we drove, only to find out that most of the fortification still remained intact. 
Cannon 
Fort Gateway

There are many other places to visit around Ahmednagar such as the Chand Bibi Palace, Meherabad, Cavalry Tank Museum, Rehekuri Black Buck Sanctuary, Shani Shignapur, Shirdi and so on...

Monday, November 28, 2016

Maharajanadurga Fort, Hassan

Maharajanadurga Hill
Maharajanadurga is a hill located in Alur taluk of Hassan district. Having read about it previously, we wished to visit the same as we were around Hassan.  We drove to Alur the next morning and tried locating this place on google maps but in vain. Since all our efforts (including inquiry with locals) to locate this place failed to yield any positive result, we decided to drive ahead and check with the locals in the neighboring village for any information. We met an auto-driver who on questioning seemed blank and absolutely had no idea what we were looking for! When we specified it was about a fort near by, he replied with the answer of Manjarabad, which is a popular fort and not the one we were interested in. As a last chance, we tried explaining the story related to a King who ruled that place and finally, he realized we were searching for a place named 'Magana Thinda Maharayanabetta' for which he gave us further directions.
Path Through the Undergrowth
Third Gateway
Lord Hanuman 


 Following his directions we reached the village of Magge. A kindly person guided us towards the base of this hill, though reaching the same was quite tricky. We followed a route we found, passing through thorny shrubs and dense undergrowth until we reached the first gateway of the fort. We were glad to know that we were on the right path and equally astonished to witness the much intact fort walls. After we crossed four such gateways, the path led us to the top of the fort. Hereon, it was a steep climb to the hill top. We found remains of a few ruined structures here and there and  broken pieces of pottery which resembled that of the Vijayanagar period.
Fort Wall Above Rock
Soaked in History
Fourth Gateway
Fifth Gateway
Steep Slope
Bird's Eye View 
 As per the local legend " There was a king by name Veera Raja, who was a brave ruler. It is said that his own people conspired against him by killing his son and making him eat his son's flesh. The king remained unaware of his actions until one day when he came to know of his eating his son's flesh, felt guilty and committed suicide by jumping from the top of the hill. Thus the hill got its name of "Magana thinda Maharajanadurga", translated as "the fort of the king who ate his son's flesh". This beautiful fort certainly requires some restoration and maintenance. Little is known about the history of this place apart from the information that the fort was built by the local Palegars though it seems to belong to the 16th century, post Vijayanagar era.
Brain Shaped Rock
Remains of the Fort Atop the Hill 
Broken Pottery  
Horse Stable
A Ruined Water Storage Structure 
Maharajanadurga as viewed from Parvathi Betta 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Midhadi View Point

One of the Beautiful Peaks Around 
Peak And the Bee Eater 
Midhadi View Point
Sunset
Sunset in the Kudremukh Range
On a clear sunny day, the Midhadi view point offers a wonderful panoramic view of the entire Dakshina Kannada (South Canara) district along with the Arabian sea, and the mountain ranges of Kudremukh and Ballalarayanadurga. However, we were late that evening and just as the sun went down, its surroundings were engulfed by mist making the beauty lay hidden. Though the visibility was poor, we got a glimpse of the sunset as the mist cleared momentarily. The whole experience was worthwhile. 

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