When the foot of your wanderlust driven soul is tied up by the strong ropes of the villainous COVID-19, you can only set your mind free for some virtual tour or a walk down the memory lane to recollect some moments to satisfy your thirst. Thus, today my walk through the memory lane took me to Naldurg fort and I thought of sharing some tidbits of the fort.
The Naldurg Fort trip happened to us suddenly. We had no idea about this fort before we were on NH 65 travelling from Pune towards Hyderabad. We passed by Solapur and other places entering the district of Osmanabad. While passing through a meandering road I observed a long fortification on one side and it seemed to be a noticeably large fort.
I was so intrigued that I wanted to stop and find a way into the fort as people were seen walking on the ramparts of the bastions. We had to reach our destination in time so we decided to make it while we returned and so we did. On our way back we traced the tentative entrance of the fort and stopped to enquire, the locals enthusiastically guided us the way. It was some national holiday and there was a huge crowd and the parking was full. Luckily we managed to sneak in after a car left at that moment.
Now there was a large queue near the ticket counter and again luckily there was a separate queue for ladies and I managed to get our tickets. Finally, we entered the fort not knowing much about its history or rather knowing nothing about its existence. The billboard of the Archaeological Survey of India narrated the history and thus we came to know about the large Fort the fortification of which enticed us to stop and visit the fort. It is said to be an important fort in the Marathwada region in Osmanabad district of Maharashtra.
The Fort was built by the Chalukyan Kings of the Kalyani Dynasty while the locals believe that the fort was constructed by Nalaraja after whom the fort is named. Archaeological evidence suggests that the fort was built in various stages as and when conquered by different rulers. Much later after the fort was built, the huge fortification surrounding it was laid during the period of 1352 to 1480.
Later the Bahmani Kings in 1558 and Ibrahim Adilshah II of the Adil Shahi dynasty built the weir on the river Bori and the Pani Mahal. Subsequently, the fort came under the Mughals. The fort is built with the natural protection of the mound of basalt rock that protrudes into the valley of the river Bori on one side. The other sides are enclosed by a large and strong fortification with bastions able to hold huge cannons.
The Hathi Darwaza and the Hulmukh Darwaza are the main entrances of the fort. It leads to various other buildings within the premises such as the Ambarkhana, Munsif court, Masjid, Pani mahal, Barood Kotha, Baradari, Ranimahal, Rangmahal, Hathi Kund and Machli Tat. Another notable feature of the fort is the bastions named as Upli Buruj, Nagar Buruj, Sangam Buruj, Sangram Buruj, Bands Buruj, and Pune Buruj. The Upli Buruj is the highest point within the fort. The Haathi Tof and the Magar Tof are among the important cannons placed on the bastions and form the major attractions.
The Pani Mahal is an excellent example of the medieval architectural style. The Rangmandal is connected to the fort by a dam built over the stream of River Bori and the Pani Mahal is built under the dam. This unique feature adds a soothing touch to the ruins and the barren ancient structure that stands bearing the burden of time.
Naldurg Fort was a pleasant surprise for us on this road trip. The huge crowd and their associated activities did dampen our spirit initially but it seems to be a part and parcel of any tourist destination in our country especially on any holiday. Above all, I was happy to suddenly explore a new place and learnt a bit from the pages of the rich Indian history.