Ahmednagar Fort

Overview:

Type:Land Fort
Location :Approximately 140 km from Nashik
District :Ahmednagar

Ahmednagar Fort is one of the best designed forts in the entire state of Maharashtra and it is located beside on Bhingar River near Bhingar and Ahmednagar in Maharashtra.

The fort was built under the patronage of Husain Nizam Shah. Ahmednagar Fort stands surrounded by cantonment on all the sides and lies in the eastern part of the Ahmednagar city.

It was the headquarters of the Ahmednagar Sultanate. In 1803, it was taken by the British during the Second Anglo-Maratha War. It was used as a prison during the British Raj. Today, the fort forms one of the popular attractions of the region.

Currently, the fort is under the administration of the Armored Corps of the Indian Army.

History:

In 1803 the Ahmednagar Fort was round in appearance, with twenty-four bastions, one large gate, and three small sally ports. It had a glacis, no covered way; a ditch, revetted with stone on both sides, about 18 feet (5.5 m) wide, with 9 feet (2.7 m) water all around, which only reached within 6 or 7 feet (2.1 m) of the top of the scarp; long reeds grew in it all around. The berm was only about one yard wide. The rampart was of black hewn stone, the parapet of brick in chunam, and both together appeared from the crest of the glacis to be only as high as the pole of a field-officer’s tent. The bastions were all about 4 1⁄2 feet higher; they were round. One of them mounted eight guns en barbet, pointing eastward; all the rest had jingies, four in each. In 1803 two guns were visible in each bastion, and 200 were said to be ready in the fort to be mounted.

A gunshot to the west of the fort was the Pettah of Ahmednagar. The main gate of the fort faced the pettah, and was defended by a small half-circular work, with one traverse and several little towers for men. There was a wooden bridge over the ditch, which could be taken away in time of war, but it was not a drawbridge. It was reported that an iron trough as large as the bridge, could be placed upon it, or on the supporters of it, and fill with charcoal or other combustibles, to which could be ignited as an enemy approached.
A small river came from the northward, round the west side of the pettah, and passed to the southward of the fort. A nullah (Small River) also passed from the northward, between the fort and a town called Bhingar, about a gunshot to the eastward, and joined the river. A potential defensive weakness was a little hill or rising ground close to and east of Bhingar, from which shot from siege guns could reach the fort.

Two nills or covered aqueducts came from the hills, a mile or more to the north, passed through and supplied the pettah and the town, and then went into the fort, either under or through the ditch, into which the wastewater fell.
There were no passages across the ditch from the sally ports, and no part of the aqueducts appeared above the ditch. The nullah mentioned above had steep banks and passed within 60 yards of the fort; the aqueduct from Bhingar passed under it. There was no bridge or even a prominent crossing point at the nullah and hence no clearly defined route between the fort and the town of Bhingar.

There were many small pagodas and mosques around the pettah and the fort, but none exactly between, or between the fort and Bhingar, or nearer to the fort than those towns.

The fort was built by Malik Ahmad Nizam Shah I (after whom the city of Ahmednagar is named) in 1427 CE. He was the first sultan of the Nizam Shahi dynasty and he built the fort to defend the city against invaders from neighbouring Idar. Initially it was made of mud but major fortification began in 1559 under Hussain Nizam Shah. It took four years and was finally finished in 1562. In 1596, Chand Bibi the queen regent successfully repulsed the Mughal invasion but when Akbar attacked again in 1600 the fort went to the Mughals.

Aurangzeb died at Ahmednagar fort at the age of 88 on 20 February 1707. After Aurangzeb’s death, the fort passed to the Nizams in 1724, to Marathas in 1759 and later the Scindias in 1790. During the period of instability in the Maratha Empire following the death of Madhavrao II, Daulat Scindia had the fort and its surrounding region ceded to him. In 1797, he imprisoned Nana Phadanvis the Peshwa diplomat at Ahmednagar fort.

In 1803 during the Second Anglo-Maratha War, Arthur Wellesley defeated the Maratha forces and the East India Company came into possession of the fort.

The fort was used by the British Raj as a prison and this was where Jawaharlal Nehru, Abul Kalam Azad, Sardar Patel and nine other members of the Indian National Congress were detained for almost three years after they passed the Quit India Resolution. Jawaharlal Nehru wrote his popular book -the Discovery of India- while he was imprisoned at Ahmednagar fort. During the same time, Congress leader, Moulana Abul Kalam Azad also compiled his acclaimed “Ghubar-e-Khatir” (Sallies of mind)‎ which is considered as the best example of “Epistolary Essays” in Urdu literature.

Currently, the fort is under the administration of the Armored Corps of the Indian Army.

Places to Visit on Fort:

Although, the Indian army occupies the fort, entry into the fort is allowed by signing at the gate. But photography is not allowed inside the fort.

The best way of seeing the fort is by walking on the fort walls. There is a Hazrat Peer Bagh Nizam Dargah built near the main entrance. There was a Leaders Block located within the fort premises. The Leaders block was U shaped and had rooms within it. 12 Freedom Fighters were imprisoned here from 10 Aug 1942. The room in which Pandit Nehru was imprisoned is intact. One can still see some of the articles used by him in those days. “Do Not Touch” is placed near the exhibits.

Related Video (Ahmednagar Fort):

Best time to visit:

Its good location makes Ahmednagar easy to reach both by road and by train. Certain portions of the fort are open to public view from 9 AM to 5 PM.

Ravi

About Ravi

I love history and also like to read about the history of forts in Maharashtra. Graduate from Mumbai, Maharashtra.

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