Gavilgad Fort

Overview:

Type:Hill Fort
Location:Situated in Chikhaldara, a tehsil in the Amravati district of Maharashtra.
District:Amravati

Gavilgad Fort is near Chikhaldara hill station in Amravati district, Maharashtra. Some beautifully carved idols, which are believed to carve during the period of the Nizams, when Elichpur was their capital, are worth to see.

According to local tradition the Gavilgad Fort in Amravati, was constructed in the 12th Century by the Gavali King, who belonged to the family of Yadavas. The Fort was called Gavilgad because of king Gavali. It was made of mud. According to the Volume No 1 of Tarikhe-E-Farishta, written by Farishta the fort was constructed by the 9th King of Bahamani Sultan Ahmad Shah Vali in 1425 AD. In 1477 AD, the first King Phatteulla Imadulmulk of Imadshahi of Berar repaired and extended its periphery. In 1577 AD, during the reign of Nizam Shahi under Saiyyad Murtuza Sabzavari’s inspection Bahiramkhan repaired the fort.

History:

The fort was built by the Bahamani Sultan Ahmad Shah in 1425-26. The fort functioned as the capital of Berar at different times. It passed through many hands, after the Bahamani kingdom split up, starting with the Imadshahi dynasty in 1488; the Nizamshahi dynasty in 1574; with the Mughals in 1600; the Marathas in 1744, before it finally fell to the East India Company in 1803 AD.

In 1803 during the 2nd Maratha War the fort was besieged by Arthur Wellesley (later Duke of Wellington). After two failed attempts at the main gate by British and Sepoy companies, and many casualties, Captain Campbell led the 94th Scottish Brigade (light company) up the ravine dividing the inner and outer forts and into the inner fort by escalade. The Scots then forced the northern gatehouse and opened the many gates, allowing the remaining British forces entry. The British suffered few casualties in the final assault (approx. 150). The fortress was returned to the Marathas after making peace with the British but they abandoned it.
The strategic importance of Gavilgarh lay in the fact that it was in a position to control the Melghat region.

Places to Visit on Fort:

Elephants, bulls, tigers, lions and Hindi, Urdu and Arabic scripts comprise the carvings on the walls of the fort. Idols of Lord Hanuman and Lord Shankar are also seen in the fort. 10 cannons made of iron; copper and brass are also there inside the fort.

Inside the main gate, a series of additional gates lead into a palace zone with water reservoirs and courtly buildings, including baths with pyramidal roofs of a type found throughout the Deccan. During the Nizam Shahi occupation of Gavilgarh, the Chotti Masjid (small mosque, 1577-78) was constructed.

Great Mosque or the Jami Masjid: The great mosque or the Jam Masjid, just behind the palace, is a large congregational mosque. The mosque, perched at the highest point of the compound and overlooking the plains below, is encompassed by a wall and has a courtyard. The wall has pierced screen and the prayer hall has a façade of seven arches flanked by minarets ending in chhatris. All the twenty-one compartments formed by these arches and pillars were surmounted by a corresponding number of full domes of pleasing contour. The central dome in the front row is large and is also placed on a lofty circular drum moulded at its rim in the pattern of diagonally laid bricks, and is decorated by a parapet of trefoil merlons alternating with small domed finials jammed between two split halves of merlons. Several other Deccani sultans also erected large mosques during this period as symbols of their break from the Bahmanis, but the determination to construct this building in such a remote location, and at a size that must have dwarfed the Fort’s population, is particularly poignant.

Chhoti Masjid: According to an inscription the Chhoti Masjid was built in 1577-78 by a Nizam Shahi official. It consists of a single prayer-hall two bay deep, having two square pylons at front ends and three arched openings on the east, under a deep and somewhat steep cornice. The parapet wall above is carved in low relief, with a band representing intersection of arches.

The fort has a moat as its security system. There are many lakes inside the fort such as Shakkar lake, Devi lake, Machli lake, Kala Pani lake etc.

How to reach:

The fort is at present under the Melghat Tiger Project. Nagpur is the nearest airport, 230 km away, while Amravati is the nearest railway station, 100 km away. Chikhaldara is well connected by road.

Related Video (Gavilgad Fort):

Best time to visit:

Best time to visit this fort is between November to February.

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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