Visiting Places

 BALAPUR FORT

 

Balapur Fort is a Mughal fortress in the town of Balapur in the Akola district of India. Construction on the fort was started by Mirza Azam Shah, the son of Emperor Aurangzeb and it was completed by Ismaeel Khan, the Nawab of Elichpur in 1757. The chhatri, a canopy constructed by Mirza Raja Jaisingh, has an area of 25 square feet and a height of 33 feet. Its foundations were heavily damaged in a great flood called the 'dhvdya pur' which occurred more than 100 years ago, but after some years the damage was repaired at a cost of Rs 3,000 received fromJaipur.

History

The old Gazetteer states, "People are sufficiently educated to scrawl their names on all parts of the chhatri, and a stone in the middle has been coloured with the ubiquitous sacred red. The frivolous say that visitors to the chhatri must do three thing Firstly, they should note the char bot ki patthar, four-fingers stone, which has been set in near the top of a pillar on the soul. In 1616, Shah Nawaz Khan, the Subedar of Barar was camping at Balapur. The defeated Malik Ambar attacked him near Kirkee by way of Rohinkheda pass. But he could not hold for long and had to retreat to Balapur. Aurangzeb, after ascending the imperial throne at Delhi, appointed Raja Jaisingh as the Governor of the Dakkan. He constructed a very pretty chhatri, umbrella-shaped pavilion, 25 feet square and 33 feet in height at Balapur. Mirza Azam Shah, son of Aurangzeb, is said to have lived here and to have built a mud fort. It may be noted that as per the Treaty of Purandar, the Balapur pargana along with the Avandhe pargana was given in the name of Sambhaji as a Jageer and he was made a commandant of 5,000.

 

Location

 

The Balapur fort is situated in Balapur, a large town located at the junction of the rivers Man and Bhains, in west-centralIndia.

The old Gazetteer mentions that the town contained a mosque of 1737 in Kasarkhera. It further states, 'The mosque in Kasarkhera is a fair specimen of later Mughal architecture, but the arches arc too squat to be graceful; a long and somewhat bombastic inscription, exceedingly well executed and well preserved, gives as the date of construction of the mosque the year 1737. The mosque is known as the Raozah Masjid, for it contains the tomb of a local saint Maolvi Masoom Shah.' The old Gazetteer also states, 'A fine haveli in the town was built by a local saint, Sayyad Amjad, and an inscription over the principal gateway, a good specimen of Mughal architecture, conveys the information that it was built in 1703.'

Situated on an elevated ground between the two rivers, the fort has very high walls and bastions built of the best brickwork of its time. The fort has three gateways, one within the other. With Balapur hailed as an important military station during the times of the Mughals, the fort too was built keeping in mind the town's military responsibilities and position. Complex architecture used in the fort ensured its safety, as well as eased the discharge of missiles and other ammunition from within the fort, rendering it one of the most impenetrable forts in the county. During the rains, the Fort gets surrounded by floodwater except at one point. The temple of Bala Devi, from which the town has derived its name, lies just under the Fort, on the southern side.

Still in a relatively good condition, the Balapur Fort is now used by the government for offices. A quiet spot, this fort held supreme importance during the time of the Mughals.

     ASADGARH FORT

 

Akola fort (also called Asadgad) along with the Narnala and Akot fortsforms the major fortifications of the Akola districtMaharashtra, India

History

 

Its earliest form of mud was made by one Akol Singh to protect the village. He saw a hare chasing a dog and considering this to be an auspicious sign, he built an earthen wall here to protect the village. Akola was heavily fortified in 1697 CE during the reign of Aurangzeb by Asad Khan,[1] from whom the fort took its name (Asadgad). In 1803,Arthur Wellesley camped here before proceeding to win the Battle ofArgaon in the Second Anglo-Maratha War. The fortress was dismantled by the British Raj in about 1870. It was reported in 1910 in a district gazetteer that the central part of the fort (the hawakhana) was used as a school

 

Major features:

Akola fort is notable in that it is bereft of any decorative embellishments.

 

There are several inscriptions on the fort. An inscription on the Dahi handa gate gives its date of construction as 1114 AH (1697 CE)deepak, 'during the reign of emperor Aurangzeb when Nawab Asad Khan was minister.' Another on the Fateh Buruj bastion has no exact date. It too mentions the same minister but a different emperor (Shah Alam).[2][3]One on the Eidgah contains texts and a statement that the building was finished by Khawja Abdul Latif in 1116 AH (1698 CE). On the Agarvesgate an inscription in Marathi reads that Govind Appaji in 1843 CE constructed the fort. The latter statement contradicts all the other inscriptions

Shri Raj Rajeshwar Mandir

Akola’s oldest Shiva temple is Rajeshwar Mandir. The Shiv temple was built by Chola Empire king Raj Rajeswar.

Folklore

 

While King Akolsingh was living in the Asadgad Fort, there is a famous story associated with this payas temple. Every night his queen went to this temple to worship Lord Shiva at midnight. Once King Akolsingh thought that his queen was going out at midnight for illicit reasons, so he followed her with a sword; the queen came to know that King Akolsingh was following her. She felt gloomy and guilty and went straight to the Shiva temple and pleaded to the god that her husband the king was thinking wrong about her, and that it was insulting that he was having no faith in her loyalty and her character. So she pleaded to be allowed into Shiva's Pind (Shiva Ling) (a stone of God Shiva that is worshipped)". The Shiva ling broke in two parts and the queen jumped in, and then it was closed. The king understood his mistake and could not forgive himself. Still the Shiva ling in this temple has a little crack which is said to corroborate this story. This temple is the base aastha of this Akola city. There are 2 bridges: the first one is the dagadi pool (stone bridge) (also known as 'chota pool' meaning smaller bridge) and the other is lokhand pool (iron bridge) (also known as 'motha pool' meaning bigger bridge). This iron bridge was built at the time of British rule.

 

Narnala

Narnala (Marathi नरनाळा), also known as "Shanur Fort", is a hill fortress in MaharashtraIndia, named after the Rajput RulerNarnal Singh. The fort was first established in 10 A.D. by Gond Kings. In the 15th Century it was occupied and rebuilt by theMughals, becoming one of Berar Subah's thirteen sarkar. It consists of three small forts: Zafarabad (or Jafarabad) fort on the east, Narnala in the centre and Teliagarh to the west. The lake within the centre of the complex is said to possess healing properties and according to legend contained the philosopher's stone, though no stone was found when the lake dried up in the drought and Indian famine of 1899-1900.

 

Occupied since at least the Khilji dynasty, the fort is well known for the Muslim saint Hazrat Burhanuddin "Bagh Sawar Wali", and it is said that many white tigers were seen with him at that time. Adli Beg or Atalu Beg carved many Arabic inscriptions into the fort and the Kadak Bijli cannon. It is also the birthplace of the Mughal Aurangzeb's great grandson.

Location

The fort is located in the Akot Taluka Akola district, Berar (also called Amravati Division)at coordinates of 20.703 N and 76.997 E. The closest city is Akot, which is 18 km away. It is at the southernmost tip of the Satpura Hills at an elevation of 912 meters above sea level.[1] Currently the fort falls within the Melghat Tiger Reserve.

 

History

After his expedition across the Gangetic plains in 1017, of Al-Biruni to compose his Tarikh Al-Hind in order to understand the Indians and their beliefs.

 
Narnala fort, circa 1860

The Narnala fort / Shahnoor fort built by the Sultan Mahmoud Gazhnavi because he is a follower of Bagh-sawar wali Hazrat Burhanuddin the maintain after Imad shahi dynasty and after this Akbar invaded Berar maintained by Mughals. Mughals recreated the Narnala Fort with Mughal architecture and built mosque at the fort.By his killedar, Shah Dulha Rehman Ghazi of Ellichpur (now Achalpur) was maternal cusion of sultan Mehmoud Ghaznavi and maternal grand son of sultan Nasiruddin Alaptagueen he was marched for battle against rajah Eil.Through the route of Shahnoor fort he was stay here threefold night and pray.

Ahmad Shah Bahamani got the fort repaired around 1425 when he constructedGavilgad with a view to obstructing the invaders from the north frontier of his kingdom. Nearly all the present buildings seem to be of Islamic origin. The fort passed on to Fatehulla Imad-ul-mulk when he became an independent ruler by 1490 as he was the Subhedar of Berar under the Bahamanis. Gavilgad also passed on to him. Burhan Imad Shah was imprisoned on this fort by one of his Amirs Tufalkhan who crowned himself. In the battle that was fought between Tufalkhan and Murtaza Nizam Shah in 1572 Tufalkhan was defeated and had to flee and took asylum with Muhammad Shah of Khandesh. On being threatened by Murtaza Nizam Shah of dire consequences if the asylum was continued, Muhammad Shah of Khandesh, refused to give refuge to Tufalkhan who was forced to return to Narnala fort and stay there. The fort was invested by the army of Murtaza. The fort surrendered and Tufalkhan and also Burhan Imad Shah were imprisoned along with 40 others. They were confined in the fort of Lohagad where they died while in captivity. Some historians say that all of them were poisoned under the orders of Murtaza Nizam Shah. After the battle that was fought between the armies of the Ahmadnagar kingdom and the Emperor Akbar on January 26, 1597 in which the armies of the Adilshahi Emperor who along with the Kutub Shah of Golconda was an ally of Nizamshah emerged successful. The fort can now ho ascended by a motorable road. About halfway up it crosses first one and then another piece of level ground, each thickly sprinkled with Islamic tombs.

The path passes two other strong gateways and one slighter one before entering the heart of the fort, and climbs meanwhile to the uppermost glials. Between the last two gateways are the domed tombs of Bagh Savar Wali and Gaz Badshah. Wali, the former not only rode a tiger in his life but the old Gazetteer slates "even now a tiny white tiger may be seen at night going to and from his tomb." Passing the last gateway one comes almost at once before the Ambar Bangala, the kacheri of former days

The exact date of construction is not known. The first fortifications, according to local legend, were made by Naryendrapun, a descendant of the Pandavas and at the time Emperor of Hastinapur (Delhi). It likely predates 1400 CE as Firishta -the Persian historian- records that Ninth Badshaha Shahbudeen Ahmad Shah I Wali (1422 CE to 1436 CE) during construction of the Gawilgarh fort, made repairs to Narnala fort when he camped at Achalpur (Elichpur) from 1425 to 1428. This would mean that the Narnala fort was constructed before Bahmani rule.

In 1437, when Nashir Khan the subhedar of Khandesh invaded Berar, the governor of the province (also called Khan-i-Jahan), remained loyal to his master, Ala-ud-din Ahmad Shah II (son of Ahmad Shah I Wali) and retreated to Narnala. He was besieged by disaffected nobles and Nashir Khan, but managed to break through the besieging force with help of Khalaf Hasan Basri who was sent by Ala-ud-din Ahmed Shah II. Nasir Khan was defeated.[3]

In 1487 CE Narnala along with Gawilgarh came under the control of Fateh-ullah Imad-ul-Mulk, the founder of Imad shahi dynasty at Ellichpur (or Achalpur).

In 1572 Burhan Imad Shah (also of the Imad Shahi dynasty) was confined in Narnala by his minister Tufal Khan. This gaveMurtaza Nizam Shah of Ahmadnagar a pretext to lay siege to the fortress. He captured both king and minister, subsequently putting them to death. Thus the fort passed into the hands of the Ahmednagar kings. In 1597-8, the fort was captured by Akbar's officers, Saiyid Yusuf Khan Mashhad and Shaikh Abul Fazl, and renamed Shanur. from the officer who held it for the Sultan of Ahmadnagar During Akbar’s rule, Narnala was one of the Sarkars of Berar Subah (see Berar Subah).

Sardar Beg Mirza and Qader Beg Mirza, hereditary descendants of the Mughal dynasty in the 18th century, stayed nearArgaon because Shah Beg Subedar of Berar held the fort.

Narnala was captured by Parsoji Bhosale in 1701 CE and remained with the Marathas till it was taken over by the British in 1803 CE.