Mulher Fort / Baglan Fort

Type:Hill Fort

According to a local story, during the time of the Pan­davas, Mulher fort was held by two brothers, Mayuradhvaja and Tamradhvaja. The first historical reference is in the Tarikh-i-Firozshahi, which says that about 1340, the mountains of Mulher and Salher were held by a chief named Mandev. The next mention of Mulher is in the Ain-i-Akbari (1590) which notices Mulher and Salher as places of strength in Baglan. In 1609 the chief of Mulher and Salher furni­shed 3,000 men towards the force that was posted at Ramnagar in Dharampur to guard Surat from attack by Malik Ambar of Ahmad­nagar. In 1610 the English traveller Finch describes Mulher and Salher as fair cities where mahmudis were coined. They had two mighty castles, the roads to which allowed only two men or one elephant to pass. On the way were eighty small fortresses to guard the passages. On the top of the mountains there was good pasture with plenty of grain and numerous fountains and streams running into the plain. In 1637 Mulher was attacked by a Moghal army. Trenches were opened and the garrison was so hard pressed that the Baglana king Bharji (Baharji?) sent his mother and his agent with the keys of Mulher and of seven others of his farts. Salher was captured by Sayyid Abdul Wahab Khandeshi in February 1638 for Aurangzeb. It is via Salher that Shivaji proceeded and sacked Surat. Bhimsen Burhanpuri in his Tarikh-i-Dilkhusha tells us that on his return Shivaji completely sacked the market of Mulher. In 1663 the hill-forts of Mulher and Salher were in the hands of Shivaji. In 1665 Thevenot calls Mouler the chief town in Baglan. In 1672 Mulher and Salher were plundered by Shivaji. In 1675 it is shown as Mauler in Fryer's map.

In 1680 the commandant of Mulher made an unsuccessful attempt to seize Aurangzeb's rebel son prince Akbar.

In 1682 all attempts to take Salher by force having failed, the Mulher commandant Neknam Khan induced the Salher commandant to surrender the fort by promises and presents.

In 1750 Tieffenthaler describes Salher and Mulher, one on the top and the other in the middle of a hill, as very strong eminences built with excellent skill, connected, by steps cut in the rock, with rivulets, lakes and houses in the middle of the hill. In the third Maratha War Mulher was surrendered to the British on the 15th of July 1818. An amnesty was granted to Ramchandra Janardan Fadnavis who held the fort for the Marathas. The surrender of Mulher ended the third Maratha War. In 1826 a Committee of Inspection described Mulher as a high rock of an irregular and rugged shape and of a large area, towering above and within the precincts of it lower fort. The approach to the lower defences was easy and practicable for loaded cattle; and it was tolerably defended by a line of works and gates, running along the north and east side. To the north were two gateways, the first protected by two large towers without a gate; the second without towers but with a gate in fair repair, only that the wicket was missing. The lower fort contained a village or petta, with many houses, most of them empty. It was well supplied with water from rock-cut cisterns, and appeared to have every requisite for a considerable settlement. The ascent to the upper fort was by narrow winding and precipitous pathway at every turn well com­manded from above. Within one or two hundred yards (91.44 or 182.88 metres) of the top began a line of parallel defences of eight well-built curtains at equal distances from each other which continued to the entrance by two strong gateways leading to the top. Inside the fort there were only two buildings, ruinous and uninhabited, but numerous sites showed that it must once have held a large popula­tion, situated as it was as a key-post between the fertile Khandesh and the port of Surat.

There was a good water-supply in ponds and reservoirs, and there were some dry and secure store-rooms large enough to hold provisions and ammunition for a considerable garrison for a year, Nature had done so much for the strength of the upper fort that there had been no occasion to add artificial works. The Committee recommended some slight repairs to the gateway and that an officer with twenty-five militia or shibandis should be stationed on the hill. In 1862 the fort was described as in a strong natural position on a high hill very difficult of access.

Places of Interest 
There are still some houses, a mosque and some cisterns and reservoirs. The whole plateau is beautifully wooded chiefly with mangoes and banyans. It is defended by a masonry wall which runs along the edge of the lower slope and at each end is carried to the foot of the upper scarp which is about 100 feet (30.48 metres) high. The upper scarp is approached through the usual succession of gateways. The further ascent is undefended until an angle is reached in the natural scarp above, and the crevice leading thence to the plateau above the scarp is defended by a succession of gateways now more or less ruined. The point of the plateau thus reached is nearly at the western end of the western-most of the two plateaus of which the hill-top is formed. There is a more prominent angle and crevice nearer the middle of the hill-top, but the top of this crevice has been closed by a solid masonry wall, which also forms a connection between the two portions of the plateau which are at this point separated by a dip of some fifty to a hundred feet (15.24 to 30.48 metres).

The east half of the plateau is slightly higher than the west half, and is defended at the point just mentioned by walls and gateways, which make the eastern part a citadel or inner place of defence. Near the third gate are three guns known as Fateh-i-lashkar, Ramprasad, and Shivprasad, each seven feet long. There was a fourth gun called Markandeya Toph which the British Government is said to have broken and sold. On the flat top inside the fort are the ruins of a large court-house, and a temple of Bhadangnath in good repair with a terrace in front bearing an inscription. Here and there on the slopes are about fifteen reservoirs, some underground, others open. All of them hold water throughout the year. There are two ammunition magazines and a third with three compartments.

How to Reach
Mulher Fort in Satana, on a hill about two miles (3.21 km.) south of the Mulher town and 2,000 feet (609.60 metres) above the plain, lies at the head of the Mosam valley about forty miles (64.37 km.) north-west of Malegaon. The hill is half detached from a range which rises westwards till it culminates in Sather about twelve miles (19.31 km.) further west, The hill has three fortified peaks near one another, Mulher in the middle, Mora to the east, and Hatgad to the west.

Mulher, the strongest of the three, and known as Bale Killa or the citadel, is about half a mile in extent. About half way up, after passing three gateways, comes a rolling plateau with the ruins of what must have been a considerable town.


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