Purandar


Purandar
Type : Hill Fort
Region : Pune
Height : 1500
Base Village : Narayanpur

The fort has a history of around 1000 to 1200 years.
The history of this glorious fort dates back to the Bahamani Regime. Chandrasampat Deshpande of Bedar first acquired this fort. The work of reconstruction of the fort started by Chandrakant Deshpande was completed with great zeal by one of his family associates Mahadaji Nilkanth. Later, somewhere around 1489, the fort went into the hands of Nizamshah, won by his brave sardar Malik Mohammed. Further, it went into Adilshah in 1550.

In 1649, Niloji was incharge of the operations of the fort on behalf of Adilshah. He had two younger brothers Pilaji and Shankarji. Shivaji sent a letter to Niloji conveying the news of the death of Dadoji Kondadev who was a fatherly figure to him. Maharaj expressed about him feeling like an orphan and since Niloji had a fairly good alliance with Dadoji Kondadev and his family he expected some hospitality in return from Niloji. He also conveyed that Maharaj himself and his followers would do what Niloji says and will not be of any nuisance to Niloji nor interfere in operations of the fort.

Looking at such humble approach of Shivaji with some soft corner for Dadoji Kondadev, Niloji readily accepted this and invited Shivaji and his followers to occupy one of the ‘machis’ of the fort and thus acknowledged the gratitude. Out of three brothers, Shankarji stayed with Maharaj.

As days passed, the festival of Diwali was fast approaching. This was when Shivaji Maharaj made his first move. He knew that Niloji, the elder brother of Shankarji, had restricted Shankarji to extend his services on the fort and with this Shankarji was unhappy.Hence, Maharaj promised him the justice. At the auspicious occasion of Diwali, Maharaj and Shankarji visited Niloji on the fort and stayed there for almost three days. Shivaji Maharaj was well aware of the differences that existed between the two. On the forth night Shankarji and Pilaji approached Shivaji Maharaj, had already established a good grip, he along with 25 Mavalas arrested not only Niloji but also Pilaji & Shankarji thereby establishing a supreme control over the fort.

With this fort as base, the Marathas entered into battle with Fatehkhan, which they subsequently won. It was a triumph of Shivaji. Later in 1655, Maharaj nominated Netaji Palkar as the “Sarnaubat” of the fort.

Maharaj’s son, Sambhaji, was born on 16th May 1657, Thursday on this fort.

Year 1665 marked the most devastating year as Mughal Sardar Jaisingh made a lot of Purandar fort. At that time the fort was under the supervision of Murarbaji Despande. A 2000 strong infantry backed him. Selecting 700 strong troops, Murarbaji ventured into battle with Dilerkhan who was nominated by Sardar Jaisingh and backed by 5000 strong infantry. Dilerkhan was marching upwards from all directions on to the Purandar fort. However, first Vajragad was lost and later inspite of a valiant performance by Murarbaji’s troops, the fort of Purandar fell into the hands of Moguls. Later when Shivaji Maharaj understood of his defeat, he entered into treaty with Mogul Sardar Jaisingh in which he agreed to surrender 23 of Mogul forts won by Marathas. It dates 11th June 1665. The 23 forts that were surrendered to Moguls were as follows:

1) Purandar, 2) Rudramala or Vajragad, 3) Kondana, 4) Rohida,
5) Lohagad, 6) Visapur, 7) Tunga, 8) Tikona, 9) Prabalgad,
10) Mahuli, 11) Manaranjan, 12) Kohoj, 13) Karnala, 14) Songad,
15) Palasgad, 16) Bhandargad, 17) Nar-durga, 18) Margagad,
19) Vasantgad, 20) Nangagad, 21) Ankola, 22) Khirdurga (Sagargad) &
23)Maangad.

On 8th March 1670, Nilopanth Muzumdar revamped boundaries of Swarajya by establishing control over the fort. Later, after the death of Sambaji Maharaj, Aurangazeb conquered the fort and renamed it as ‘Ajamgad’. Again, on behalf of Marathas, Shankarji Narayan argued with Mughals and took control of the fort. Subsequent to that, Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj handed over the reigns of the fort to Peshwas.

It was the capital of Peshwas for many years then. Year 1775, marked the birth of Sawai Madhavrao. In the year 1818, British took the charge of the fort.

Places of Interest 
Purandareshwar Temple :
This is Lord Mahadev’s temple built in ‘Hemadic’ style of architecture. The temple houses approx. 1.25 to 1.5 feet high statue of Lord ‘Indra’. Senior Bajirao was instrumental in leading its reconstruction.

Delhi Darwaja
This door, facing north, is still in a good condition. As the road turns near the Darwaja, we can see a temple of Goddess Laxmi. A leftward route from the bifurcation ahead leads us to the other end of the Citadel. The same road leads us to some water cisterns. The rightward road from the bifurcation leads to yet another door (Darwaja). Two statues of lions guard either sides of this Darwaja.

Khandakada
As we enter and proceed along this Delhi-Darwaja, we see a huge rock extending eastwards. This is nothing but ‘Khandakada’. At its end lies a bastion. After visiting this place, it is advisable to return to the Darwaja for our further journey towards the right end uphill. We get to see here the remnants of few structures like ‘food-grain storage rooms’ as also of a castle. A few water reservoirs are also located here. As we go ahead, we come across Kedar Darwaja. Although, it may not be in a good condition today, however, its historical value and importance can’t be overlooked.

Kedareshwar
As we walk for 15 minutes along the main road and climb the steps, we come across ‘Kedareshwar’ temple. A reconstructed temple, it is of Lord Kedareshwar. During Mahashivratri thousands of pilgrims visit this temple. ‘Deepastambha’, a stone pillar for enlightening the lamps, can be seen in front of the temple.

This temple is a topmost part of the fort. One can see the forts like Rajgad, Torna, Sinhagad, Raireshwar, Rohida, Malhargad as well as Karhe-Plateau from here. At the rear end of this temple there is a fortified place called as ‘Koknya’

Bini Darwaja
The only door to Purandar Machi,enroute from Narayanpur as we approach Purandar fort. Unlike many other forts, the door is in good condition even today. As one enters through the door, there are provisions for the guards to hide and attack enemy. These are called as the Gatehouses. (Paharekaryandiya Devdya) As one proceeds further, the khandakada immediately catches our attention.

Once you enter through the door, the road branches, one straight ahead whereas the other towards the rear end of fort. As we move on, we come across the vintage military camps and a few bungalows. The same road leads to the foothills of the citadel, where we can see the temple of “Purandareshwar”. Also, the statue of Murarbaji in his fighting stance gives us the feel of his courageous nature and dose not fail taking us back to those glorious days.

Rameshwar temple
This temple is located towards the rear end of Purandareshwar temple. Constructed during the start of ‘Peshva’ dynasty, built by Balaji Vishwanath, it was a temple that was privately owned by the Peshvas. Moving further ahead we come across the remains of an ancient two storied bungalow called as ‘Wada’.
It was in the same ‘Wada’ that Sawai Madhavrao was born. Behind it is a well, which is in a good condition even today. Moving further ahead, the road bifurcates, one that leads to the foothills of citadel whereas the other towards ‘Bhairav Khind’. As we move towards the road leading the citadel, after a walk of 15 minutes, we come across ‘Dilli Darwaja’.

Statue of Murarbaji Deshpande :
The statue of Murarbaji Deshpande was established in 1970 to the right after we go through Bini Darwaja.

Padmavati Lake :
It can be seen if we walk just a little ahead of the great Murarbaji Deshpande statue.

How to Reach
A S.T. bus to Saswad from Pune takes us to the foothills of Purandar fort. Pune-Narayanpur bus is also available to reach up to the base village, Narayanpur.


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