Santoshgad


Santoshgad
Type:Hill Fort
Region:Satara
Height:1000

The name of this village is traditionally derived from Tatoba, a sage who took up his abode on the fort hill. The cave pond is said to have been made by him, and the small temple of Mahadev in the big pond is named after him. The local tradition is that this fort was built by Shivaji the Great (1630-80). In 1666 it was in the hands of Bajaji Naik Nimbalkar. In the same year Chhatrapati Shivaji after the treaty of Purandhar served under Jaysing, the Rajput general of Aurangzeb's army, against Bijapur and with his Mavlas escaladed Tathavade. [Grant Duffs Marathas, Vol. I, 165.] The Bijapur Government again apparently got it back from the Moghals probably by treaty. Chhatrapati Shivaji retook it for himself in 1673 [Grant Duffs Marathas, Vol. I, 202.] and in 1676 he had to retake the open country in its neighbourhood, the estate-holders of which were always ready to rebel against him.[ Grant Duffs Marathas, Vol. I, 209.] The fort was taken by the Moghals in 1689. [Grant Duffs Marathas, Vol. I, 273.]. but was ceded to Shahu in 1720 in the imperial grants made to him in that year. [Grant Duffs Marathas, Vol. I, 339] In a revenue statement of about 1790 Tathora appears as the head of a sub-division in the Nahisdurg sarkar with a revenue of Rs. 1,120. [Warring's Marathas, 244.] The fort remained in the hands of the Marathas till 1818 when it was shelled by a detachment of General Pritzler's army from the plateau and a spur pointed out about half a mile to the west. A good many of the buildings and part of the walls are said to have been injured by the shelling. The commandant fled at the first few shots, the garrison followed, and the fort was taken. Its elaborate design and considerable strength for the times in which it was built may be explained by the fact that it was close to the Nizam Shahi frontier and of some importance therefore to the Bijapur government, while the constant disturbances in the neighbourhood in Chhatrapati Shivajis time would amply account for any additions he made to it.

Planning Visit
Santoshgad hill fort (Phaltan T; 17degree  57' N, 74degree 20' E; RS. Lonand, 2.9 m.) lies in the north-west corner of the Phaltan taluka, about 12 miles south-west of Phaltan, the taluka headquarters! The fort is now easily approachable throughout the year as the Public Works Department has recently constructed a pucca road from village Tathavade lying at the foot of the hill. The fort is roughly triangular in shape. The hill on which it stands is a little lower than the main range. The apices of the triangle are north-west and south-east making it nearly equilateral. At the foot on the northern side lies the village of Tathavade (p. 1,001) with people nearly all cultivators mostly Ramoshis and Marathas.

Places of Interest 
The defences consist of three walls, the top wall going all round the hill and forming what may be called the citadel. It surmounts a perpendicular scarp of black rock about thirty feet high, and is itself about fifteen feet higher. In thickness it is twenty feet and had originally a parapet about six feet high and three feet thick, all of which has broken down. It is made of laterite blocks from one or two cubic feet each, and solidly set in mortar, lined with small stones and mud. It is carefully provided at intervals with secret escape doors for the garrison should the fort be successfully taken. It is especially strong at the three angles from which project triangular outworks about sixty feet lower than the citadel. The outworks are of unequal size, but built of the same materials and more strongly even than the citadel. 

The north side of the hill was partly protected for about a hundred feet by two lower walls or terraces, the one below the other with bastions at intervals. They are of much lighter workmanship than the blocks in rough mortar and the lining of uncut stones and mud. These walls both run east and west along the entire length of the northern face of the hill. They then turn through an angle of over 90 degrees, and are taken up the hill to meet the walls above them. The upper of the two is broken by a gateway of trap facing east, like the upper gateway, similarly sheltered, and otherwise like it, but of far less strength and of much rougher workmanship. The lowest wall is divided by a gap of full thirty feet in the centre flanked by two strong bastions, but no gateway. The ascent between these three entrances and from the north-west out-work on to the citadel is by a winding path with steps at intervals where, not unfrequently, the naked scarp of the rock has to be surmounted. 


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