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Stairs, Kamalgad fort

Kamalgad (literally lotus fort), also called Bhelanja[1] or Kattalgad (literally death fort) is a square hill fort in Wai Taluka in Maharashtra, India.


It is ten miles (16 km) west of Wai and 32 km from Satara. Its coordinates are 18° 05' N, 74° 00' E. It has an elevation of 4,511 feet (1,375 m) above sea level.[2][3]


The builder of the fort is unknown.[3] During Maratha times, Kamalgad, Pandavgad and other forts in the area were administered by a mokasaddar (manager) from Bijapur.[4] Early documents written in now defunct Modi script of the Marathi language refer to the fort as 'Kattalgad'.[5] A detailed study of these documents is underway. In April 1818, Kamalgad surrendered after resistance to a British detachment commanded by a Major Thatcher.[2] Under the British, it was used to execute prisoners of war.[5]

Major Features

Red ocher in Kamalgad fort

The fort covers a flat area, 3-4 acres in size. It is surrounded by steep rock and can only be reached by perilously scaling this rock. Earlier, the approach was by an artificial tunnel, which started at the base of the rock and emerged on the top. Now this tunnel is blocked by a big rock which fell into it and was never removed.[4] There are no buildings on the top nor walls of any kind or even a gateway, which is unusual for a fort in this area. Likely, its height and steep rock around it provided it with enough protection. The only structure on the top is a hole which is the remains of a well sunk right through the rock, into the soil below which still has water. The hole is eighteen to twenty feet deep. The sides of the well which were formed of the natural rock were reported to have contained recesses in which criminals were placed. They had to choose between starvation and drowning.[2][4] However, none of the recesses can be discerned today. Some reports indicate that this 'hole' might have been a quarry for red stone (geru) which is plentiful in this region[1] (see picture).


See also

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