सांगली विषयी > पर्यटनस्थळे > प्रचीतगड

प्रचीतगड (किल्ला)


Prachitgadh

Pracitgad in Strata mahal about 64.37 km (forty miles) northwest of Peth, is a hill−fort projecting westwards from the edge of the main range of the Sahyadris with the Konkan on three of its sides and joined to the Decean on the fourth side by a narrow strip. The fort is in a very inaccessible situation at the junction of the village of Rundhiv in Satara with Nairi and Srngarpur in the Ratnagiri district. The paths to the fort pass over the crest of the Sahyadris through thick forest or over sheetrock and unite at a point about 1.60 km (a mile) from the fort. It is about 6.43 km (four miles) either from Rundhiv of Javli. The nearest villages, Javli is 6.43 km (four miles) from Peth Lond the favourite halting place (in the east side of the south Tivra pass which then− joins the Varna valley track. The path to Javli run north−east from Peth Lund and seems to have been the one most used in former days. Rundhiv is 6.43 km (four miles) south −east in Mala, the village at the top of the Mala pass. From the junction of the two paths it is about 1.60 km (a mile) to the edge of lie Sahyadris and from here a winding path bads on to a small neck or gorge about 27.43 meters (thirty yards) long and about 60.96 meters (200 ft.) below, crossing which the gate is reached. A narrow ledge runs at the level of the gate right round the fort and at the western end communicates with a steep path, leading down to Konkan. Above this (edge is a scarp varying in height from 9.14 to 18.28 meters (30 to 60 feet) and crowned with lowers on the east and west and a wall nil round loophole for musketry. The wall is in parts composed of enormous boulders unmortared, in others of smaller stones to which mortar has been applied. On the west is a sort of pro Hindu e fortified by a tower capable of mounting several guns. The top is undulating and in area not more than 1.21 to 1.61 hectares (three or four acres) at the outside, the extreme length being nor more than 182.89 meters (two hundred yards) and the breadth not more than 91.44 meters (one hundred yards) the scarp on the south side are some cave ponds filled with excellent, water. On the top on the west is a large pond and one or two smaller ones with a less certain supply. There are ruins of buildings, all over the fort. The headquarters apparently were near the centre on the east side. There is nothing to show what tire other buildings were. Who built Pracitgad is not known, but the nature of some of its masonry points to a considerable age. Perhaps anterior to the Musalman rule. In 1862 Pracitgad is mentioned as a dismantled and dilapidaied fort with ample water. It was said to have contained a garrison of 300 men but was then deserted and not garrisoned.

Pracitgad was never the scene of any notable event until 1817 when it was seized by a Gosavi named Citursing, who gave him−self out to be the younger brother of Sahu, the Satara Raja. The real Citursivng was, by his gallantry an object of much interest at the time and being considered dangerously hostile to the Pesva Trimbakji Dengle seduced him to a conference and imprisoned him in the fort of Kangori in Kolaba where he eventually died. The pretended Citursing, however, gave out that he had escaped to Pracitgad. He got possession of the fort by a daring enterprise suggested by a traditionary account of Sivaji’s exploits. From before the time of Sivaji it was usual for villagers to supply leaves and grass for thatching the fort houses. The in−airgems having corrupted one or two persons in the garrison a party of them each loaded with a bundle of grass, with his arms concealed in it, appeared at the fort gate in the dress of villagers to deposit, as they pretended, the annual supply. Admittance being thus gained they surprised the garrison and possessed themselves of the fort. [ Compare Grant Duff’sAfnrathas, 63 note, 632; Pendhari and Mataiha War Papers.] From Pracitgad as his headquarters, the pretender Citursing plundered the surrounding country until the fort was taken by Colonel Cunningham on the 10th of June 1818. He encamped as near as the forest would permit and shortly afterwards occupied a high hill which immediately commanded the place. The commandant was sent to Citursing with a. demand for surrender but without effect. Captain Spiller was admitted under a flag of truce and did all he could to induce the garrison to surrender. They promised to do so. But Colonel Cunningham, not relying on their promises, sent back during the night for one of the guns which had been brought the previous day to the top of the adjoining south Tivra pass. By the exertions of the detachment and assistance sent from Satara the gun was mounted by two in the morning. The commandant was warned of the consequences if the fort was not immediately surrendered. No satisfactory answer was received and the shelling began. The first two shells caused considerable alarm, hut the cover was so good that the garrison could not be reached and finding this out they defied the British force. Captain Spiller then proposed to blow up the gate with musketry and Assistant Surgeon Redford volunteered to accompany him. Fifty men of the 6th Regiment and a party of the auxiliary force were then formed and advanced to the gateway on the opposite side of the tower. A heavy fire prevented the besieged from suspecting what was going on at the gate. A hole was blown through the gate sufficient to admit Captain Spiller. But a grenadier stuck owing to his cartridge box, Captain Spiller returned and enlarged the hole enough to get everyone through. Colonel Cunningham and Surgeon Redford had by this time joined the party. They all got through one by one and concealed themselves in the gateway till the whole party had entered. They then rushed upon the garrison who were completely surprised and fled panic−stricken in all directions. The fort was taken without the loss of a man. The enemy had five men killed and the fort subhedar wounded, and Citursing and family was taken prisoners. [Pendhari and Maralha War Papers, 366, Bombay Courier, 20th June 1818, Grant Duff’sMaratfias, 618.]

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