Create a Blog

Panhala fort

Panhala fort also known as Panhalgad. Battle of Pavan Khind was faught when Chhatrapati Shivaji maharaj was escaping to Vishalgadh from Panhalgad.
Height: 845 m (2,772 ft)

Address : Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India.

It is strategically located looking over a pass in the Sahyadri mountain range which was a major trade route from Bijapur in the interior of Maharashtra to the coastal areas. Due to its strategic location, it was the centre of several skirmishes in the Deccan involving the Marathas, the Mughals and the British East India Company, the most notable being the Battle of Pavan Khind. Here, the queen regent of Kolhapur State, Tarabai, spent her formative years. Several parts of the fort and the structures within are still intact.


Panahala fort was built between 1178 and 1209 CE, one of 15 forts (others including Bavda, Bhudargad, Satara, and Vishalgad) built by the Shilahara ruler Bhoja II. It is said that aphorism Kahaan Raja Bhoj, kahan Gangu Teli is associated with this fort.

In 1659, after the death of the Bijapur general Afzal Khan, in the ensuing confusion Shivaji Maharaj took Panhala from Bijapur.[4] In May 1660, to win back the fort from Shivaji, Adil Shah II (1656–1672) of Bijapur sent his army under the command of Siddi Jauhar[5] to lay siege to Panhala. Shivaji Maharaj fought back and they could not take the fort. The siege continued for 5 months, at the end of which all provisions in the fort were exhausted and Shivaji Maharaj was on the verge of being captured.

Under these circumstances, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj decided that escape was the only option. He gathered a small number of soldiers along with his trusted commander Baji Prabhu Deshpande and, on 13 July 1660, they escaped in the dead of night to flee to Vishalgad. Baji Prabhu and a barber, Shiva Kashid, who looked like Shivaji Maharaj, kept the enemy engaged, giving them an impression that Shiva Kashid was actually Shivaji Maharaj. In the ensuing battle (see Battle of Pavan Khind), almost three quarters of the one thousand strong force died, including Baji Prabhu himself. The fort went to Adil Shah. It was not until 1673 that Shivaji Maharaj could occupy it permanently.

At the height of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s power in 1678, Panhala housed 15,000 horses and 20,000 soldiers. also the main darwaza was chaar darwaza.

In 1782, the seat of the Kolhapur government was moved from Panhala to Kolhapur. In 1827, under Shahaji I[16] (1821–1837), Panhala and its neighboring fort Pavangad were given over to the British Raj. In 1844, during the minority of Shivaji IV (1837–1860), Panhala and Pavangad were taken by rebels who seized Colonel Ovans, the Resident of Satara, when he was on tour and imprisoned him in Panhala. A British force under General Delamotte was sent against the rebels and on 1 December 1844 breached the fort wall, took it by storm, and dismantled the fortifications. Thereafter, a British garrison was always left to guard the fort. The administration of the fort remained with Kolhapur until 1947.


To see

t is one of the largest forts in the Deccan, with a perimeter of 14 km (9 mi) and 110 lookout posts. Most of the architecture is of the Bijapuri style with the peacock motif of the Bahmani Sultanate prominently visible on several structures. Some of the older bastions also have the lotus motif of Bhoja II.

Andhar Bavadi
Whenever an army besieged a fort, their first action was to poison the main water source of the fort. To counter this, Adil Shah commissioned the building of the Andhar Bavadi (Hidden Well). This is a three-storey structure with winding staircases that conceal the well which was the main water source for Panhala fort.

The Amberkhana, situated in the center of the fort, were three granaries built in the Bijapuri style of architecture. They enabled Shivaji to withstand a 5-month siege by Siddhi Johar. It consists of three buildings called the Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati Kothis.

Teen Darwaza
The Teen Darwaza was one of the three double gateways of the fort – the others being the Char Darwaja and Wagh Darwaja. The Char Darwaza was destroyed when during the British siege. The Teen Darwaja gate which is the main entrance to the fort is located north of the Andhar Bavai[20] on the West side of the fort. It is a double gate with a court in between that has arcades. The outer gate has an ornate chamber on top with decorated eaves. The inner gate from the court is highly decorated with the lintel having finely carved motifs, including one of Ganesh. The latter has been placed by the Marathas during their occupation of the fort.

Wagh Darwaza
This was another entrance to the fort. It was designed to elude invaders such that they would get trapped into a small courtyard and could then be easily neutralized. It has an elaborate Ganesh motif at the entrance

Rajdindi bastion
The Rajdindi bastion was one of the hidden exits of the fort to be used in times of an emergency. It was used by Chhatrapati Shivaji maharaj to escape to Vishalgad during the Battle of Pavan Khind. Rajdindi is still intact


Leave a Reply