History of Kanthkot Fort
The Kanthkot Fort was erected in the middle of the 8th century. This fort is known to have been conquered by many rulers. It was the capital of the Kathis until the Chavdas became the new rulers of this fort. It is believed that a part of the wall of the Kanthkot Fort had crossed the fireplace of the great ascetic, Kanthadnath. Kanthadnath became furious and reacted by ruining the wall. In an attempt to pacify the ascetic, the builders had named this fort after the name of the ascetic. Consequently, the builders were permitted to resume the construction of this fort. In the middle of the 10th century, Kanthkot Fort became the destination of Mulraj of Anhilwad Patan. Mulraj fled to this fort when he was pressurized by Tailap of Kalyan Ketah. At this time Kanthkot Fort was known as Kanthadurg. In the twelfth century (1143), the Raja of Kanthagam, probably Kanthkot, from the west is mentioned as joining the Nagor chief against Kumarpal of Anhilwad Patan. In the thirteenth century, Kanthkot Fort was known to be the capital of the Vaghelas. In the end of the same century, Mod and Manai Samma had conquered Kanthkot Fort. Vaghela not only surrendered Kanthkot Fort to Mod, but also arranged his daughter’s marriage with Mod’s son, Sad. Sad then ruled over Kanthkot Fort, making it his capital and living there. The fort’s name was again altered to Kanthadurg by Sad’s son Ful. As the fifteenth century (1410) commenced, Muzaffar (1390-1411) captured and controlled Kanthkot Fort. The Deda branch of the Jadejas was next in line to rule the Kanthkot Fort. The Jadeja is a Rajput clan, forming a part of the Chandravanshi or the Lunar Dynasty. To Dedaji, the second son of Rao Raydhan Ratna, Kanthkot Fort was passed as an estate. At the end of the sixteenth century, Kanthkot Fort was mentioned as one of the chief Kutch forts by the Mughal vizier, Abu'l-Fazl ibn Mubarak.
Britishers were the enemies of the rulers of the Lunar Dynasty. In 1816, a British detachment under Colonel East attacked Kanthkot fort and destroyed large parts of it. In 1819, the Cutch State later surrendered and came under the principality of the British. After this incident, Kanthkot was ruled by Jadejas, till independence of India in 1947.
Architectural Design of Kanthkot Fort
The Kanthkot Fort is based on the local architecture of the 8th century. Characteristically, this fort is huge and is made up of massive blocks of bricks and stones. The walls of the fort are mended in many places by smaller stones. It is known that with time these bricks and stones have strengthened. This fort has three small gates and one big gate.
This fort houses the remains of three temples within it. These three temples are Kanthadnath, a Jain temple and a Sun temple. Kanthadnath temple is situated on the west point of the fort. It is a domed structure which is known to be built in 1820 by Deda Jadejas. It has four pillars supporting a fine domed porch. Interior of the temple is adorned by a white marble image of Kanthadnath, sitting cross-legged. Prior to Kanthadnath, a much larger temple existed at its place. It is considered to be the work of Mod Samma (1270). In 1819, this temple was destroyed by an earthquake in the Rann of Kutch. The old Jain temple had a mandap or a hall which was provided with double entrances. This temple was dedicated to Lord Mahavira. There is much discrepancy regarding the builders of this temple. According to a piece of writing on a pillar in the entrance hall dated 1283 (Samvat 1340) Atmadevnath's sons, Lakha and Sohi are the builders of this temple. On a contrary, according to a piece of writing on a pilaster in the screen on the outside Atmadev's son, Pasil is the builder of this temple. It is also believed that the family who has built the Jain temple is the relatives of Jagdusha of Bhadresar. The old Sun temple is stone’s throw from the Jain temple. This temple was dedicated to Surya or the Sun god and still has His image along with a male and female attendant on each side. The Kathis used to worship god Surya. In fact, Surya was their favorite Lord. But it is known that the image looks similar to the Hindu god, Vishnu. Other occupants of this temple are a more modern shrine on the wall and a series of successive plinths, shaped round or square, which supports a ling on top. Also, a piece of writing praising Rudra, an incarnation of Lord Shiva, is housed in this temple. But these praises are considered to be incorrectly summed up together.
Ancient wells also exist in Kanthkot fort. Two large wells of considerable depth and one dilapidated stepwell, built of blocks of sandstone, are located in the west of the fort, more specifically in a ravine. One of these wells is called Bhamario and another is named as Nogan. The former is about 76m deep and has a diameter of about 12 feet. The latter is 63m deep and has a diameter of about 1 foot.
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