History of Balapur Fort
The Chhatri at Balapur Fort has been inscribed with several names of people and a sacred red-coloured stone is present in the central part of this pavilion. Visitors would notice the 'char bot ki patthar', a four-finger stone that was installed close to the summit of a pillar. In 1616, the Subedar of Barar known as Shah Nawaz Khan set up his camps at Balapur and he fought against the attacker Malik Ambar, near Kirkee through the Rohinkheda Pass. However, Khan was compelled to retreat to Balapur, unable to hold on for long. After Aurangzeb succeeded the royal throne at Delhi, he appointed Raja Jai Singh as the Governor of Dakkan, who had made the beautiful Chhatri at Balapur Fort, extending 25 square feet in area and 33 feet in height. It is believed that Aurangzebs son Mirza Azam Shah, who completed the construction of Balapur Fort, resided in the fort and had also established a mud fort at the region. However, it may be noted that as per the Treaty of Purandar, the 'pargana' of Balapur and of Avandhe was given as a 'jagir' in the name of Sambhaji.
Architecture of Balapur Fort
Balapur Fort, erected on a raised ground to avoid river floods in between the two rivers Man and Mhais, is built in the Indo Islamic architectural designs. With Balapur hailed as an important military station at the time for the Mughals, the fort too was built keeping in mind the town's military responsibilities and position. The fort is characterised by very high walls stuffed with large curved bastions, composed of the best brickwork of its time. These conditions made the fort impenetrable, with the bastions holding the walls too strong as they are still in good conditions. Three gateways form the fortress entrance, with one present within the other. The outer or the lower fort is a decagon with a bastion at each angle, and above it rises, by the height of its walls, the inner fort which is a pentagon, again each angle having a bastion. The innermost walls are 3 metres thick and their ramparts are pierced with numerous slits at three different angles, making the discharge of missiles and other ammunition from within. The complex architecture of the fort encompasses many pillared verandahs and complexes built up to two storeys. Inside there are also 3 wells, a mosque for the Muslims and also a worship place for the Hindus. The temple of Bala Devi, from which the town has derived its name, lies just under the fort on the southern side. The temple has fine stone art works, with its pillars in monolith stones standing remarkable and the statues having very sharp features.
The area around Balapur Fort gets submerged under the waters during rains, except at one point. Balapur Fort, a heritage site in the Akola district of Maharashtra, is maintained by the archaeological department, with few portions of it being presently used by the state government as offices.
Forts in India
Forts of Maharashtra
Tourism in Maharashtra
History of Akola District, Maharashtra
Jagir System during Mughal Empire
Provincial Indo Islamic Architecture
Stone Art in India
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