Forts that tastes history

October 29th, 2006, 11am

On my return to Pune from Baramati a few years back, I noticed a fort that was turned into a hotel. Initially thought this chould be an import from Rajasthan where the second and third commanders of the Indian ruling class established big forts, which are seven star hotels now.

It was Fort Jadavgadh, built in 1710 by Pillaji Jadhavrao a Maratha General in the army of Chatrapati Shahuji. In 1784 Jadhavrao died but the palace, located at a height of 2511 ft above sea level, remained with the family and never went to the government control. Jadhavrao’s name is also mentioned in Bombay Presidency Gazette (1885) Volume XVIII, Part III and he has been described as a villain for the DNT’s or the de-notified tribes called the Ramoshis.

These DNT’s were engaged in crime and Jadhavrao was appointed to arrest the crime rate of these tribes. He is said to have plundered scores of Ramoshis to death in his quest to rein in the terror. That was a slice of history. Vithal Kamath, the owner of Kamat’s chain of restaurants took it over to run it as a heritage hotel. The only difference, perhaps, is that here he serves liquor and meat where as all his other chains are pure vegetarians. After all royals were carnivorous. I haven’t come across any such fort turned hotel in Maharashtra. So we took a turn just after Sasvad towards the fort, parked our small car among the big, expensive and mighty vehicles already parked down and climbed to the reception area. We were welcomed by live life king size bugle as if we were to be crowned as the kings of the palace. Yes we felt like one as the girl at the reception put a vermillion paste on the forehead and welcomed us.

Though we didn’t enter the place due to prohibitive Entry Fee which we could convert into Food Voucher, I again noticed words that I could not fathom written all over. Ladh, Jhaghadh, Aage Badh that loosely translates into Engage, Fight and March Ahead. Now what has this to do with this heritage building or its history is something beyond my comprehension. May be they are repeating what we did today. Climb up, ask for rates and have a fight with the reception and then march ahead towards the exit route. So we did the same as we got down the ghats towards Pune into the chaos and traffic of a developing city, we left behind the sugar cane fields, the fresh aroma or rains mixing with thirsty mud and the cool breeze and not to forget the series of Kolhapuri Misals.

It was the last leg of my tourney to the western Maharashtra for that particular year. Next day I had to reach back home. The tour was part of my pilgrimage of basics of reporting that I want to retain forever. It was an attempt to meet different characters of people in different areas. More so it was legroom from the routine office atmosphere that I am subjected to every day.

Adrian said thanks.

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Binu Alex

Jack of all master of none. Reckless Thinker, Bad writer, Tech lover, Safe Driver in Dry Republic of Gujarat. 2 decades in print, web and radio. Unglorified tweeter. No Admirers. Unlimited Foes, Endless envy. Not to be loose shunted

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