Panhala fort was built between 1178 and 1209 CE, one of 15 forts built by the Shilahara ruler Bhoja II. A copper plate found in Satara shows that Raja Bhoja held court at Panhala from 1191–1192 CE. About 1209–10, Bhoja Raja was defeated by Singhana (1209–1247), the most powerful of the Devgiri Yadavas, and the fort subsequently passed into the hands of the Yadavas.
Under the rule of Shivaji, the Great
In May 1660, to win back the fort from Shivaji, the Great, Adil Shah II (1656–1672) of Bijapur sent his army under the command of Siddi Johar to lay siege to Panhala. Shivaji, the Great fought back and they could not take the fort. The siege continued for 4 months, at the end of which all provisions in the fort were exhausted and Shivaji, the Great was on the verge of being captured.
Under these circumstances, Shivaji, the Great decided that escape was the only option. He gathered a small number of selected soldiers along with his trusted commander Baji Prabhu Deshpande and, on 12 July 1660 night, they escaped in the dead of night to flee to Vishalgad. Baji Prabhu and Shivaji, the Great used successfully his dummy – a barber, Shiva Kashid, who looked like him, kept the enemy engaged, giving them an impression that Shiva Kashid was actually Shivaji, the Great. In the ensuing battle ( the 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, the Great could occupy it permanently. At the height of Shivaji’s power in 1678, Panhala housed 15,000 horses and 20,000 soldiers
Sajja Kothi – on Fort Panhala
Sajja Kothi is a one-storey structure built by Ibrahim Adil Shah in 1500 CE. It is also built in the Bijapuri style. Sajja Kothi was constructed as a viewing pavilion looking over the valley below. The domed upper chambers have faceted pendentives with the balconies hanging over the ramparts of the fort. This is where Shivaji imprisoned his son, Sambhaji, when he threatened to defect to Aurangzeb.
Equipment : Canon EOS 7D, Canon 10 – 22 mm lens @ 10 mm & ND4 filter.
Av – F8.0, Tv – 0.4, 0.5, 1/6, 1/8, 1/10, ISO – 100. Tripod mounted.
Location : Panhala, Kolhapur, India
Processing : Photomatix HDR generated work. Five bracketed RAW files @ -2, -1, 0, +1, +2 stops & cooked in Photomatix Pro 4.1, final tonemapped image was processed in CS6.
Copyright © Prasad 2011
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