Nargund Fort is the most famous structure of the historic town of Nargund. The fort is situated on a hill that stands within the town of Nargund, in the Gadag district of Karnataka. The fort has a rich history and heritage associated with it.
The fort was constructed by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj of the Maratha Empire in the year 1675. The fort has remained witness to many armed rebellions. Interestingly, the name Nargund is derived from the word Naragund which means ‘hill of jackals’.
History of the Nargund Fort, Gadag
The Nargund Fort was one of the many forts built by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. It was under the control of the Maratha forces for the first fifteen years after it was constructed. However, in the year 1961, the then Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb attacked the fort and occupied it by defeating the Maratha soldiers. The brave Maratha soldiers re-occupied the fort under the able leadership of Ramrao Dadaji Bhave in the year 1707 by defeating the Mughal Emperor.
In the 18th century, the fort and the territory were under the control of Venkat Rao, a ruler from the Bhave dynasty under the Maratha Peshwas of Pune. But this dominance of the Maratha rulers on the fort continued till 1778 only. In 1778 the fort was attacked and conquered by Hyder Ali, the then ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore. In the year 1784 Hyder Ali’s son Tipu Sultan seized the possession of the fort.
The Nargund Fort was also part of the uprising against the British during the Sepoy Mutiny in the year 1857. The fort was under the control of Bhaskar Rao Bhave, who ruled over the Nargund region at that time. He led an attack against the British soldiers who were approaching to capture the fort. Later, the British forces under the command of Colonel Malcolm attacked the fort and captured it.
The lost heritage of the Nargund Fort, Gadag
The Nargund Fort was a structure that was built under the able supervision and technical guidance of Shivaji. As such, it had the characteristic features that were unique to forts constructed by the great Maratha ruler.
The fort had a remarkable construction. Shivaji planned the fortification of the hill in great detail, so that it would not be easily captured by the enemy forces. The fort was built to extend his empire and establish his hold over the region. As such, much of the area inside the fort was earmarked to be utilized by his forces. Unlike many other forts in India, the Nargund fort had no ornate palaces or dance floors constructed inside the premises. Even gardens were not developed inside the fort. The fort was devoid of any temple complex as well. Shivaji did not consider such things necessary inside a fort and hence, avoided wasting time and resources on their construction.
In spite of the absence of such decorative elements inside the fort, the structure was equipped with all necessary and essential structures and elements like water tanks, ammunition storage rooms, a huge well for water supply inside the fort, watch towers, etc.
Today the historic fort stands as a heap of ruins. Nothing remains of the significant structure. The site of the fort is an open area which anyone can visit at any point of time. Though the site is under the possession of the Government of Karnataka, the area remains as an abandoned place. Sadly, there is very less that can be done today to restore the fort that has long succumbed to the perils of time and nature.
Slowly but certainly the historical structure of Nargund Fort is proceeding to become a memory in the pages of the history books of our country.
How to reach the Nargund Fort
Nargund is a small town in the state of Karnataka but it is well connected to several other cities and towns in the state and beyond by the road network. For this reason reaching Nargund is an easy matter.
The town of Nargund does not have an airport of its own. The nearest airport to reach the place is located at Hubli. The Hubli Airport stands at a distance of 48 km from Nargund. The Sambre Airport at Belgaum is located at a distance of 93 km from the historic town.
The nearest railway station is located at Mallpur, which is 25 km away from the town.
Regular bus services connect the town to various other places across Karnataka. There are several buses that operate between Bangalore and Nargund. The travel time from Bangalore to Nargund is around 8 hours. Taxis and cabs can also be hired to reach the town from nearby areas like Hubli, Belgaum, Mallpur, etc.