By Sanjeev Nayyar | 2018

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1. First view Asirgarh Fort. It is 23kms before Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh. Very imposing fort. It has fort walls on all sides – left of pic you see a minaret. During medieval times it was considered as the Gateway to the Deccan & the Emperor who had authority over the region had access to Deccan & control over land & water routes & could thus regulate trade. It was called the ‘Door to South India’.

2. Asirgarh founds a reference in Mahabharata as Ashwathammagiri. From 9-12th century it was under domination of Tak Rajput. It was under control of Muslims from 1295 A.D. During British rule it became a cantonment. “Asirgarh fort was built by Hindus and was ruled by Ahirs, Bargujars, Moughals, Holkars & Britishers. It has seen many phases of history.”

3. Left side is top of fort. Note that fort wall comes down to a lower level. This is the first line of defence called Malaigarh. Wall covered by trees and area lush green. It was raining when we visited in July 2018 - felt like was in a hill station.

4. The west side is defended by 3 line of defences. The fort comprising of strong walls, bastions had seven gateways. Fort is on one of the high points of Satpura Mountain and spread over 60 acres of land. Asirgarh Fort is 215 kms from Indore and 195 kms from Ajanta Caves.

5. U can walk up to the fort or take a road as you see. It is an exciting drive made more enjoyable by the fog and rain. Loved as we gained height. Road was in decent condition. “Fort location becomes more beautiful as this place is encompasses through Narmada & Tapti River valleys”.

6. This is entrance to the fort. There is no straight entry into the fort – there are turns and the space is narrow – one reason could be to prevent elephants from break opening the gate. “The fort was built by King Asa Ahir – Ahir is also referred to as Yadav. Ahirs are followers of Sri Krishna.

7. The fort is on a plateau. It has a huge open area with numerous water tanks. Our ancestors paid so much importance to water storage – saw this in Chittorgarh fort too. Turn right as you enter saw fort walls. This wall faces the opposite to entrance side – is also the way where one climbed up earlier.

8. Map of fort. West side of hill has lines of defence – lower is Malaigarh that you saw in pic 3, middle is Kamargarh and topmost is Asirgarh. From the main gate walked into the parade ground, took a right turn to fort wall that you saw in previous pic, then Mama Bhanja tank, Mahadeo Mandir and lastly Jama Masjid.

9. This board explains the Water System in the fort. There is a lot we can learn from our ancestors. Apart from this the fort comprises of 6 talabs and 4 wells. Rani Talao and a Baoli near the temple (you shall see) was another source of water.

10. Mama Bhanja Tank. Original name of fort was “Asa Ahir Garh. Later it became Asa Ahir and this became Ashirgarh Fort”. Fort at a height of about 900 feet.

11. About a seven minute walk took me to Mahadeo Mandir. According to tradition, the son of Guru Dronacharya, Ashwatthamma worships this ancient Shiv temple every day. The watchman leaves by 5 pm ish and returns next morning. He said fresh flowers are found in the sanctum every morning.

12. View of temple and baoli. Unfortunately the baoli is dirty and full of plastic bottles now.

13. Taken in the rain this pic aims to show you fort wall and the watch point. Wish had gone behind and taken a broader view. View from here was awesome – even though forests was covered with fog.

14. Constructed in 16th century the name of the builder is given in Sanskrit and Arabic. In the absence of a guide and due to rains could not photograph the inscription. The mosque has a prayer hall which has 2 minarets. The minarets rest on a black stone structure.

15. Overview of masjid – minarets clearly visible. It was not possible to win Ahirgarh Fort in a straight fight so was always won by a conspiracy. In 1399 Nasir Khan asked King Asa Ahir to provide shelter to family ladies. Ahir agreed & opened fort door. Palanquin had soldiers not ladies. To read more

16. As I entered saw this – on left side where u see steps is a huge hall, right of pic and where I stood were small corridor. Right of minaret is entrance. When I walked out that looked like the original entrance.

17. Close up of left side minaret. Lower level has black stone. On that stands the minaret which is of a different stone. Where black stone ends are seen beautiful brackets and mouldings in Hindu style to support the chajjas above.

18. Right side minaret lower portion has similar black stone. So would it be right to say that the lower portion of the minarets, ie black stone, are a different structure. Perhaps ie why the board gives names of builder in Sanskrit and Arabic because they were 2 different people.

19. Inside the huge hall are niches – this is the frame. Some captions taken from MP Tourism site.

20. In same hall have entrances going out – this is the design on entrance. Is such design part of Islamic architecture – can someone enlighten.

21. Same hall – top portion of a niche. Has lotus on both sides. Correct if wrong.

22. It was pouring – foggy outside. Great weather to be there.

23. Hall of masjid. Do masjids made then have so many pillars?

24. In centre of four pillar ceiling was this lotus. Correct if wrong.

25. Opposite the big hall are corridors – looks like remains of brackets and mouldings with lotus on either side of the arch.

26. This is the open area as one enters the fort called Parade Ground. If you walk straight go to Jama Masjid. Enroute saw ruins of Rani Mahal. Did not visit any British era monuments.

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