Saturday, December 2, 2023

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Paranda Fort

Place : Osmanabad District, Maharashtra
Best Season : June to September
Significance : One of the most perfect specimens of military architecture and engineering in Maharashtra.
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Parenda, a small town 96 km northwest of Sholapur via Barsi, is situated in Osmanabad district in the state of Maharashtra. The town is famous for its ancient and large Paranda Fort. One of the most perfect specimens of military architecture and engineering in Maharashtra, it was erected by Bahamani kings, who had contributed many forts in India.

No records are available to show when this fort was constructed, but believe that it was laid out during the late 15 C by Mahmud Gawan, the Prime Minister of Muhammad Shah of Bidar.

In 1600, Parenda was taken from the Bahamansi by the Nizam Shahis and it became the capital of Ahmednagar for a short time. The site passed several times between them and the Adil Shahis and remained with him for two to three years and was captured by the Bijapuris in 1630. In 1657 it was again captured by the Moghuls and eventually came into the hands of the Nizams of Hyderabad.

Interesting fact is that, the fort has not faced any battle in its history and was used as a storage depot for cannon and other weapons. One can see number of cannon balls are lying here.

The fort is small but strong and well-designed. It is surrounded by trench from all the sides and has a mosque inside. Parenda's Fort comprise a rectangular plan with strong defences provided by a double curtain wall and a deep ditch surrounding the outer wall.

The walls are topped with battlemented parapets with regularly spaced box shaped guardrooms. The inner wall with its bastions rises above the outer wall where a polyognal bastion accomodateds a small mosque. Many bastions are still mounted by cannon.

The entrance gates are still in good condition which has beautiful carvings. The main gate, situated at the northeast corner of the Fort, consists of a sequence of three arched openings. The cannon placed on the corner bastion rising over the Gate has Persian calligraphy and relifs of lions.

The armoury is situated immediately to the right on entering the fort. Some 300 stone cannonballs are stored in one of its vaulted chambers.

To the south, is a well maintained beautiful mosque compound of the Jami Mosque, entered through an ached gate on the north was well as through a domed entrance on the east. The mosque was built after the muslim occupation. There is a tank occupy far right side.

The 27 bayed prayer hall is roofed with flat slabs decorated with lotus medallions. The mosque has capitals and brackets decorated with stylised ornaments. Triple stones windows are placed in the end walls. The mihrab (prayer chamber) is of delicately worked polished basalt.

The domed Hammam, west of hte mosque, opens off a small court with a raised area on the south. A short distance west is a deep octagonal step well surrounded by arcades. The ruins of a palace are seen on the north-west side and can be entered through an arched gate.

The ground to the south and east within the fort permits access to the tops of the walls. Overgrown piles of rubble indicate numerous collapsed and buried structures.