Historical Forts and some old villages in Karauli State —

Historical Forts and some old villages in Karauli State—-

There are twelve masonry forts in the Karauli State held by darbar troops—-

1-The Karauli fort or place , 2-Untgarh ,3-Mandrel,4-Naroli ,5-Sapotra ,6-Daulatpura ,7-Thali,8-Jambura ,9-Khuda ,10-Ninda ,11-Und,12-Khodai .
From the fact of the garrisons of the forts ,with the exception of the city ,being chiefly Jadon Rajputs ,they have always been affected by any political agitation which might be disturbing the state ,and in which their own brethren were probably the prime movers .Thus Amolak Pal had to attack Utgarh inA.D.1798 ,and when Maharaja Narsingh Pal died ,the garrisons of Utgarh and Naroli defied the authority of the political agent and claimed to have a voice in the selection of the new chief .It became necessary to move troops against them ,but they submitted as soon as convinced of the resolution of the British Government to enforce it’s orders .The numbers of the garrisons were much reduced , as also was their cost.

1-Karauli city Fort—

As the Karauli city fort is the Maharaja ‘s place ,it has been described in detail amongst the city buildings .It is situated on high ground ,but has no moat , is closely surrounded by buildings ,and would be of little value was as a keep after the city fortifications had been forced.

2-Utgarh

Utgarh is distant about 35miles in a south-Westerly direction from the capital city of Karauli.The Untgiri fort ,is considered the second in this state in the strength and importance is situated on the Summit of an isolated ,conical hill of considerable attitude , which rises abruptly from the valley of Chambal -a river flowing within 3miles of its base. The country around the foot of the hill is exceedingly wild and rugged ,without roads or paths ,closed with almost impractical wood and Underwood and intersected by ravines. A wall built many centuries ago ,encloses the small level space on the summit of the hill , the sides of which sloping abruptly from the foot of the wall from an inaccessible scarp.On the Chambal side a double gate gives admission to an encloser formed by an inner wall subtending the angle of the outer wall in which the gate stands.Through a double gate in that inner wall the main fort is entered.within are a village ,temples, store houses,the habitations of the men of the garrison ,two reservoirs of water (which is very unwholesome ), &c., and an inner fort.
Maharaja Harbakhsh Pal built the inner fort .It is a strong square with bastioned corners and would , if properly defended , offer very considerable resistance to infantry in the first instance , but might be escaladed speedily.Wiithin is a reservoir of water.

Fort in English Period —-
The fort was reconnoitered  by Captain Dennys , commandant of the late Kotah Contingent in October 1852 , on which occasion the adjutant of the force . Lieutenant Boynon , took mathematical observation of the structure , and the full particulars and measurements ,together with a sketch ,were submitted to the governor general’s agent ,Colonel Low ,C.B.The fort is completely commanded from the high landson this side of it ,from which it is distant about 527 yards.if necessary infantry alone could easily reduce it , from the fact that the only footpath leading up to it is scarcely at any one point exposed to the fire of the fort until you come under it’s very walls.

Sapotra and Khuda–
The remaining forts are of small account.Sapotra , 20 miles west of Karauli , and Khuda , near the north- east border , have garrisons of 50 men each ; the other of from 5 to 25.They are situated as follow —

Thali-–It is in paragana Machilpur on the northern border.
Jambura–It is in Machilpur a few miles east of it.
Ninda–It is three miles north of Mandrel.
Und–It is near the Chambal north -east of Mandrel .
Khodai–It is near Mandrel.
Daulatpura–It is in padhana Untgarh near the western boundary.

Some Historical villages of Karauli State having Forts—

1– Kaila–
About 12 miles south-west of Karauli on the path to Utgarh fort .Here is a celebrated temple of Devi , the only shrine of any account not Vishnawi .It is situated above a small nala amongst hills.The idol is said to have come from Jawala Mukhi  ,and to have remained exposed on its present site until an illness prompted Raja Gopal Das to build itna temple .A  “bijak ,”or inscription , shows that the present temple was erected in Sambat 1780 , or A.D.1723 .The maharaja is bound to visit Kaila once a year at least , and Maharaja Pratap Singh , who had much need of divine aid , is said to have come monthly.The annual visit is paid during the fair , which begins Chet Budi 11th March and last about a fortnight.

2-Salempur
There is a ruined masonry fort of that period and the tomb and mosque of an imperial official named “Mian Makan ” of some local note .Near the village is a hill called “Madar Sahib’s Chillah , ” where a Muhammadan saint fasted forty days.

3-Bilot
In this village a force is said to have been established at the time of the siege of Ranathambhaur by the Emperor Alauddin , and the remains of a mosque and places still exist , Allaudin’s  siege of Ranathambhaur is an event of which the tradition is still vivid in these parts.

Barkhera –
This village gives it’s name to one of the five streams which form the Panchna river.It is said to be older than Karauli.A rani and a slave girl each formed a garden here and the place is remarkable for the  “Chhatri “of the Marhatta Rupji Sindhiya who was killed hard by.

Mohli —
Aprosperous village , eight miles south-west of the Karauli ,belonging to Khichri thakurs , a clan like Gonj looked down upon by their brother Jadons .The hills are near ,are covered with thick jungle , and are full of large game .They form a raj hunting -ground , called  “Nila Dungar .”

Agarri–

A ancient village on the Jaipur border.Here Lieutenant Monck Mason , political Agent , built a small fort to control Minas and other refractory classes.
Machi-
Fourth miles north of the Karauli.It belongs to the “bapoti  ,”or the estate of the Hari Das thakurs .There are few masonary buildings and a ruined fort destroyed by Maharaja Pratap Pal ,in whose time and subsequently the Machi thakurs were conspieucuous amongst the disaffected .

Birwas —
In this village a hill on which stands a temple of Anjani Devi , the patron goddess of karauli Jadons .

Kallianpura –A village held in “istamrari “or perpetual settlement by thakurs of the Sengar clan introduced by Maharaja Gopal Das , who was connected with them .Thakurs possess a small mud fort.

Jirota–
Jirota is said to have been founded by one Jira Khan whose tomb still exists.A temple of Kallian Rai ji is more than seven hundred years old , as testified to by the “bijak , “or inscription , which bears the date of Sambat 1195.There is a temple at the junction of the Gerin stream and a Naroli hill .The temple is called “Samera ” which means union.

Naroli–
The two miles north of Jirota.There is a considerable fort , described elsewhere , over the hill of Naroli , built Sambat 1840 by the Mukund Thakur .

Gareri–

The original seat of one of the great families ( kotris ) , but the” mahal ” ( palace ) and fort are now in ruins .Gardens ,temples , and “Chatri ” still exist .It is 7 miles east of Jirota.

Raontra-

The east of another great kotris is seven miles east from Jirota .It has a few temples. There are about 20 Musalmans families in the Thakur’s service and long established at Raontra .There is a fort .The fort is of masonry and situated on a hill , but water is only procurable from below.

Hadoti-

The present seat of what was the Gareri
family and 7 miles south of Jirota. The village is said to be eight hundred years old , but it is a poor place and has only one temple and no masonry houses .Hadoti extends across the Morel into small island formed by the main river and a branch .The Rao has a customs house at a place called “Dauran-ka-Ghata ” ( the robber’s ferry ) .

Inaiti –

A third great kotri six miles north -east of Jirota .The village is very prosperous .Here as at Raontra the thakur’s fort is weakened by the situation of its water-supply below the hill on it stands.

Amargarh

A seat of famous kotri 7 miles south-east from Jirota .The masonry fort has tanks or reservoir.There are several temples.

Bartun –
The last of the great kotris.It has a strong fort , supplied with water reservoirs ,on a hill , from whence flows a spring into a tank below.

Khidarpur —
An offshoot of Bartun .It is 7 miles north of Jirota and has an old fort.

Bajana –
Held by Saledi Jadons ,descended from Maharaja Dwaraka Das , 8 miles east Jirota .The old fort is in ruins.

Sapotra –
There is a fort built about more than 500 years back by Uday Pal son of raja Ratan Pal .

Amarwar –
Noted for a shrine to Devi Birwas on the Kalisar stream .

Mandrel –
Famous chiefly for its large old fort .This was first important stronghold acquired in modern times by the Karauli family  ;  but it is said to have been originally built in pre-historic times by a Jadon.It is provided with tanks and mosques . Bahadurji , son of Maharaja Gopal Das and his descendants had it in addition to Sabalgarh for a long period , but Raja Gopal Das took possession of it , and it has remained in the hands of Darbar ever since.A garrison of 300 men hold it under a killadar related to Malak Pal , the commandant of the army.
The notable buildings are a rampart round the town built by Maharaja Harbaksh Pal , a dargah of a Muhammadan relation of Bahadurji ( who after his perversion became a saint of repute ) ,a chhatri , temples , and two tombs .On the hill , which rises from the plain about 1 ,500 yards west of the fort , is another dargah called “Mardan Ghaib .” It is believed that any one who ventured to spend the night there would die .

Ranipura-
Adjoining the town is the village Ranipura , where lives a thakur family.

Ninda
A very old village , situated at the entrance of a pass from the valley to the upper country , famous in the history of Karauli as the first place where Arjun Pal , the restorer of the fortunes of the ruling family , settled .There is a small well built masonry fort belonging to the darbar with a garrison of eight or ten men.The some 2 kos from the village above the pass is a large tank surrounded by trees and called “Hardenia-ka-Talas .”It always contains water.

Urpura-
Urpura a ruined village ,7 miles west from Mandrel .It is remarkable for a fine old tank built by”Urs ,”a caste of Hindu stone cutters who have disappeared from the locality of which they were formerly the zamidars .There is too a mala or shooting -tower of Raja Gopal Das ‘s time here .The neighborhood is excellent for sport .

Khub Nagar —
There is a handsome tank which was built Dhau Khub Ram , minister of Maharaja Harbaksh Pal .There is a small masonry fort with a garrison of seven sepoys.

Manakar–
There is a ruined fort , a memorial of the period when the village was held by marauding Gujars , who were partly destroyed, partly expelled  by Maharaja Harbaksh Pal in Sambat 1877.Minas now hold the zamindari .

Machilpur–
It was granted to Raja Gopal Das by the emperor Akbar for his services in the Dekhan and for laying the foundation of the Agra Fort , and Gopal Das thus recovered the territory which has been lost by his ancestors five hundred years before .The principal landholders were the Gonj thakurs , who abandoned their chief  ,Kunwar Pal , after his expulsion from Tahangarh in the 12th century , and accepted the yoke of the Musalman s in order to retain their lands.They were driven out in their turn by Maharaja.Gopal Das .

Chainpur–
It is a Hari Das thakur village .On the high ground above the village stands the thakur’s fort and in the village is a fine handsome well built by Thakur Samir Singh .

Fatehpur–
Remarkable for its thakur ‘s fort conspicuously situated 8 miles from Machilpur on the Jaipur border range of hills.The fort has no ornament , but has reservoirs for water and a strong garrison .Below the fort are stone statues of elephants , and there is a garden containing the “Chattri “of a sati.

Siloti–
It is 4 miles west of Machilpur.It has an old fort and well , and is occupied by Gonj Thakurs .

Thali-
It has a fort built by Maharaja Harbaksh Pal .

Dhara-
It is 11 miles north of Machilpur.It has a fort with a well outside it occupied by 15 darbar sepoys .

Jambura –
There is a fort and 25 sepoys , situated as is the village on a hill.

Garh Mandora–
It formerly held in “bapoti “, by the Panch “pir “Jadons .They still occupy a rough stone fort.

Tamangarh–

It is founded by Maharaja Taman Pal ,who here established himself after the expulsion of his family from Bayana.The fort stands on a hill difficult of approach , but it and all the old buildings are in ruins.A gate , called the Jagan Pol is the most complete portion of the remains .A large tank covered with singharas and abounding in fish and wild flow lies below the fort.

Kura —
It has a fort built by Maharaja Gopal Das and occupied by fifty sepoys.
In Pratab Pal,s time the sepoys here behaved like many of their brethren elsewhere , and joined the party which opposed the chief.

Utgarh —
The extensive fort is very old.Maharaja Harbaksh Pal built the inner one .Maharaja Jagoman bestowed Utgarh on his son Amar Man , who founded Amargarh ;but his descendants were rebellious , and in Maharaja Manak  Pal’s time Amolak Pal took it , Sambat 1859 (A.D.1800) and it has remained in the hands of darbar ever since.The fort is about 35 miles from the Karauli city.

Birich –
This was in the Jagoman Thakur’s  “bapoti “, and was taken by Amolak Pal .

Nimbhera–

Some buildings of Maharaja Kunwar Pal , tanks , and shrines are situated on this spot .

Bahadurpur —
The village derives it’s name from Bahadur , the son of Gopal Das afterwards established in Sabalgarh .The village is on the affluent of the Pachana , elsewhere called the Barkhera .On the side opposite to the village is a rather spacious fort , containing a palace , temple , and bazar , all now deserted and ruined.

Karanpur –There is a temple of Devi’s outside the village.

Hasanpur-
Not far from the great fort.There are some very old Musalmans tombs and a well of the same period at this village.There are the remains of a very old fort here , besides which Maharaja Madan Pal built a temple and allowed bairagi whom he established there Rs.5 a month to minister to travellers , who used to suffer much on their way up from the river.

References—

1-A Gazetted of Eastern Rajputana : comprising the Native States of Bharatpur , Dholpur and Karauli by H.E .Drake-Bockman ,1905.
2-Gazetteer of the Karauli State by Percy Powlett ,1874.
3-Karauli Khyat .
4-Karauli Pothi.
5-Akbarnama ,III ,157 ,434 ,598 .
6-Ain -i-Akbari ,Vol .I,564-583.
7-History of Rajputana by Jagdish Singh Gahlot.
8-Rajasthan district gazetteers Sawaimadhopur by Miss Savitri Gupta .
9-Shyamal Das :Vir Vinod (Karauli ) .

Author -Dr Dhirendra Singh Jadaun
Village –Larhota near Sasni
District-Hatharas ,Uttar Pradesh
Associate Professor in Agriculture Science.
Shahid Captain Ripudaman Singh Govt.College , Sawaimadhopur ,Rajasthan ,322001.

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