Forts and Their Types
A fort is a building built in order to defend an area against attack. The practice of constructing forts came into existence from ancient time until Maratha period. There was fortification of cities in Indus culture. Forts were built in the central part of the city. However, most of the forts in India are actually castles or fortresses. Initially the British in India used the word forts, as it was common in Britain then.
Due to forts, it became easy to defend the kingdom from the enemy. Moreover, it became possible to control the nearby regions. Forts gained more importance during the period of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. It was due to hill forts that Shivaji with the help of a few soldiers succeeded in overcoming huge Mughal forces.
However, in modern times, forts are not built but they are used for different reasons. They are mainly used as tourist spots. Some forts are changed into museums, which explains the past of the fort.
The place where the fort is built determines the kind of the fort. Usually, there are three kinds of forts. They are hill forts, land forts and sea forts.
Forts that are difficult to climb and are situated on a broad high plateau are known as hill forts’. There are tanks with sufficient water and strongholds surround such forts. Shivneri, Raigad, Rajgad, Sinhgad and Purandar are some of the hill forts found in Maharashtra.
Land forts were the cities that were enclosed by big walls or banks. There was protection of trenches around them. Such forts had enough collection of different useful things such as fodder, grain, corn, water, money, etc. Bahamani, Adilshahi and Nizamshahi Kings built land forts on flat regions. Bijapur, Ahmednagar and Naldurg are some of the important land forts.
A fort on the rock in a sea is called a ‘sea fort’, for example, Janjira. As the foreign powers like Portuguese, English, Dutch and French had started to interfere in Maratha politics Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj built several sea forts on the western coastline. He realized that a fort on the sea was important to protect the water territory from the enemies. Some of the important sea forts were Sindhudurg, Vijaydurg and Suvarndurg.
None of the forts in India has been destroyed by sudden disasters. They have been deteriorated over time. Very few forts have survived unchanged since the early middle ages or even since 14th and 15th centuries. Most of them were later rebuilt and altered. Forts were used as living quarters until the 20th century. Today, some of them are private property.