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Tanaji Malusare and the Battle of Sinhagad Fort, 1670

Tanaji Malusare’s named is written in golden letters in the history of the Maratha Empire in India. He was a great warrior and was known as 'Sinha' (Lion). Let us find out more about this great warrior and how he fought the legendary battle of Sinhagad?
Jan 28, 2020 18:46 IST
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Tanaji Malusare story
Tanaji Malusare story

Tanaji Malusare was a Subedar in the army of Chhatrapati Shivaji and was also one of his good friends. He belonged to the Malusare clan and fought various battles alongside Chhatrapati Shivaji. Do you know that the original memorial of the legendary Tanaji Malusare was discovered in 2019 during restoration work in the Sinhagad Fort (Lion's Fort) around 36 km from Pune?

The Director of the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums, Maharashtra, Dr, Tejas Garge, and the conservation architect Rahul Samel confirmed this finding at the sidelines of the Durg Parishad, held in February 2019, at the Raigad Fort.

According to them, the memorial stone was discovered under the cement, concrete and layers of paint. "While we were restoring a memorial of Tanaji, which was built in the 1940s and comprised of a base, bronze statue and a concrete canopy, we stumbled upon the original memorial stone below the current base".

According to Rahul Samel based on historical reference and a 1917 photo of the Samadhi, his team could establish that it was Tanaji's original memorial. In the Sinhagad fort, the Samadhi was restored in the original form.

About Tanaji Malusare

Date of Birth: 1600 A.D

Place of Birth: Godavali, Javali Taluka Satara, Maharashtra

Date of Death: 1670 A.D

Place of Death: Sinhagad, Pune

Cause of Death: Wounded badly fighting in the battlefield

Father's Name: Sardar Kaloji

Mother's Name: Parvatibai

Siblings: Brother-Sardar Suryaji

Marital Status: Married (at the time of death)

Wife/Spouse: Savitri Malusare

Children: Son-Rayaba Malusare

Tanaji Malusare is one of the brave and famous Maratha warriors whose name is synonymous with valour. He was a friend of the great warrior king, Shivaji. He is best remembered for the battle of Sinhagad (1670) where he fought until his last breath against the Mughal fort defender Udaybhan Rathore. This battle paved the way for the Marathas’ victory. Shivaji used to call him 'Sinha' (Lion) because of his strength.

About the Battle of Sinhagad and how Tanaji Malusare fought it?

Preparations were going on for the marriage of Tanaji Malusare's son. There was an atmosphere of frolic all around. He had gone to invite Shivaji and his family to attend the wedding but he came to know that Shivaji wanted to get the Sinhagad Fort back from the Mughals. Earlier, the name of the fort of Sinhagad was Kondhana.

Let us get a glimpse of the history of the Kondhana Fort and how it got into the hands of Mughals?

In 1665, due to the treaty of Purandar, Shivaji had to give the Kondhana Fort to the Mughals. Kondhana, located near Pune, was the heaviest fortification and was a strategically placed fort. After the treaty of Purander, the Rajput, Arab and Pathan troops protect the fort on behalf of the Mughals. The most capable commander among them was Udaybhan Rathore. He was a fort-keeper and was appointed by the Mughal army chief Jai Singh I.

After Shivaji's order, Tanaji with 300 soldiers marched to capture the Sinhagad fort in 1670. He was accompanied by his brother and maternal uncle, Shelar. The weather was not good and it was difficult to climb the fort because of its height. The climb was almost vertical.

It is important to note that the fort was guarded by 5000 Mughal soldiers under the leadership of Udaybhan. The only part of the fort where there was no Mughal army was on top of an overhanging cliff.

It is said that Tanaji, with the help of Shivaji's pet, a giant reptile named Yashwanti (also known as Ghorpad in Marathi), succeeded in climbing the cliff with the help of a rope with the soldiers and attacked the Mughals silently. Udaybhan and Mughal soldiers were unaware of this attack. The battle was fought fiercely and Tanaji was killed by Udaybhan. His uncle, Shelar, took command of the battle after Tanaji's death and killed Udaybhan. Finally, the fort was captured by the Marathas. Ultimately, the Marathas won due to Tanaji's bravery and hoisted the saffron flag on the Kondhana Fort.

Despite the victory, Shivaji was deeply hurt by the loss of his most capable commander and friend and famously said – “Gad ala pan Sinha gela.” (“The fort has come, but the lion is gone.”). In the honour of Tanaji, he changed the name of the Kondhana Fort to Sinhagad Fort as he used to refer to Tanaji as 'Sinha' (Lion).

Tanaji Malusare is remembered as a brave warrior who was devoted to Shivaji and fought the epic Battle of Sinhagad Fort and won it without thinking about his son's impending marriage or his family. The valour of this great Maratha is widely acknowledged and remembered in Maharashtra and all over India.

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