The Shivaji fort walls hug the island coastlines and appear like a natural reinforcement against the sea. Almost all other cultures either re-shaped the island to an idealized military pattern or placed a construction on the island like an independent building or complex. This relationship between existing natural form and man-made protections starts the metaphor for the proposals of the Shivaji Competition.
Khandari Fort at Alibag
Shivaji, founder of Maratha empire in western India in 1664, was well known for his forts; he was in possession of around 370 at the time of his death. Many, like Panhala Fort and Rajgad existed before him but others, like Sindhudurg and Pratapgad, were built by him from scratch. Also, the fort of Raigad was built as the place of throne, i.e., the capital, of Maratha Empire by Hiroji Indalkar (Deshmukh) on the orders of Shivaji. This is the place where Shivaji was coronated and today also his Samadhi stands in front of the Jagadishwar temple. These forts were central to his empire and their remains are among the foremost sources of information about his rule. The French missionary Father Fryer witnessed the fortifications of Gingee, Madras, built by Shivajiafter its conquest, and appreciated his technical know-how and knowledge.
Sindhudurg was built in order to control attacks by Portuguese and Siddhis on the coastal areas of the Maratha Empire. This fort is the witness of Shivaji’s Navy which was later led by Kanhoji Angre in times of Shivaji’s grandson Shahu I, and came to glory. Also Shivaji built the forts of Colaba and Underi to control the activities of the Siddhis in Arabian Sea. At the time of Underi’s construction British opposed a lot and stood with their warships in the sea to obstacle the material being supplied for the construction of the fort. But for their surprise the material required for construction was being supplied with the help of small boats in night.
The hill fort Salher in Nashik district was at a distance of 1,200 km (750 mi) from the hill fort Jingi, near Chennai. Over such long distance, hill forts were supported by seaforts. The seafort, Kolaba Fort, near Mumbai, was at a distance of 500 km (310 mi) from the seafort Sindhudurg. All of these forts were put under a havaldar with a strong garrison. Strict discipline was followed. These forts proved useful during Mughal-Maratha wars.
Along with Rana Kumbha of Mewar and Raja Bhoj of Shilahar, he stands as a grand figure in the art of fortification in Indian sub-continent. There are a number of legends about these forts. Even today thousands of youths visit these forts in his memory.