In the year 1665, Shivaji Maharaj had to give up several forts to the Mughals because of the Treaty of Purandar. One of these forts was Kondana. But due to it’s strategic importance, Shivaji wanted to win it back.
This famous story of the 1670 Battle of Kondana was recreated on screen this weekend by the Ajay Devgan-Saif Ali Khan starrer, Tanhaji.
As a history lover, I appreciate movies which bring back to life stories of unsung warriors such as Tanhaji.
Tanhaji Malusare was a Subedar in Shivaji’s regime. He was also a lifelong friend of the Chhatrapati. He had gone to Rajgad to invite Shivaji for his son, Rayba’s wedding. Upon learning of the plan to regain Kondana, he immediately put the marriage plans on hold & took charge of the Mohim.
He is quoted to have said the words,
“आदि लगन कोनदानाचे, नंतर रायबाचे”
First we shall win back Kondana, then get Rayba married.
The fort was looked after by the Rajput commander Udaybhan Rathore. This character has been portrayed wonderfully by Saif. His look in the movie was very often compared to GoT’s Jon Snow.
However, let me tell you, Udaybhan is nothing like Jon Snow. In Saif’s own words, “Udaybhan is insanely wicked. He is a great warrior, and is smart, but he is also unhinged. The idea was to show the character as crazy yet lucid.”
I love a period drama that does justice to the historical account.
Tanhaji along with his platoon had scaled the steep fort in the dead of the night with the help of a Ghorpad (monitor lizard).
Once inside, they fought bravely against Udaybhan’s forces. They managed to break open the Kalyan and Pune Darwarzas and penetrated the fort from all directions. After a fierce battle in which Udaybhan literally broke down Tanhaji’s shield, the Marathas successfully regained Kondana back.
However, Tanhaji was grievously injured and he succumbed to death. Upon hearing of this loss, Shivaji was overcome with grief and he uttered the famous words,
“गढ आला पण सिंह घेला”
The fort is captured but we lost the lion
To commiserate Tanhaji’s memory, Kondana was renamed as Sinhagad, which means The Lion’s Fort.
Sinhagad is now one of the tourist attractions in Maharashtra. A memorial of Tanhaji is constructed on the Gad.
In 2019, site restoration workers unearthed the original Samadhi.
I have visited this fort twice but I was intrigued by it’s history after watching this fabulous movie.