The history of India is diverse and complex. This is one of the reasons Antur fort is a forgotten monument of India.
To understand the importance of this fort in the history of India, we must look at the history of the region.
Maharashtra between the 13th and 17th centuries
Since the 11th century, the Maharashtra state has been governed by the Yadava Empire. From the 13th century, the Delhi sultans increasingly had a view of the south of the Indian peninsula. Ramachandra, one of the last great Yadava emperors repelled a first invasion from 1270. Some historians do not recognize the inscription of 1278 describing it as “big boar to protect the earth from the oppression of the Turks”. What is certain is that in 1296, Ala-ud-din Khilji from the Sultanate of Delhi seized Devgiri, capital of the Yadavas (today Daultabad). The latter sat on the throne of Ramanchandra, in the exchange for the payment of a ransom and an annual tribute. However, the Yadavas never paid their dues to Khilji. In 1307, the latter sent an army commanded by Malik Kafur, to Devgiri. Their huge army conquered the weak and defeated forces of Devgiri almost without battle. Ramachandra was taken to Delhi. Khilji reinstated Ramachandra as governor in exchange for a promise to help him subdue the Hindu kingdoms of southern India. In 1310, Malik Kafur mounted an assault on the Kakatiya kingdom of Devgiri. Ramachandra’s successor, Simhana III, challenged the supremacy of Khilji. he sent Malik Kafur to retake Devgiri in 1313. Simhana III was killed during the battle and Khilji’s army occupied Devgiri. The kingdom was annexed by the Sultanate of Khilji in 1317.
The region remained under the domination of the Delhi sultans until 1347. Muhammad bin Tughluq returned to the North to fight against an Afghan invasion, one of his generals, Ala ud-Din Bahman, decided to free himself from the sultanate to create his own empire. He ruled over all of Deccan.
In 1518, the empire was divided into 5 sultanates, called the sultanates of the Deccan: Birar, Bijapur, Golconda, Bidar and Ahmednagar.
In the sixteenth century, there were many threats from the north which could have defeat other empires. Indeed, a powerful empire was being born since the victory of Babur over the Sultan of Delhi in 1526. The Mughal empire was always been in the search of territorial expansion.
To deal with this threat, the Sultanate of Ahmednagar decided to have several forts built on their northern border. One of these forts is the Antur fort.
Fort d’Antur: a major strategic position
The fort of Antur is like many forts of Maharashtra located at the top of a hill. The peculiarity of this fort is that in addition it was built on a ridge. There is only one access to enter and one exit of the fort. On 3 of its sides, the fort is on a slope which descends for 800 meters.
This hill was a perfect place to control the arrival of an enemy. Indeed, there is an unobstructed view of the plain which makes it possible to prepare the defence and repel an attack.
Antur fort is a perfect Indian monument to visit
Even if we know little about the history of this fort, it remains an interesting monument in India to visit. The fort being abandoned by the authorities, it can be visited free of charge.
It is located at north of Aurangabad, a 2-hour drive away. The last village before the fort is called Kholapur (not to be confused with Kolhapur which is much further south). It is located two kilometres from the fort. The road is more pleasant to walk.
In addition, you can admire a kilometre marker which is an ancient pillar in stone. It is indicating the fort at one kilometer which dates from the 15th century.
The closer you get to the fort, the clearer the view becomes. At 500 meters, at the end of a bend, it appears alone and majestic. One can easily imagine the arrival of soldiers in the 15th century. Nothing has moved, everything has frozen. The view between the fort and the plain ground below is breath-taking.
It has no record of modernity or the 21st century. Almost everything has become green again and all around you can see the jungle.
To access the fort, you have to take a narrow, paved and tree-lined road. At the end of it is the only access point to the fort. The road was so small that siege weapons or even a cavalry could not access the door easily.
As the fort is left abandoned, it loses some of its charm. One can imagine that army of soldiers of the sultanate standing around the door.
There are still some monuments that are located around a water tank.
Go around the ramparts to admire the breath-taking view of the valley which is located 800 meters below. As the fort is located on a ridge of the mountain, it was the best place to observe the surroundings in 360 degrees.
Finally, the part which was reserved for the commander’s palace has been transformed and now that is the tomb of a Sufi saint.
The fort is the ideal place to picnic and rest from the fury of the world. Here you are in nature, no noise of cars or civilizations. Have your time and admire the history of India through this fort.
If you want to go to the Antur fort, you need to rent a car with driver from Aurangabad because public transportation is not available. It takes two and a half hours to get there. From the last village, you have to be ready to finish on foot, seeing that there is no road but just a broken path which is subjected to be good on the weather.
Despite all, the Antur fort is one of the forts of Maharashtra that is worth visiting, it is a monument in India that tells a forgotten part of history.
If you are an off-beat traveller or an enthusiastic person, head to Antur fort by contacting us for more information.