There are many forts in Maharashtra, which tell us stories of the noble king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and his brave warriors. Here is the story of how the fort of kondhana came to be known as ‘Sinhagad’ or the ‘Lion Fort’. The strong fort of kondhana was in the hands of the Moghuls. Shivaji Maharaj wanted to win it back. Once, Tanaji Malusare went to invite him for his son’s wedding. Tanaji Malusare was strong and brave as a lion.
When he came to know that Shivaji Maharaj was planning to go on a campaign to capture the fort of kondhana. he said. Maharaj, my son’s wedding can wait. First allow me to go and capture the fort of kondhana for you. Soon after that Tanaji his brother Suryaji, uncle Shelarmama and a few select soldiers went on the campaign to win back Kondhana. The fort was situated on top of a hill. There were only two entrances to it. Both the gates were heavily guarded by soldiers.
It was very difficult to enter the fort, let alone win it. But Tanaji drew up a bold and clever plan. Nobody had ever tried to enter the fort through such a dangerous route. So that side was not guarded at all. Tanaji and his soldiers knew the hills and mountains very well. At night, Slowly and carefully, they climbed the steep slope using a rope and entered the fort. Suryaji and some of the soldiers had taken another route and were waiting near one entrance. Soon after Tanaji and his soldiers entered the fort, the battle began.
The officer in charges of the fort was called udaybhan. He too was a brave soldier. He was well equipped with weapons and guards. He began to fight Tanaji with all his might. Udhaybhan’s garrison and Tanaji’s warrior both tried their best to defeat the other side. Udaybhan and Tanaji soon came face to face and began to fight each other with their swords. It was a long and fierce battle. Suddenly, Tanaji’s shieid broke due to a blow. But he was not afraid. He tied his waistband around his hand and continued to fight.
Tanaji and Udaybhan were both fatllly wounded. They laid down their lives in the battle. Meanwhile some of Tanajis soldiers reached the entrance where Suryaji was waiting and threw open the gates to him. Now suryaji joined the battle and added a new force to it. When Tanaji felll, the soldiers began to panic. When Suryaji saw this he shouted at them, “Dont act like cowards. I have cut the ropes that helped you climb the fort. Now you cannot go back the same way. The only way for you now is to fight and win the fort. Think of the brave Tanaji who fought for our victory. “The soldiers were inspired by Suryaji’s word and attacked the enemy forces once again. They fought till they won the fort.
The news of the victory reached Shivaji Maharaj. But he was very sorry to hear of Tanaji’s death. “We have won the fort but lost the lion.” he said. and from that time Kondhana was called ‘Sinhagad’ in memory of the lion-hearted warrior- Tanaji Malusare.
Ref. BM English Speaking