mirjan-fort

Related Images

The Mirjan Fort is located on the west coast of the Uttara Kannada district in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. The fort known for its architectural elegance was the location of several battles in the past. It is about 0.5 kilometres (0.31 mi) from the National Highway 17 and 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) from Gokarna, the famous Hindu pilgrimage centre on the west coast of India.

According to the first historical version, Queen Chennabhairadevi of Gersoppa (under the Vijayanagara Empire) was initially credited with building the Mirjan Fort in the 16th century. She ruled for 54 years and also lived in the fort.During her reign, the port at Mirjan, which is 32 kilometres (20 mi) to the south east of Karwar, was used for shipping pepper, saltpetre and betel nut to Surat. Gersoppa, a district annexed to Bednur, was famous for the pepper exported from this region. Consequently, the Portuguese gave the epithet “Rani, the Pepper queen” (“Rainha de Pimenta” in Portuguese) to the Queen of Gersoppa.

There are many versions to the dating of this fort. The first historical vision the Mirjan Fort was built initially by a Nawayath asper Ibn_Battuta book this fort was first built by Nawayath Sultanates early 1200, then it came under the Vijayanagara Empire. Then the fort was refurbished in 1608 (Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) refers to its building over a period of 1608–1640) on the south east coastal part of the Tadri Creek.

Another vision that is traced to the period 1552–1606 is that the Mirjan Fort was built initially by Queen Chennabhairadevi. She was from the Tuluva-Saluva clan and ruled for a long period (for 54 years) under the protection of the Vijayanagara Empire (the queen preferred to be subordinate (mahamandaleshwara) of Vijayanagar rulers), as the queen of Gersoppa (a small town on the northern banks of the Sharavati River). She was given the epithet “the Pepper Queen or Raina da Pimenta’. She devoutly practiced Jainism and during her rule constructed many Jain basadis. She ruled “in conformity with the doctrine of succession Aliyasantana or Matriarchal, a tradition followed in coastal belt of Konkan and Kerala”. Her domain covered North and South Kanara districts and south Goa, which had important ports such as Malpe, Bidnoor, Mirjan, Honnavar, Ankola and Karwar from where the pepper, the most important produce of the region, was shipped to Europe. However, she suffered reverses after the Talikota war in which the Vijayanagar Empire was routed. She then shifted from Mirjan Fort to a safe location in an island in the middle of the Sharavathi River.

The fort is built over an area of about 4.1 hectares (10 acres). It is built with laterite stones. It was built with high walls and bastions. The fort has four entrances (one main and three subsidiary entrances) and many wells, which are interlinked and with access channels leading to the circular moat (used as a defence measure to protect the fort) that once fully surrounded the fort, and leading to the canal works outside the fort’s limits. At each entrance, there are wide steps to enter the fort. The fort is double-walled and has high turrets on the bastions. It is now seen mostly in ruins but is being restored by ASI to some extent. The ruins have been inferred as remnants of a secret passage, entry doors, a darbar hall and a market place. Stone images of Hindu gods and goddesses are also seen under a large tree.