Who built Murud Janjira the siddi fort in India?


Malik Ambar is credited with the construction of the Janjira fort in the Murud region of present-day india Maharashtra. After its construction in 1567 A.D., the fort was the key to the Siddis resisting various invasion attempts by the Marathas, Mughals and Portuguese to take the fort of Janjaweed.

Malik Ambar (1548 – 13 May 1626) was a Siddi military leader and prime minister of the Ahmadnagar Sultanate in the Deccan region of India. He was, however, born in the Sultanate of Adal, in present-day Ethiopia, in Harar "the city" ORomo.

Harar is the capital of the Hararghe East area and the capital of the Harari region of Ethiopia. The city is located on top of a hill in the eastern extension of Oromia,about five hundred kilometers from the seat of the federal government and the capital of Oromia Addis Ababa, at an altitude of 1885 meters (6184 feet).

For centuries, Harar has been an important trading centre, connected by trade routes with the rest of Ethiopia, the entire Horn of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula,and, through its ports, the outside world. Harar Jugol, the ancient fortified city, was inscribed on the World Heritage List of HUMANITY in 2006 by Unesco in recognition of its cultural heritage. Due to Harar's long history of involvement during trading periods in the Arabian Peninsula, the Ethiopian government has made it a criminal offence to demolish or interfere with historic sites or facilities in the city. These include stone houses, museums and items thrown away during the war. According to UNESCO, it is "considered the fourth holiest city " in Islam" with 82 mosques, three of which date from the twentieth century, and 102 shrines.

Fatţ Madīnat Harar de Yahyá Naṣrallāh , an unpublished history of the city in the thirteenth century, reports the fact that the Qadi Abadir Unar ar-Rida and several other religious leaders settled in Harar around 1216 (612 BC). Harar was then made the new capital of the Saltanate of Adal in 1520 by Sultan Abu Bakr Ibn Muhammad.

The city experienced a political decline during the Emirate regaining only some importance in the Khedivate period of Egypt. During the Ethiopian Empire, the city deteriorated while retaining a certain cultural prestige.

Malik was sold as a child by his parents and brought to India as a slave. While in India, he created a mercenary force of up to 1500 men. He was based in the Deccan region and was hired by local kings. Malik became a popular prime minister of the Ahmadnagar Sultanate, showing common sense in the sultanate's administrative management. He is also considered a pioneer of guerrila warfare in the region. He is considered to have settled the financial problems of the Kingdoms of the Deccan. He is naturally a figure revered by the Siddis of Gujarat. He humiliated the power of the Mughals and Adil Shah of Bijapur.

Childhood: Malik Ambar was born in 1548 under the name of Chapu,a birth name inHarar, Sultanate of Adal. Mir Qasim Al Baghdadi, one of his slave owners, eventually converted Chapu to Islam and gave him the name Ambar, after acknowledging his superior intellectual qualities. He was part of the now defunct Mayan ethnic group – a group recognized in their homeland as skilled warriors, usually serving as mercenaries in the region's frequent wars.

Between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Christian Abyssinian kingdom (ruled by the Solomonic dynasty) and neighboring Muslim states gathered a large part of their slaves from non-Abrahamic communities living in regions like Kambata, Damot and Hadya, which were located on the southern flanks of their territory. Malik Ambar was among the people who were converted ti islam, and later sent abroad to serve as a warrior.

The Solomic dynasty and the Sultanate of Adal were devastated after two decades of war against one another. According to the Futuhat-i 'Adil Shahi,Malik Ambar was sold into slavery by his parents. He ended up in al-Mukha in Yemen, where he was sold againfor 20 ducats and was taken to the slave market in Bagdad,where he was sold a third time to the Qadi al Qdat of Mecca and again to Baghdad to Mir Qasim al-Baghdadi, who eventually took him to the Deccan Plateau. He was described by the Dutch merchant Pieter van den Broecke as " a black kafir from Abyssinia with a severe Roman face ".

Malik Ambar was later purchased by Chengiz Khan, a former Habshi slave who served as peshwa or chief minister of the Sultanate of Ahmadnagar.

Soldier: Once his master died, Malik Ambar was freed by his master's wife. He married, and after being released, Ambar briefly served the Sultan of Bijapur where he earned his title of " Malik ". But Ambar left this service after expressing insufficient support from the sultanate's administrators before entering service in Nizam Shahi's army.

Malik Ambar was the regent of the Nizam Shahi dynasty of Ahmednagar from 1607 to 1627. During this period, he increased the strength and power of Murtaza Nizam Shah II by raising a large army. He set up a cavalry that grew from 150 to 7000 horsemen in a short time and he revitalized the Ahmadnagar Sultanate by appointing puppet sultans to repel northern Mughal attacks. In 1610, his army expanded to include 10,000 Habshis and 40,000 Deccanis. Over the next decade, Malik Ambar fought and defeated mughal emperor Jahangir's attempts to take control of the kingdom.

Malik Ambar made a capital change from Paranda to Junnar and he founded a new city, Khadki which was later changed to Aurangabad by Emperor Aurangzeb when the latter invaded the Deccan around 1658 to 1707.

Malik Ambar is believed to be one of the guerrilla supporters in the Deccan region. Malik Ambarhelped Shah Jahan fight against the power in Delhi of his mother-in-law, Nur Jahan, who had ambitions toput his son-in-law on the throne. Malik Ambar had also restored some credibility to the Sultans of Ahmadnagar who had been subjugated by the previous Mughals (Akbar had annexed Ahmadnagar). However, he was later defeated when Shah Jahan led a massive army against the declining Ahmednagar. Later Malik Ambar offered full control of Berar and Ahmadnagar to the Mughals as a sign of surrender.

Second conflict with the Mughals

Malik Ambar defeated the Mughal general Khan Khanan several times and often attacked Ahmadnagar. Lakhuji Jadhavrao, Maloji Bhosale, Shahaji Bhosale and other Maratha chiefs had acquired great importance during this period. With the help of these Maratha chiefs, Malik Ambar had captured the fort of Ahmadnagar and the city of the Mughals. But in one of the battles Malik Ambar was defeated by the Mughals and had to return the fort of Ahmadnagar. Many Maratha chiefs and especially Lakhuji Jadhavrao and Ranoji Wable later joined the Mughals.  Shah Jahan once again dealt an overwhelming blow to Malik Ambar in one of the battles and further diminished his power.

He died in 1626 at the age of 77. Malik Ambar had two sons with his wife Siddi, Bibi Karima: Fateh Khan and Changiz Khan and two daughters.

Fateh Khan succeeded his father as regent of the Nizam Shahs. However, he did not possess the political and military prowess of his predecessor. Through a series of internal struggles within the nobility (including Fateh Khan assassinating his nephew, Sultan Burhan Nizam Shah III), the sultanate fell into the Mughal Empire within ten years of Ambar's death.

One of his daughters was married to a prince of the Ahmadnagar royal family who was later, thanks to the help of Malik Ambar, crowned as Sultan Murtaza Nizam Shah II. The last daughter was married to the Circassian commander of Ahmadnagar's army, Muqarrab Khan, who later became a general under the Mughal emperor and received the title Rustam Khan Bahadur Firauz Jang. He became famous for his involvement in several important military campaigns, such as the Kandahar Wars against Shah Abbas of Persia. He was killed by Prince Murad Baksh at the Battle of Samugarth during the Mughal War of Succession in 1658.

Malik Ambar's tomb is located in Khuldabad, near the shrine of the famous Sufi saint Zar Zari Baksh.

 Legacy:There are conflicting perspectives on ambar's long-term impact in the Deccan and surrounding Indian states. Historians who subscribe to Harris' view credit the former slave with creating a lasting legacy of Africans rising to power in the eastern regions of the world, namely India. Others are more in agreement with historians like Richard Eaton. He cites Ambar's military prowess as the reason he achieved such influence during his lifetime, but claims that a series of decisive defeats at the end of his career incited distrust and resentment among those of his nearby administration. Eaton and his supporters claim that Ambar's trip is an impressive success story, and gave Africa's representation in India for a short time, but also believe that his lack of positive leadership in the final years of his tenure prevented him from solidifying his influence, as his successors quickly worked to overthrow many of Ambar's policies. Regardless of his posthumous impact on the Deccan, and the Indian states in general, it cannot be disputed that Ambar was a fervent supporter of education and a patron of the arts. Historians Joseph E. Harris and Chand cite Ambar's patronage of the arts and learning as brilliant achievements of his tenure as Malik of the Deccan.

Malik Ambar cherished architecture. Aurangabad was the architectural achievement and creation of Ambar. Malik Ambar the founder of the city has always been mentioned by hard names by SultanJahangir. In his memoirs, he never mentions his name without prefixing epithets as miserable, cursed, Habshi, Ambar Siyari, Ambar Black, and Ambar Badakhtur. Some historians believe that these words came out of the sultan's frustration with Malik Ambar's courage and resistance to the powerful Mughals by keeping them away from the Deccan.

Aurangabad Foundation

He founded/lived in the city of Khirki in 1610. [29] After his death in 1626, the name was changed to Fatehpur by his son and heir Fateh Khan. When Aurangzeb, the Mughal emperor invaded Deccan in the year 1653, he made Fatehpur his capital and renamed itAurangabad. Since then, it has been known as Aurangabad. Two imperial capitals Viz. 'Pratisthana' (Paithan) i.e. the capital of Satavahanas (2nd BC to 3rd A.D.) and Devagiri – Daulatabad the capital of Yadavas and Muhammad Bien Tughluq are located within the boundaries of Aurangabad.

Aurangabad Canal System

"Malik Ambar is particularly famous for the Nahr or "Neher", the water supply systtem of the city's canal called Khadi now know as Aurangabad. Malik Ambar finished the Nothingness within fifteen months, spending a nominal sum of two and a half lakh Rupiyahs. This town is located on the banks of Kham, a small perennial stream that takes off in the nearby hills.

The canal was an impressive engineering feat as it consisted of a 7-foot-deep tunnel large enough for a man to walk through. The canal had 140 holes and it operated effectively without the need for maintenance or cleaning for 321 years until it finally needed cleaning in 1931.

A visit to the unexplored fort of Murud Janjira

Nestled on a picturesque island off the sleepy coastal village of Murud, the majestic Murud Janjira fort is a wonderful representation of the royal past. The body of blue water surrounding the island that houses the fort makes for a delicious view. The fort is located at a distance of 55 km from Alibag in Maharashtra. Murud Janjira Fort, like almost all forts in India, was attacked by various forces such as the Portuguese, Marathas and British. Despite the intensity of the attacks and the vagaries of the weather, many strongholds of the fort remain undefeated.

History of Fort Murud Janjira

Murud is a Konkani word, which probably refers to the Shahi of Ahmadnagar, who wanted this fort to be one of his strongholds. Janjira is a familiar and more localized form of the Arabic word Jazeera which means island.

The origin of this majestic fort dates back to the fifteenth century, when some local fishermen in Rajapuri built a small wooden fort on a huge rock to protect themselves and their families from pirates. However, Sultan Nizam Shahi of Ahmadnagar wanted to capture the fort solely for strategic reasons, and when his general Piram Khan captured it, Malik Ambar - his spokesman who was also an Abyssinian regent of Siddi origin - decided to build a solid rock fortress in place of the original wooden garrison. This fort was originally called Jazeera Mahroob Jazeera. The way the fort was built may have been seen in some photos that I managed to get hold of from the net which is not the exact system of architectural engineering, but similar.

Murud Janjira fort was attacked by the Marathas, the British and the Portuguese, but he remained undefeated. The Siddis were so powerful here that they established their own sultanate of Janjawe.

The fort has many towers and turrets that were used to guard cannons. The fort had a total of 572 guns, but now only three of them exist. Once inside the Fort of Janjira, you can see magnificent water tanks, impressive tombs and immaculate stone structures. A beautifully carved sculpture of a tiger capturing six elephants with its claws welcomes you at the entrance. Venture further inside, and you'll see a whole arched door flanked by terrific animal motifs. The gate to the west is called the Darya Darwaza, literally meaning the gate of the waters, and it opens onto the sea.

Murud Beach is located at a distance of 5 km from Murud Janjira Fort and 48 km from Alibaug. Murud Beach, with its vast expanse of glittering sand, and turquoise green waters, is a treat for aching eyes.

Mysterious construction technology:

Mysteries in many forms: ancient, modern, unsolved and unexplained. But the most mysterious buildings in the world are a physical strength to be reckoned with.

They have become popularized on websites such as abandoned-places.com, weburbanist.com and atlasobscura.com, an exhaustive database generated by users and organized by the publisher of the unusual. These particular structures are original, less known and often obscure.

The mystery, after all, must be authentic.

"At a time when it sometimes seems like there's nothing left to discover, our site is for people who still believe in exploration," says Atlas Obscura co-founder Joshua Foer, whose own favorite mysterious buildings include a mansion in Los Angeles and an art house in Centralia, Washington.

Our definition of the mysterious is broad and varied. Some buildings on our list are eaten alive by the Earth, such as a lighthouse swallowed with sand in Jutland, Denmark or a church buried by lava in the remote highlands of Mexico. Others have design elements that seem to defy logic or were mysteriously abandoned by their people centuries ago. The construction of Fort Murud Janjira is one of these mysteries because it asks the question: How was this huge fort, located on an island, made of stones built in the middle of the sea?


Beauty of Ahmedganj Palace

Built in both Mughal and Gothic architectural style, this magnificent mansion shows bygone glory. It was once the home of the royal nawabs, but now houses a fascinating mosque and tombs of previous rulers. If folklore is to be believed, these tombs are filled with immense wealth but who would dare to open the tombs in search of gold? Well, try it at your own risk! This elegant structure has witnessed many horrific battles in the past, but now stands vacant as a remnant of the days that have long since disappeared.

Murud Janjira is a well-connected island. Today, boats depart from the piers of Rajapuri.

To challenge the Fort of Janjira which belonged to the Siddhis, was built the Fort of Kasa, also known as padmadurg, which was one of the five historical forts of the Sea of the Marathas. This majestic fort, covering nine acres of land, was built by Sambhaji Maharaj to challenge the seaport of Janjira. Once a glorious structure, this fort is poorly maintained due to lack of resources. It is listed in the List of Protected Monuments of the Archaeological Survey of India. If you wish to visit this fort, you must obtain permission from customs and navy. You can also see the ruins of this fort from the seaside. But if you want to visit the fort to understand its structure and architecture, you would need to rent a boat.

Water in the fort

In the past, people knew the importance of water and had developed a number of techniques to manage and conserve water resources. These efforts not only met the population's need for safe drinking water, but also contributed to the survival of livestock and agriculture in areas where perennial rivers were absent and where the population depended on rains and often faced water scarcity or droughts.

The annual droughts in Maharashtra have put enormous pressure on the available water resources. Add to this the government's inability to provide adequate and safe drinking water to people in rural and urban areas, the need to explore other decentralized and localized ways of exploiting and conserving water has only become more crucial. Harvesting rainwater is one such method.

Water collection structures

The Sinhagad hill fort in Pune has many water reservoirs built in its structure. "These are actually rock-cut cisterns called take or tanks that accumulate and store rainwater. These reservoirs were created when the rocks needed to build the forts were extracted from the ground. A total of 48 such catches can be seen in the fort. In some places, there are dressed stone walls around these tanks to increase the height and storage capacity of the tanks," Joshi explains. These reservoirs stored water for four to six months after the rainy season.

Water cistern cut into the rock with the rectified stone walls

Different types of water cisterns are found on the forts, some are open to the sky, some are caves integrated into the rocks, while others are dug under the ground and on the slopes. In some cases, the tanks were constructed in groups so that surface runoff was diverted into the cisterns and the water could be recharged and stored. A good example of this is a group of 24 rock-cut cisterns that can still be found on Sinhagad Fort, Joshi informs.

Sometimes, after the demand for the stones had been met, the excavated part on the ground was blown to a greater depth to create underground cracks to produce groundwater in the form of springs in the cistern. The great fort of Rajgad,the first capital of the Maratha kingdom, considered the most inaccessible, had facilities for storing large quantities of water. Two large lakes or talaavs and about 39 rock-cut cisterns are located in the fort. The ministers who managed the kingdom knew the importance of water conservation, and the experts, who had knowledge of the water stored in the rocks, known as panades. These rocks with the springs were then extracted and blown to expose the springs. Chandra tells tale in Fort Rajgad, has such a spring. The rock-cut cisterns served as emergency storage as the springs often changed course or ceased to flow due to the sounds of heavy artillery on the forts.

The for tof Janjira has a particular topography with the surrounding saltwater sea, which makes it suitable for the construction of an inland lake.

Water supply in shivaji period

The water supply system in Siddhi forts was probably the same as that practiced in Shivaji forts at that time. Shivaji being the Maratha king who had more than 240 forts and built many of them under his supervision. A certain amount of water was allocated to each person according to their position in the administration and this water would be transported manually from reservoirs or lakes to individuals by water carriers called"panke"who were paid according to their workload and the person who employed it. Evidence shows that water was used with the utmost care on the forts.

Local participation in the interview

Sayali Palande-Datar, an environmentalist and history researcher based in Pune, reports that many of these structures continue to be ignored and exploited due to the lack of concerted and appropriate efforts on the part of the government and communities.

"The water stored in the forts is still useful for the villagers, tribes and surrounding migrant communities. These areas also conserve flora and fauna, biodiversity and fauna due to their remoteness and water availability," she added. Villagers still use water from these cisterns "take" for drinking and cooking. It is fresh, pure and tasteful. Villagers also use this water in times of scarcity. It is time to recognize the contribution of these water collection facilities to the water needs of hilltop villagers suffering from severe water shortages in the summer.



The royal family of Janjira were the rulers of the state held the title of "Wazir", but after 1803 the title of "Nawab" was officially recognized by the British Raj. They were entitled to a salute of 11 shots by the British authorities.

Wazirs of Janjira1676-1703 Kasim Yaqut Khan II (d. 1703)

  • 1703-1707 Amabat Yaqut Khan II
  • 1707–1732 Surur Yakut Khan II (d. 1732)
  • 1732 - 1734 Hasan Khan (1st time) (d. 1746)
  • In 1734 - in 1737 Sumbul Khan
  • 1737-1740 Abd al-Rahman Khan
  • 1740 - 1745 Hasan Khan (2nd time) (s.a.)
  • 1745 - 1757 Ibrahim Khan I (1st time) (d. 1761)
  • 1757 Mohammad Khan I (d. 1757)
  • 1757 - 1759 Ibrahim Khan I (2nd time) (s.a.)

Thanadars of Jafarabad and Wazirs of Janjira

  • 1759 - 1761 Ibrahim Khan I (s.a.)
  • 1761 - 1772 Yaqut Khan (usurper on 6 June 1772) (d. 1772)
  • 1772 – 1784'Abd al-Rahim Khan (d. 1784)
  • 1784-1789 Jauhar Khan (d. 1789)
    • - in dispute with -
      • 1784-1789 Abd al-Karim Yaqut Khan
    • 1789-1794 Ibrahim Khan II (d. 1826)
    • 1794-1803 Jumrud Khan (d. 1803)

Nawabs Nawabs )

  • 1803 - 1826 Ibrahim Khan II (s.a.)
  • 1826 - 31 August 1848 Mohammad Khan I (d. 1848)
  • 31 August 1848 – 28 January 1879 Ibrahim Khan III (b. 1825 – d. 1879)
  • 28 Jan. 1879 - 2 May 1922 Ahmad Khan (b. 1862 - d. 1922) (from 1 January 1895, Sir Ahmad Khan)
  • 28 June 1879 - 11 Oct 1883 .... -Regent
  • 2 May 1922 - 15 August 1947 Mohammad Khan II (born 1914 - d. 1972)
  • 2 May 1922 - 9 November 1933 Kulsum Begum (f) -Regent (born 1897 - d 1959)
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