Located in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka, Mirjan fort was known for its strategic importance. Spread over ten acres, the fortress has been the site of several battles and was ruled by several dynasties.
Built of laterite stones, there is no certain opinion as to who built the fort. According to one version, the fort was built during the regime of Nawayath Sultanates in the early 1200. The fort was later conquered by the Vijaynagar Empire and reconstructed it in 1608.
According to another school of thought, the fort was built by Chennabhaira Devi, queen of Gersoppa from the Tuluva dynasty of the Vijaynagar Empire. The queen had control over the fort for a period of 54 years. It is also said that the fort was built by Sherif Ul Malik, a nobleman from Bijapur. It was constructed to protect Kumta fort and the town.
Other sources state that the fort was under the rule of the Vijayanagar Empire; they were succeeded by the Bijapur Sultans. In 1757, the Marathas gained control of the fort and later in 1784 the citadel was seized by the British East India Company.
Built with high walls and bastions, the fort has four entrances and is surrounded by a moat which played a crucial part in its defence. The fort is double-walled and includes high turrets and with weapon platforms on the bastions. The fort has interconnected wells. One can also see sculptures of Hindu gods in the fort.
The fort suffered severe damages and today it’s in ruins. Archaeological Survey of India is in the process of renovating the fort. In 2001, the ASI carried excavations in the fort and unearthed several laterite structures belonging to the medieval period. Antiquarian findings such as a gold coins attributed to Portuguese Viceroy Conde De Sarzedas have been found with cannon balls, Chinese porcelain, clay tablets with Islamic inscriptions.
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