Mirjan Fort, Mirjan, Karnataka
Mirjan Fort would easily go unnoticed if you do not know about it particularly. It is about 60 Kms north of Murudeshwar and 24 Kms south of Gokarna on National Highway 17. A narrow & broken 750 meters long road from NH 17 leads to the fort. This fort is completely in ruins and yet it looks majestic. The fort known for its architectural elegance was the location of several battles in the past. The fort is located on the banks of Aganashini River, tributary of Sharavathi River.
This fort was built to survive enemy attacks. Two sturdy laterite walls and a wide moat enclose the fort. There was probably a drawbridge across the moat which would be pulled up to keep the enemies out. Snipers and soldiers would fire on enemies from behind merlons and through arrow slits (also called loopholes). In the bastions, dedicated crews would work cannons placed there while other soldiers fired on anyone who came too close to the fort walls. At the machicoulis – balcony-like projections in the wall – soldiers would drop rocks and other objects on enemies below.
According to first historical version, Queen Chennabhairadevi of Gersoppa was initially credited with building of Mirjan Fort in the 16th century. She ruled for 54 years and also lived in the fort. However, there are many versions to the dating of this fort.
Though there was a fort here earlier, the 11.8 acres fort in its present form probably dates from 1600s. You can see both Islamic and Portuguese influences in the fort’s construction. The fort’s round bastions, for example, are typical of Indian forts built by Islamic rulers. The single tall, square lookout tower along southern walls is characteristics of Portuguese military architecture in 1500s. This fort is a perfect example of the royal life lived by the rulers.
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