Gavilgad Fort is located near the hill station of Chikhaldara in Amravati district, Maharashtra. It is at a height of about 370 ft above mean sea level (MSL). Though the fort's history has not been properly documented, historians believe that it was 300 years back that the fort was constructed and subsequently ruled by the Hindu and Mughal rulers; but today it is in shambles.
The fort has some beautifully carved idols, perhaps carved
during the period of the Nizams, when Elichpur was their capital. Evidence
that the art of architecture and sculpture blossomed in that period is
also available in the fort.
The carvings on the walls of the fort comprise of elephants, bulls, tigers and lions and Hindi, Urdu and Arabic scripts. Idols of Lord Hanuman and Lord Shankar are also seen in the fort. A proper study of the script can, for sure, throw light on the history of the fort.
There are 10 cannons in the fort and they are made of iron, copper and brass. The weapons are still intact. Three hundred years later, the weapons are still in good condition, a fact that reflects on the quality of manufacture then.
Also existing are many small lakes and ponds that form the
water sources for this illustrious area. The Bamnitalao, Khambtalao,
Devtalao and Dhobitalao lakes never dry up. The Machhitola Lake, located
outside the fort is the only lake that dries up in summer.
The Shakkar Lake is believed to possess medicinal properties that can cure certain diseases. There is no trace of the tunnel, reputedly linking it to the nearby Gond fort at Narnala. One could trek to Narnala, or drive through the thick forest to discover yet another blend of Gond and Mughal influence.
The gates, the Jama Masjid and the innumerable small mosques and temples add to the beauty and glory of the place. A combination of fort tracks, paved roads, ramps and steps lead one from monument to monument.
The fort was built by the Gavlis, who were rulers of the shepherd community in the 12th /13th century. Later on the fort came under the reigns of the mighty Gond community, till the time they were defeated by the Mughals. The fort is currently under the Melghat Tiger Project. It has bravely endured the sensational battles and today its ramparts remain, tranquil and deserted.
Once a magnificent structure, the fort has been reduced to
a dilapidated structure now. Its beauty has been destroyed over the years.
For years, in the pre-independence days and even in the later part, people
have destroyed the fort and pulled down its important structures while
looking for hidden treasures. Though efforts to reconstruct the fort and
restore it's glory were made, they were far and few. What is needed is
some serious effort on the part of the government and also the people to
prevent further damage.
Development plans for Gavilgad have been drawn up. These involve the repair of ramparts and some other construction, and the building of a road to the inner gate to improve access to the fort.
Air: Nagpur is the
nearest airport, 230-km away.
Rail: Amravati is the nearest railway station, 100-km away.
Road: Chikhaldara is conveniently connected by road and State Transport buses ply regularly from this place to Nagpur, Amaravati, Wardha, Akola and other cities within the state.
For accommodation Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has two resorts at Chikhaldara.