Year 1901 AD?
To the geologist the view from the top is of great interest. South of the Malaprabha river and four miles north of the Khele pass, in the extreme west stands the flat-topped hill-fort of Bhimgad, rugged, steep, and surrounded by a double line of broken hills, rising 1800 feet from the plain. From the North side of the great Mahadayi ravine looking over the scarp formed by the edge of the trap area, the fort, with the neighboring limestone peak and several huge masses which have slipped into the valley, forms a view of rock and forest of rare wildness and beauty. The way up is by rock cut steps, through bush covered slopes which shelter bears, tigers, wolves and bison. Neither the top nor the sides are tilled. At the foot of the hill is a village inhabited chiefly by Marathas. Bhimgad Fort, in the village lands of Tanali, is built on a detached spur of the Sahyadris about 16 miles South West of Khanapur. The spur has steep sides and a flat top which is reached by a flight of rock cut steps. The fort is 1380 feet long from North to South and 825 feet broad from East to West: the whole inside of the fort is overgrown with brushwood. The fort has one gateway and the walls are still in good order. The water supply is from a spring. Tigers, wolves, bears, bison and sambhar occasionally visit the hill. In 1827 a committee of inspection described the Bhimgad fort as situated on a bay or basin formed by the Sahayadris immediately North of the Khele pass. Bhimgad occupied the summit of an extraordinary rock, with sides about 300 feet in perpendicular height. Except on the south where a pathway broad enough to admit of two or three men abreast lead to the summit, the fort was inaccessible. The defences were almost entirely natural, requiring little artificial help. The gateway was formed by a small thatched building connected on each side with a slight wall of defence very weak and assailable even without scaling ladders. The gateway commanded the footpath and the approach in some degree, but an invading force would find cover almost everywhere from the fire of the garrison. The petta or lower fort was
about 400 feet below the upper and was inaccessible on every side except by a foot path leading eastward where a neck of hills formed an easy communication with the principle range. On this, the East side, the defences of the lower fort were trifling and could be easily surmounted with short scaling ladders. On the other side the South and the West, there was a fearful descent of 400 feet into the valley below, partly hill and partly rock. The water supply, consisting of a small spring, the West and a reservoir to the North, was scanty and entirely failed during the two hottest months of the year. The surrounding hills rose about 700 feet above the level of Bhimgad and lay within range of shot and shell. In the upper fort were two guns an eight and a three pounder and one wall musket. None of the gateways in the lower fort had any powder or shot. The committee found that the fort could not be effectively destroyed as the masonry at the top of the footpath could be rebuilt in a short time. When the fort was examined it was guarded by an irregular force of 175 men. Bhimgad was one of the forts which Shivaji held at the time of his death in 1680. In 1719 it was given to Shahu with the 16 districts included in his own rule or Swaraj. About 1787, with Vallabhgad and Gandharvagad, Bhimgad was forcibly taken from Kolhapur by the Nesargi chief but shortly afterwards the chief and his confiderates were put down, their army was dispersed and the forts retaken. In 1820 Marshall notices Bhimgad as built on a lofty rock, nearly steep on two sides and of most rugged and steep ascent on others. It was surrounded by double line of hills and was reached by a series of rude ascents and broken descents, almost every step being from rock to rock. In 1844 Bhimgad fort among other places was occupied as a guard against bodies of insurgents who threatened the Belgaum districts.
Year 2000 AD
Nothing remains today of the fort, some stones indicating the walls of the fort lie weathering the centuries of climatic forces. The hill fort with a smaller hillock formed by the huge rocks still stand proudly, as steep as
ever overlooking the forest surrounding it. The time seems to have come to a stand still here, but as one reaches the edges one can see the forests that have been razed to the ground, the trees have been cut and only grass remains. If not for the timely intervention a couple of years back things might have been worst, but all is not well in these silent forests, there is an ever increasing pressure on them and it will be just a matter of time before it becomes too much to handle for the government and the forest department.