KARWAR: A tunnel route, discovered at Sadashivgad fort near here while clearing the area to build a road a few days ago, has created curiosity among the locals here. The fort was said to have been built by Sonda kings.
The rulers of Sonda kingdom, called Nayaks, who were the feudatories of Vijaynagar earlier, ruled the major parts of Uttara Kannada district between Sharavati and Kali rivers from around 1400 to 1764 AD. Sadashivgad is on the right bank of the Kali near its confluence with the Arabian Sea. Obviously it was a place of strategic importance for the rulers. According to Uttara Kannada Gazeteer, Maratha King Shivaji invaded Sadashivgad in 1665 and again in 1673. When Sadashiv Nayak-II took over the reins of Sonda Kingdom around 1665, his relations with the British soured and he started building the fort at Sadashivgad in 1698. The tunnel in the fort was said to be the secret route for the soldiers of Sonda Kingdom to fight against the British. Fryer, a British historian, who visited Sadashivgad in 1665 observed that Sonda prince was a tributary of Bijapur Adilshahi, during his visit.
Interestingly the fort has not attracted the attention of historians. There may be many such tunnels inside the fort area. Excavation can throw light on the history of the fort, says Shashikant Rane, a local leader. The main entrance was the only remnants of the fort today. However the fort area is leased out to run a resort by the Tourism Department. The forest, which provided green canopy to the hillock, where the fort is located, is degraded now. The combined effort of the departments of Archaeology, forest and tourism can make Sadashivgad a place of tourist attraction, says Rane.