Purba Midnapur, Paschim Midnapur
Religions - Tribes
Drought - Disaster
Tamluk Contai Midnapore Kharagpur


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West Bengal, purba Medinipur District, Tamluk Sub-division, Moyna Block & P.S., Garsafat Mouza, Area : Island 30 & Moats 35, Total 65 acres approx. It is by the side of the river Kansavati, a little above its junction with the Kaliaghai. It stands about 10 Kms. west of Tamluk town.

Reminiscent of Iegendary King Lausen, saga of Patriotism.

This fort is reminiscent of the `Dharma- Mangala' (National epic of South- West Bengal). It is associated with the name and time of legendary King Lausen ( 10th Century A.D.) during the reign of the `palas'. It may be remembered, Rani Kalinga and Domni Lakhai resisted the enemy and sacrificed their lives for the sake of the country. Rani Kanada was also another noteworthy character, who had defeated the intruders convincingly. Some scholars think that this `dharma-Cult' might have close kinship with Buddhism. But it lies, to some extent, obscure now.

Fort Balisita & Moynagarh : 1434 to 1561 A.D.

Kalindiram Samanta, one of the Military Generals, ruled `Jalauti Dandapat' from the fort of Balisita (mentioned in Abul Fazal's `Ain-i-Akbari') by the side of the river patharghata, in pargana Sabang as a feudatory of utkal maharaja Kapilendra Dev in the year 1434-35. His sixth descendant, Gobardhan, captured the fort of Moyna, shifted his Head- Quarters there, and was awarded with the title of `Raja', `Ananda' & `Bahubalindra' by utkal Maharaja Mukunda Harichandan in the year 1561-62. He performed his coronation ceremony on holy tithi pushyabhishek-Purnima. 'Tarikhi- Ferista' refers to the family surnamed bahubalindra : Officer-in-charge of the non-combatant force.

Almost autonomous state for 339 years.

In 1567-68 Prince paramananda of Moynagarh was sent to the Court of Mughal Emperor as one of the representatives of utkal king Mukunda Deva. Moyna raj was able to resist successfully the extension of Mughal authority over their jurisdiction. Moynachourah was almost an autonomous state under utkal Hindu Kings and Pathan-Mughal-Nabab administrations. they scarcely paid anything for the parganas. No doudt that they had originally formed a military class : `Khandait'. Moreover, the family also acted as `Samajpati' (Social Leader) in the mediaeval ages.

4. Invincible watery defence line & Marhatta Bargee Invasion.

Rulers of this fort were honoured by the Nababs of Murshidabad also. It was customary to make presents, when the Fauzdars gave horses and Khelauts with gold flowers. The practice was

interdicted, of course, in 1778. Rulers of Moyna fort with the help of the local people no less than two times could resist the, in roads of the mighty `Bargee', the Marhatta horsemen, and compel them to retreat empty handed in the middle (1740-44) of the 18th century. the watery defence line made Moynagarh (Killah Moynachoura) invincible at that time. john Johnstone, first ever British Resident of Midnapore narrates in 1760 _ Jagadananda was esteemed a formidable Rajah and kept a body of 3000 men at his pay. He was a great favourite at the court in Murshidabad. Governor H. Verelst informed Resident John Graham: `I have not heard anything in regard to the Moinachourah rajahs intentions of coming down to calcutta, ... I send you enclosed a letter for him containing a reprimand... his revenue remains so backward in their payments... `(Letter dt. 03-09-1766). Resident of Midnapore again wrote in 1773 : `he has indulged extravagancies of pomp & show'.

Tryst with destiny : Tussle with British Power.

Warren hastings became the first Governor General of centrally controlled British India in 1773-74 under Regulating Act, passed in the British parliament. The fate of Moyna Raj was crucial at this stage. Jagadananda refused to accept the superior status of the Company's British resident and to pay revenue in the district headquarters. Edward Baber, Midnapore Resident, wrote to Hastings: `When I was in Calcutta, I had the honour to inform you of the insolent conduct of the Moynachourah Rajah... he threw off all obedience to my authority... speaking of me with the utmost contempt and a day or two after, he seized money and took it by force' (`letter dt. 06-01--1773)'. .. they set themselves up as totally independent of me ... Not withstanding my repeated orders this Moynachoura zemindar persists in refusing... who have salt lands I sent orders to come, Moynachoura refused' ( letter dt.29-01-1773).

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Hastings ordered : `Seize and send Moinachura Raja as prisoner to Calcutta for his rebellious and insolent behaviour... In the meantime, you must throw a small guard into his fort in order to prevent his repossessing himself of it... He shall be wholly dispossessed of his Zemindary and further for the sake of public example (parwana dt. 16-02-1773 & another letter).

Hastings seized Moyna Fort on February 20, 1773.

Baber reported : `I despatched on 19th a party of sepoys to his fort under the command of a lieutenant. I have taken every possible precaution to keep secret the destination; the rajah I am apt to think had Intelligence of it ... he was not to be found (letter dt. 24-02-1773). Lt. Robert Baillie also reported from Mynachoura fort : `my taking possession of this place this morning at four O' clock, though I have not been fortunate enough to lay my hands on the Raja ... searched every corner of his house to satisfy myself that he was not concealed ` (letter, February 1773). Baber wrote again : `I have made the most diligent search after the Rajah of Mynachourah but without success ... it would be better to throw down the ramparts and fill up the ditches than to let it remain in a state of any strength or defence (letter dt. 07-04- 1773).

It did not so happen, but autonomy for 339 years thus ended. Samuel Lewis, the then Resident of Midnapore informed subsequently : `half a company stationed at Moynachoura can be relieved in five days after the arrival of the 12th battilion, but it appears to me absolutely necessary they should be kept at these posts (letter dt. 12-06-1773). Finally, urgent instruction came from Fort william : `We have thought proper to confirm the succession of the Zemindary of Moynachoura to the infant son of the Rajah who has been dispossessed and during the minority of the new zemindar we have appointed his mother to act as his guardian ... we direct you to take off the Guards. You will observe however still to retain such a guard within the works of the Fort of Moynachowra as may effectually secure Government the possession of it in case it may be at any time required (letter dt. 24-08-1773). After the lapse of 100 years or more, sir Hunter even didn't forget to write : `The family of the Raja of Mainchaura is a very old one ... like his brethren of the jungles, was not then, as now, a peaceful subject.'

Beginning of our fight against British autocracy.

This Administration of British India, governing from Calcutta, strikes for the first time. Jagadananda failed, but protected his personal dignity and magnanimity. Britishers even could not triumph over him ultimately. And, this episode deserves special mentioning in the prologue of the Indian drama of struggle for Independence. Raja Jagadananda (Moynachoura 20th February 1773). Raja Sundar Narayan (Kashijora, 13th August 1779), Rani Krishnapriya (Tamluk Boinchberia, October 1780), Rani Shiromoni (Karnagarh, 6th April 1799) have their immortal places in the chequered history of the district or Midnapore. They should be regarded like rebel `12- Bhuyans of Bengal' during the early Mughal regime. Moynagarh (as well as Tamluk Raj) meanwhile lost everything, played yet supporting active role in 1905, 1921, 1931, 1942 movements. Ghatseela is now in the territory of Jharkhand, and therefore, their story (June, 1773) is irrelevant here. Determination of hereditary right is now at the cross- roads. Is it a regional rehearsal of Great 1857 Rebellion? poetic justice demands such importance.

Marvel of mediaeval planning & engineering.

Situated in the vicinity of the ancient city- port of Tamralipta, the structure of this fort is unique and seems to be unparalleled. The fort proper is encircled by two concentric wide moats with hillock-like huge mounds. There had been crocodiles in the deep water, wild animals in the dense forest and ever-ready cannons in different strategic lofty corners. This fort has all along been invincible to the invaders in the past. Although time has taken its toll, the basic structure of this ancient fort remains intact. It was a marvel of mediaeval planning & engineering. It was so famous that even the British collector Bayley described in 1852 : `The district at the time of its cession (1760) contained many strongholds which were and are to this day, dignified with the name of `gurhs'. Killa Moynachoura is a well-known place of this kind'.

Extract from ` Revised List of Ancient Monuments in Bengal ` (1886) reads - `The moynagarh : the fort is built on an island within an island.' (The list has been prepared by public works Department of the government with the assistance of J.D. Beglar, Archaeological surveyor in Bengal).

Tradition of Religious & Cultural Cosmopolitan harmony

Moynagarh has a very rich cultural heritage. Mediaeval records & literatures are eloquent on its past glory and grandeur, that push its antiquity several hundred years back. even today, the Hindu Temples (vaisnavas, Saivas, Shaktas : Shyamsundar jeu with 2 Radhika, 1 Radha with every deity Madanmohan, Brajakishore, Dolegovinda; Narugopal 2 ; Krishna - Balaram; Symbolic stone Raj

Rajeswar & Raghunath, Lokeswar Mahadeva & Bhadra Kali Mahadevi), the Buddhist shrines (Holy place of lord Dharma, Jatrasiddhi Roy), Mazhar-sharif of the Muslim Saint (Sufi Pir Hazrat Tur Jalal Shah), the Mausoleum of the Mahanta ( Nayanananda Dev Goswami, sripat gopiballavpur) are reverberated with solemn hymns and prayers of thousand of devotees of different religious faiths. All these exist side by side. Moynagargh has been carrying on a long tradition of cosmopolitan communal harmony from the middle ages down to the present time. It had been the seat of the mixture of the Utkal & Bengal cultures, and the under-current still flows very quitely.

Picturesque Environment & Heritage site.

Moynagarh has been a beautiful landscape from the very time of its foundation. The natural beauty and ecological balance are still charming. Dipped in the Iush green with placid water all around this picturesque environment is very much like an attractive dreamland, and more enchanting in the moonlit night. It should be preserved and maintained before it goes into irreparable ruins. All sorts of patronage to save this wonderful specimen of yore are earnestly solicited. The West Bengal Heritage Commission Bill was passed in the Assembly on 15-02-2001, as part of efforts to preserve historical relics. Justice Shyamal Kumar sen, the then west Bengal Governor, said during a visit to Moynagarh on 23-11-1999 that the Central & state Government should preserve the historical treasures of this place. finally. Sir W.W. Hunter (The Annals of Rural Bengal, 1868) ought to be quoted in this context : `in a word, all the weightier matters of rural history, are forgotten ... what portion has perished can never be known. What part survives can only be permanently preserved by the intervention of the State'.


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