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Fort Making

Mud Fort Building Event Held At Sunny's Spring Dale School.

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Fort Making
Fort Making

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Time is TBD

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About the event

India, and especially the Deccan Plateau, has a fair share of majestic forts, those built by Shivaji being more popular. Shivaji’s regime saw the annexing or construction of myriad forts, from Salher- near Nashik to Gingee in Tamilnadu. They also appeal more to the common man who is astounded at the simple but intelligent designs that merge with the surrounding topography and the strength of the fortifications that they offer. The different types of forts are based on the topography on which they were built. Kautilya, in his famous Arthashastra, describes the importance, types, and details of building a fort. According to him, water and hills provide the best security. He also describes the different types of forts – the ones built on land ( Ex: The Belgaum or Banavasi forts), in water ( Called Jal durg: Ex. Sindhudurg, Murud Janzeera)), on hill tops ( Called Giri durg: Ex. Raigad, Purandar), in deserts amidst sandstone hills ( Called Maru durg, Ex. Mehrangadh in Rajasthan), in deep impenetrable jungles (Called Van durg, Ex. Kohoj fort), etc.

Anything that has action, drama and a thrilling story attached to it and you have children mesmerized. No wonder the forts, which offer all this and more, are so attractive to them. The period before and after Diwali is the time kids of all ages in the Maharashtra and Karnataka region spend hours together in building these forts in their homes or in any open space available – in mud! This is the time when they have time, the resources and also the weather that does not play spoilsport.

The culture of children recreating the structure of a fort is prevalent for many decades in this part of the country. It has not only taught multiple lessons but also attracted the attention of corporates who now routinely organize these workshops or competitions and the best structures are awarded.

The Mud-Fort building process: Diwali is steeped in myths, traditions, and stories associated with various Gods, Goddesses and Kings from different cultures. It is a wonderful amalgamation of joyous festivities, spread over almost a week. The children in this part have their October holidays during this season. Preparations for the Fort begin way ahead of time, with different photos of real forts being collected, compared and approved for building a miniature. A member of the group convinces his parents to use the garage or a corner of the garden to build this structure. Then begin a series of hectic parlays with the other members of the group and work is distributed. The common materials used include

Mud, Cement, Plastic paper, hay, black clay tiles, paints, discarded gunny bags, cardboard, and stones. This forms the basic structure.

Mud is filled in small bags and brought to the ‘site’. Then it is cleaned and sieved for any stones. The ‘fort’ premise is marked with chalk. Stones are laid to give shape to the hills and covered with gunny bag cloth. Mud mixed with water is applied on this to plaster it and give a surreal natural texture. Mustard seeds are then sown on this ‘hill’ to stand for trees which grow in an about 2 to 3 days. A pedestal is made in the specially carved sanctum for the King who is almost always ‘Shivaji’. The black roof tiles when erected vertically make for excellent bastions. The ramparts and roads are laid with bare hands using mud and strengthening with hay mixed in it. A tiny moat is also dug and lined with plastic to hold the water. The different parts of this fort include the hill, roads, ramparts, moat, gardens, a lake ( again lined with a plastic sheet), zoo, houses, buildings, etc. At times, a small bridge is also built with some tin sheet.

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