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A warrior’s memorial comes to light

The Malusare memorial near Pune. At right is the original memorial that was unearthed  

Restoration workers at Sinhagad Fort, 35 km from Pune, have stumbled upon the original commemorative memorial of Tanaji Malusare, the brave Maratha warrior after whom Shivaji is said to have named Sinhagad Fort (Lion’s fort). Malusare died in 1670 after being seriously wounded in the Sinhagad battle.

The stone structure, found buried under cement, concrete, and layers of oil paint, is believed to be around 350 years old.

Workers were restoring a more recent memorial for Malusare, erected in 1941, consisting of a bronze statue and a concrete canopy. “The canopy had become dilapidated. So we recently started a project to remake it in bronze,” said architect Rahul Samel, who is working on the restoration project. “When the workers were removing the concrete base of the statue, they struck a stone. We removed layers of concrete and cement and found a stone platform underneath. After consultations with experts, we were able to match the structure with a 1917 picture of Malusare’s samadhi,” Mr. Samel said. But they also realised that the platform was only the base of the original 7.5-feet high memorial rock. Where was the superstructure?

It so happened that the canopy, in addition to the bust of Malusare, also sheltered a virgal or a hero stone, which had the carvings of a soldier, Lord Hanuman, and flowers. This hero stone was covered in over 60 layers of oil paint. As we peeled it off, we realised that the hero stone was actually the superstru-cture and a part of the memorial,” said Mr. Samel, adding that it must have got detached and moved away from the original structure several years ago.

“There were always rumours about Malusare’s samadhi in Sinhagad. But until now, no one knew where it was. We have taken a conscious decision to restore the samadhi to its original form,” said Dr. Tejas Garge, director of the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums, Maharashtra.

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Printable version | May 16, 2021 12:56:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/a-warriors-memorial-comes-to-light/article26262366.ece

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