Thursday, 5 March 2009

15. 1st Naval Expedition To Basrur After Foundation Of Sindhudurg ...

Soon after on 5th dec 1664, Shivaji laid the foundation of the fort of Sindhudurg near Malvan on the sea coast. The fort of Gheria(Vijaydurg), Suvarnadurg & other sea forts were strengthened. They were meant to provide protection to Maratha navy & keep in check the Siddis of Janjira, the Portuguese & other powers. Shivajis’s navy was a modest but a very useful wing of his defense forces.

According to contemporary chronicles it consisted of 400-500 ships, big & small, known as “Gurab, Tarande, Galbat, Mubar, Sihad, Pagar, Machva, Tirkathi & Pal. Like the infantry & cavalry, the navy formed an important & separate command of equal rank. To this navy were appointed Darya Sarang Daulatkhan & Mayanak Bhandari as officers, with seafaring & fighting men & kolis & soldiers – sailors to serve under them.” Shivaji’s naval activities figure in a number of Portuguese, Dutch & British records. He had constant encounters with his constant rival – Siddi of Janjira. In feb. 1665, Shivaji personally led the 1st naval expedition to Basrur. The navy consisted of 50 frigates, 3 little ships & some small craft wit 4000 soldiers. He set sail from Maland port(ratnagiri dist.) & reached Basrur probably on 13th feb 1665.

Basrur (Bareclore) on Canara coast belonged to the principality of Bidnur. The town was plundered. The Dutch estimated the value of plunder as 3 lakh guilders which might be correct. The Maratha chronicles have placed the figure at 2crore hons(8crore rupees), an incredible sum! On the way back Shivaji stayed for some time at Gokarna Mahabaleshwar & Karwar. He hurried back to his capital Rajgad by the land route in the 3rd week of march 1665. Mirzaraja Jaisingh, the veteran general of Aurangzeb, reached Poona, on 3rd march, to led the campaign against Shivaji.

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