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A warrior’s memorial comes to light

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. While the stone platform of the older memorial was discovered beneath the concrete canopy, a superstructure with intricate carvings was uncovered after workers peeled off over 60 layers of oil paint. “The concrete canopy had become dilapidated over the years. So we recently started a project to remake the canopy in bronze,” said architect Rahul Samel, who is working on the restoration project. “As the workers began removing the concrete base of the statue, they struck a stone. We peeled off layers of concrete and cement and found a stone platform underneath. After consultations with various 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 stone structure that they had discovered was only the base of the original 7.5 feet high memorial rock. Where was the superstructure? It so happened that the concrete canopy, in addition to the bronze bust of Malusare, also sheltered a virgal or a hero stone, which had carvings of a soldier, Lord Hanuman, and some flowers. “This stone was covered in more than 60 layers of oil paint. As we peeled it off, we realised that the hero stone was actually the superstructure and a part of the memorial,” said Mr. Samel, adding that it must have been detached and moved away from the original structure. “We are extremely thrilled about discovering the samadhi. This is a great piece of heritage,” he said. Malusare was cremated near his home in Poladpur, Raigad district where, too, a memorial exists. Mr. Samel and his team will now be scanning the newly discovered memorial to see if it contains the Maratha leader’s remains. “It is not uncommon for some warriors to have two or three memorials. There is a good chance that the memorial we have discovered may have his remains, as he had breathed his last in Sinhagad,” Mr. Samel said.

Source  : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/famed-warriors-memorial-unearthed-in-sinhagad-fort/article26263629.ece

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