The story dates back to the 15th Century AD.
The west coast of India harbors many famous sea forts and this story revolves around one such sea fort named Murud Janjira.
As the story goes… the Siddhis of the Abyssinian origin were ruling a part of the west coast of India (modern day state of Maharashtra) and their emperor wanted to build a strong fort in order protect his kingdom from the Bahmani Sultans and the mighty Mughals. So, he choose a location that was 500 km away from the island of Murud.
The Siddhi emperor’s court was not decorated with famous generals or administrators as the Mughal or any Rajput courts. However, Siddhi had many cunning warriors, who were experts in sea warfare. His court also had an famous astrologer name Krishna Kant Shastri, who was respected throughout the Deccan region for his accurate prediction of events based on the astrological calculations. So, before beginning the work of his new fort, Siddhi decided to consult the old astrologer.
The soldiers of Siddhi went to Shastriji’s wada (bungalow) to fetch his professional advice. Unfortunately the old astrologer had just stepped out from his wada to meet a friend. The soldiers were relieved to know that Mrunmayi, the teenage granddaughter of Shastriji was willing to assist them with any queries involving astrology as she too knew the science of stars. One of the soldiers said Mrunmayi, “Madam! Our emperor want to build a strong sea fort and so we want you to gives us the best date to start its construction.” The granddaughter of the astrologer checked the Panchang (Horoscope charts) and said,”The coming full moon is the best day to start the work.” Happy with the answer, the soldier went back to Siddhi.
Later in the evening, after Krishna Kant reached home, Mrunmayi narrated the whole incident to him. The old astrologer, with an intention of verifying his grand daughter’s knowledge checked the Panchang. He was shocked to the core and without wasting a single moment, he rushed to emperor’s palace. Mrunmayi had erred in her selection of the Muhurat (the best day to start the work of fort). After reaching the emperor’s palace, Shastriji apologized for his granddaughter’s mistake and suggested the best Muhurat to emperor, which according to him was an Amrut Muhurat (one of the best days of the century as per astrological charts).
Next morning Shastriji returned to his wada and immediately confronted Mrunmayi. He demanded an explanation from his granddaughter, who was also his favorite student. Mrunmayi, instead of answering the angry old’s man question asked Shastriji a counter question,”Dadasaheb! Did you suggest the Amrut Muhurat to the emperor?” Mrunmayi’s counter question helped Shastriji realize that Mrunmayi had deliberately suggested an incorrect date to the soldier of Siddhi. In his rage, he slapped his loving grand daughter and attempted to retire to his bedroom.
Mrunmayi stopped her grandfather and requested an audience with him. Looking straight his the astrologer’s eyes the teenager spoke, “Dadasaheb! I very well knew about Amrut Muhurat in the coming month. However, I purposely suggested the wrong muhurat… I wanted to stop the Abyssinian emperor from building an unconquerable fort on our land.” Mrunmayi continued,”You consider the Siddhis as our rulers but I consider them as our conquerors and I want to drive them out of our country with whatever amenities I have at my disposal!”
The patriotic words of his young apprentice helped the great astrologer, Krishna Kant Shastri realize the horrible mistake he had committed. With shame in his eyes and guilt in his heart, he went inside a dark room and never saw the light of day again in his life.
This may be a fairy tale associated with the sea fort of Murud Janjira but the reality is, this fort named after the Arabic word for island i.e. Jazeera is an unconquered fort. Many kings including the father of Indian Navy – Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj tried to capture this sea fort but couldn’t.
You may dedicate invincibility of Murud Janjira Fort to the Amrut Muhurat, the day on which the foundation of this fort was laid or to the excellent defenses put forward by the Siddhi forces.
Choice is yours…