Even as the state was getting ready to hold Shivaji Jayanti on Monday, there was a buzz in the coastal town of Karwar, which was under Chhatrapati Shivaji, the Maratha king’s direct rule and provides glimpses of his time and glory.
Though he had visited Karwar and Sadashivgad only twice, in 1665 and 1673, his regents had ruled Karwar for more than 16 years. Shivaji had also raided Karwar and looted it to ruffle the feathers of its bad rulers.
He strengthened the Sadashivgad fort and renovated the Durga temple there, say historians Suryanath Kamath and James Campbell in articles that appeared in Uttara Karnataka Gazetteer. Karwar is the only place on the Karnataka coast that gives glimpses of his time.
Some of the relics from his time have passed on to the modern collectors. One of them is a 300-year-old sports shield carved in hard wood and embedded with silver carvings—having Shivaji’s image in the centre and medallions all around.
“The shield might have been from Shivaji’s time and is now in the custody of the grama chavadi (village council) of Sadashivgad,” Manjunath Sullolli, a local knowledge bank, told DNA. The shield has the name of a British citizen, N D’Souza, on it. There are no other details on the shield.
“The shield might have been instituted by a regent of Shivaji for sports events and since the culture of awarding shields was distinctly European, the name of N D’Souza fits the explanation,” Shashikanth Rane, a senior citizen in Karwar who researched about the shield, told DNA.
Rane, who has been researching about Shivaji’s influence, has found Maratha structures in Chittakula, Mudageri, Angadi, Mazali and Kaduwad around the modern Karwar town. He says the basement of Sadashivgad fort had the armoury of Shivaji, but a flood in 1961 swept it away.