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Mud Forts or Shivaji Killa Made During Diwali by Children in Maharashtra

Mud Forts, or Shivaji Killa, is made during Diwali in Maharashtra. The small miniature mud forts made by children remembers the heroic deeds of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. These mud forts are made mainly by Marathi speaking people.

Why Shivaji Killas Are Made During Diwali?

Historian Ninad Bedekar reiterates, "The tradition of making mud forts can be traced back to 300 years. Aurangzeb, who had put an end to the Adil Shahi and Kutub Shahi dynasties in Maharashtra, could never conquer the Marathi kingdom. It was all because of Shivaji's 260 fortresses, the defence lines of which were set from Salher to Gingee in Tamil Nadu. This could be one of the reasons why children build mud forts during Diwali. It is an act of pure reverence."

Where to Shop for Shivaji Killa Prop?

Kumbharwada in Pune, the hub that produces these clay products, is the place to be if you are looking for Shivaji Killa props. Here, you would see about 60 to 70 shops dealing in what would be a child's fantasy: miniature forts sparkling with colorful glitter, toy elephants, horses, lions, birds, soldiers, vegetable vendors, gods, goddesses, wrestlers, musicians and Shivaji himself – enough to make one's own personal kingdom.

How to Children Make the Mud Fort?

Usually, the mud forts are made during the Diwali week. Children dig up earth and make a miniature fort using clay. The structure of the miniature fort is based on any one of the famous forts of Shivaji Maharaj.

These miniature mud forts are then decorated with flags and toy horses, elephants, soldiers etc. Small idols of Shivaji Maharaj are also placed on the mud forts.

These miniature mud forts remind people of the valiant struggle and heroic deeds of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and his soldiers.

Some of the old forts of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in Pune and Sahyadri regions are famous for its unique architecture and impregnable design.

Today, ready-made mud forts are also available in the market.

Shivaji Killa Competition

The ever-popular fort making competition organized at Shambhaji Park by the Pune Municipal Corporation's Garden Department attracts hundreds of enthusiasts. Ashok Ghorpade, garden superintendent said, "This competition is being organised for more than a decade now, from the tenure of former mayor Shantilal Suratwala, who had originally started it. The purpose is to acquaint children with our rich heritage. The competition, therefore, obligates them to research important information on the fort they are planning to replicate as a miniature."