Fort of Razin (Berar)
Artist: MacKenzie, Colin (1754-1821)
Water-colour painting of the fort of Razin (Raisen) by Colin MacKenzie (1754-1821) in 1809. Inscribed on the front in ink is: 'Sketch of Razeen in Berar 1809.'
Raisen Fort is located in Madhya Pradesh, Central India, at the northern end of the Vindhya Hills with the town lying below it. Little is known of the foundation of the fort however the name appears to be a corruption of Rajavasini or the ‘royal residence’. The wall is constructed of massive sandstone blocks and is pierced by nine gates. Inside are numerous ruins and a few buildings including three Hindu palaces and a mosque. In the 16th century Raisen was the stronghold of Silhari a Gahlot Rajput. After his death it was held by Puran Mal, a guardian to Pratap Singh, the infant grandson of Silhari. In 1543 Puran Mal incurred the enmity of Sher Shah and the fort was attacked. After a prolonged and strenuous resistance Puran Mal surrendered on a promise of honourable treatment but was promptly murdered and his family sent into slavery. Raisen then became part of Shujaat Khan’s territory and subsequently under Akbar was the chief town of a governor in the province of Malwa.