Sketch plan of the Fort and Pettah, Asirgarh (Central Provinces), with the attacks of April 1819
Medium: Pencil and ink on paper
Sketch plan of the Fort and Pettah at Asirgarh completed in pencil, pen-and-ink and wash and water-colour by an anonymous artist, 1819.
The fort is located at the top of a very steep cliff on an isolated outcrop of the Satpura range in Madhya Pradesh. Regarded as one of the oldest forts in India, there is evidence of settlement here from 1600 BC. The historian Ferishta reckoned that the fort was built in 1370 by a herdsman, Asa Ahir whose ancestors had occupied the rock for over 700 years. The Mughal Emperor Akbar took the fort in 1600. Two centuries later it was taken by the British under Wellesley (1803) but subsequently restored to Scindia. Following a twenty day siege it was taken by General Malcolm in 1819. The fortress occupies a strategically important position commanding the only easily accessible route from northern India to the Deccan in the southwest. The northern entrance to the fort was protected by a deep ravine defended by an outer rampart whereas from the south, the fort was approached through five gateways protected by double lines of fortifications which could be blocked in an urgent situation.