Diwali forts

In Maharashtra, Diwali is accompanied with a unique tradition—Diwali forts—small, clay forts which the kids make outside their house in the front yard or in their building compound. These little forts sometimes replicate the original Maratha forts found in the state. At times, the kids design their own fort.

Forts replica
Rajgad fort replica, Belgaum.

The forts aren’t just the outside structure, but every gate, room, and wall is designed in great detail. Most of the forts are built on hills (yup, the kids make the hills too) like real forts, and those which aren’t, have moats around them for defence. High walls, barricades are sometimes built for extra protection, as also strategically placed cannon and soldiers. They are well equipped with abundant water supply (wells, or even underwater springs), and food supply to provide for residents of the fort. You see, fort building isn’t an activity to be taken lightly 😛

This activity combines fun, creativity, and a lesson in history. It also inspires a sense of team spirit among the builders. Though you can still find Diwali forts ( and a few fort-building competitions), fort building has faced a decline in recent years due to rise of Internet, and virtual entertainment.

Normally, I’m not much of a supporter of traditions, but some traditions should continue. We might spend half of our lives on the Internet, ( or maybe in the future, full) but festivities need a human touch, and so does the society.

(The accompanied picture isn’t of a Diwali fort, but a small replica of Rajgad fort in a Belgaum park. Since, I haven’t any picture of Diwali forts we made as a child, I added this pic to the post 😀 )



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