durga vidhAnam – Establishment of Forts

Having dealt with the administrative division of land in past two posts (1) & (2), now we will have a brief look at making durga i.e., fort(s). durga means a place that is difficult to reach (by the enemies!)

In all the four directions of the territory, a naturally “difficult to reach” place need to be suitably converted to establish a fort. It is either surrounded by water (auduka durgam),or on a hill (parvata durgam) , or surrounded by arid region (dhAnvana-durgam), or surrounded by a thick forest (vana durgam) then it is a fort constructed by God.

Primary use of forts is to stock militery equipment and house various types of forces.

Form smaller groups of four types of forces (elephants, chariots, horses and soldiers) each lead by individual leaders. An army with multiple leaders with proper heirarchy is the strength of a King.

A detailed account of constructing and developing forts is covered in the 3rd and 4th chapters of book 2 of artha SAstra.

In the central location of the sthanIyam , an administrative head office (also called sthAnIyam) should be built. This is a man made fort used as a multi-purpose official building which should be well connected by land and water ways.

The capital city should have three highways north-south and three east-west directions. Each entry should have two gates each making up a total of 12 gates protecting the capital. These high ways should connect to the roads leading to the sthanIyas. There should be different set of roads connecting the ports where a lot of trade happens. There should also be a good plan of temporary transport paths in the event of war or natural calamities.

In the capital city, a ‘rAja prAsAda’ i.e, ‘palace of the King’ should be constructed. North-east of the palace should be given to the purOhita and AcAryas. The yajna-Sala (hall where the religious sacrifice is conducted) and source of water should also be in the north-east. In south-east the kitchen, godown and the space for elephants should be kept.

Outside, to the east of the palace, the kshatriyas houses should be there. There should be temples of aparAjita (Goddess durga), apratihata (Lord Vishnu), jayanta (kumara-swami) and indra (king of gods). The northern gate of capital is protected by lord Brahma, east one is protected by Indra, south is governed by lord Yama (the lord of death) and the west is protected by kumara-swami.

cANakya gives a specific arrangement of different things in and outside of the palace as per the vAstu sAstra in these two chapters called durga vidhAna and durga nivESa. This post summarises few points from those two chapters.

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