Shivaji's surprise visit to a fort to check observance of his regulations

We find detailed rules and regulations laid down by Shivaji to ensure the security of his forts, precautions against enemy's surprise attack, or betrayal by any of the garrison officers, and about keeping the forts well stocked with supplies. One of the rules was that the gates of the fort must be closed at the dusk time by the Havaldar and were not to be opened till the day break. If a Maratha commander with his troops were to seek entry into the fort at odd hours, he was to be refused, though, if enemy was pursing him, the garrison was expected to give him help by sending men to his assistance.

Shivaji always tested whether his rules were being implicitly followed or not. The account is about a widely believed incident. Shivaji came to a fort after dusk galloping fast with a small retinue and ordered the Havaldar to open the gates since the enemy was in his hot pursuit but the latter politely but firmly declined. Shivaji tried to prove his identity, showed the royal signet etc., but the officer expressed his regret and cited his master's strict orders in this regard. Shivaji threatened the Havaldar of most severe punishment but he stuck to his position though he offered to send his men from the fort to drive away the enemy. Shivaji then went away but later rewarded the Havaldar for faithfully observing the rules laid down by him.

In the next sketch, Shivaji with some mounted troops, their horses tired and perspiring, is ordering the Havaldar to open the fort gate. Some troops of the garrison are on the parapet looking down on the strange scene. The Havaldar is standing with folded hands but firmly declining to open the gates as it would amount to breaking the rules laid down by Shivaji himself. Some other men of the garrison are shown ready to come down with the help of rope ladders to Shivaji's aid.