Sindhudurg Fort built by the great Maratha warrior Shivaji In 1664- 67 is situated on an islet in the Arabian Sea located off the coast of Maharashtra. The fort, seated atop a hill is an architectural masterpiece and is made almost completely of stone. It was devised strategically by Shivaji himself and had long been the stronghold of the Marathas. The fort was built in such a way that if an enemy approached the fort it would be visible to the troops of Shivaji and they could immediately launch fire from their guns and cannons and thus thwarting their enemy’s advance. The fort also has a hidden passage which starts from a temple which seems to be a water reservoir and stretches unground up to 3 km. The tunnel is meant to serve as an escape route for the women in the wake of an invasion. The British ceased the hidden passage after the fort was abandoned. Read on to know more about the Sindhudurg Fort.
Sindhudurg Fort Sindhudurg District
Location: Sindhudurg District, Konkan region, south of Maharashtra
Built In: 1664
Built By: Chhatrapati Shivaji
Sindhudurg Fort Maharashtra
History Of Sindhudurg Fort
During the period between1664-67 AD Sindhudurg Fort was erected by the great Maratha warrior leader Shivaji when he failed to capture the island fort of Janjira. The whole of the construction work was carried under Hiroji Indulkar, a brilliant architect. Around 100 Portuguese experts were brought from Goa to offer their expertise to the construction of the fort. According to historical accounts around 3000 dedicated workers worked night and day to build this great fort. It is also said that shivaji himself was an active worker in the construction project. Shivaji found the location and constructed the fort strategically to subdue the Sindhis of Murud-Janjira, while keeping in mind all the possible threats which he might have to face from the sea. After Shivaji’s demise, Sindhudurg came under the possessions of Rajaram-Tarabai, Peshwa and the Bhosales of Kolhapur. In 1765 AD the British controlled the fort for a brief span and renamed it as ‘Fort Augustus’. Later, in 1818 AD, the British forces took down the defense structures of the fort.
Architecture/ Layout Of Sindhudurg Fort
Once the stronghold of the Marathas, the Sindhudurg spans across an area of 458 acres and encompasses a four km long stretch of zigzag walls. Its walls are around 9 meter high and 3 meter thick. The fort contains 52 bastions. The foundation stones of the fort were laid in the base of molten lead. The fort can be approached from Malavan pier by a boat through a channel that lies between two small islands by the name of Dhontara and Padmagad. On the parapet, near the entrance gate, Shivaji’s palm and footprint in dry lime are preserved and the fort also accommodates a Shivaji temple which. Apart from this, there are some more temples, tanks as well as three wells inside the fort.
During the reign of Shivaji, the soldiers who served him were called Mavlas. The families who still reside inside the fort today are also known as Mavlas, as they are said to be the descendants of the soldiers who served Shivaji. The occupation of the inhabitants of the fort is mainly farming and fishing. Tourism also provides a great source of income for the local residents. Of the 15 families who still reside inside the fort, the two Muslim families have traditionally been playing the drum (nagara) during the evening prayers. Shivaji’s reign was marked for religious harmony and allowed none to sound the drum and the tradition has survived through centuries. The fort is now under the Archaeological Department of India. The residents own only the liberty to change and renovate the interiors, but are prohibited from mending the exteriors. They are also not allowed to sell their houses. Being deprived of hospitals, shops, and other facilities, the survival at the fort is quite arduous and water is the only mode of transportation.
Best Time to Visit
Though, this hill station and the fort attract most number of tourists during the period from October to April, but the fort can be visited all throughout the year. It remains open from 8 am to 6 pm daily.
How To Reach
- By Air: The nearest airport is Dabolim which is 132 km away. The airport of Mumbai is also nearby which has direct flights to many major cities across India.
- By Train: The closest railway station is Sindhudurg railway station which is around 14.8 Km from the place.
- By Road: The place is connected to cities like Mumbai and Kohlapur through the highways. State transport system offers bus services from Mumbai, Pune and Kolhapur.
Other Tourist Spots In & Around Sindhudurg Fort
The most prominent tourist attractions in the region apart from Sindhudurg Fort are Tarkarli Beach and Mochemad Beachnand Moti Talao. The tourist can also visit places like Karli Backwaters, Dhamapur Lake, Kolamb Beach and Sri Sai Baba Temple.
Declared a protected area in 1910, the fort of Sindhudurg has been one of the manifestations of Shivaji’s tactical brilliance. Go through the above lines and learn all about the magnificent Maratha fort.