Vijaydurg constructed by Raja Bhoja II of the Shilahar Dynasty during the period 1193-1205, is the oldest fort on the Sindhudurg coast. Initially the fort was known as “Gheria”, perhaps because it lies close to the village of ‘Girye’. Since its construction, the fort has been under the possession of several rulers until being finally pronounced as the property of the government of India. The fort reached its prime in 1653 when it was captured by the great Maratha warrior leader Shivaji from Adil Shah of Bijapur. Shivaji renamed it as “Vijay Durg” after the name of Hindu solar year “Vijay” which meant victory. According to a legend, this fort is one of the two Maratha forts where Shivaji himself hoisted the saffron flag, the other fort being “Torana”. In the 17th century, when Shivaji Maharaj gained its possession he fortified the Vijayadurg further by constructing a triple-line of huge walls, numerous towers and bastions. Read on to learn more about this great fort.
Vijayadurg Fort Sindhudurg Coast
Location: Sindhudurg coast, Maharashtra
Built In: 1205
Built By: Raja Bhoj II
Vijayadurg Fort Maharashtra India
History Of Vijayadurg Fort
Vijaydurg was built during the period, 1193-1205 under the reign of Raja Bhoja II of Shilahar dynasty. Previously known as Gheria, and encircled by water from three sides, Vijayadurg is the oldest fort on the Sindhudurg coast. First the Bijapur rulers enlarged it and then when in 1653 Shivaji snatched it from the Adilshaha of Bijapur, he fortified and enlarged it further. During the command of Kanhoji Angre, who was the naval chief of the Marathas, the fort was so strong that it remained impregnable even for the sophisticated European maritime. However, the fort later succumbed when the English and the Peshwas launched a joint operation in 1756 AD. Till 1818, it remained under the command of the Peshwas before being handed over to the English forces. Since, the time the fort was built, its possession passed from one ruler to the other. In the 13th century it was owned by the Shilhar Bhojraja, then in 1218 by Yadavs, in 1354 by King of Vijay Nagar, in 1565 by the Mughals, in 1653 by Shivaji Maharaj, in 1698 by Kanhoji Angre, 1757 by the Peshwas, and then in 1818 it went to the British.
Architectural Layout Of Vijayadurg Fort
Initially the fort encompassed an area of 5 acres and was surrounded by the Arabian Sea from three sides. Later, Shivaji further expanded and fortified the fort and made three walls on the eastern side, each of which was around 36 meter high. 20 more bastions were also constructed under his command. The fort encompasses a 200 m long, undersea/underground tunnel that leads from the fort to the Dhulap’s palatial house in the village. The roof of the tunnel is resilient to land-slides and also has sufficient ventilation. The compound wall lies as much as 8-10 meter deep under the sea. Around 300 ft. from the fort lies another architectural wonder as according to recent oceanographic evidences suggest the existence of an undersea wall. The wall constructed with laterite stones is 122 meter long, 3 meter high and has a width of around 7 meter. This wall is barely visible above the sea and most of the ships capsized as they collided against the wall.
- During the 18th century the fort withstood multiple attacks. The Portuguese and the Dutch and the British attempted to capture the fort but failed.
- However, late,r in 1756 a combined effort by Peshwas and the British turned fruitful and the fort was conquered.
The Vijayadurg is now a government property. Inside the fort premises there are some government building including a police station and a government rest house.
Best Time To Visit
Though the fort can be visited any time of the year, most people prefer the period between October and March.
How To Reach
- By Roadway: Vijaydurg is situated around 52 kms from Kasarde off Mumbai –Goa NH 17. It lies 180 km from Panaji and 425 kms from Mumbai.
- Railway: The nearest railway stations are Rajapur and Kudal on Konkan Railways which are connected the rest of the cities in the country.
- Airport: Panaji in Goa is the closest airport and is well connected to all the major cities in India.
Other Tourist Spots In & Around Vijayadurg Fort
The visitors of the Vijayadurg Fort can also enjoy the artistic wall paintings of the palatial house of Dhulap in ‘Vijaydurg’ village. Around 3 km from the fort is the Rameshwar Temple, at Girye and for its magnificent architecture, archways and pathways it is certainly a sight worth visiting. The visitors of the temple can’t help admiring the glorious wall paintings and wooden engravings on the columns.
Discovery of helium
On the 18th of August 1868, on a solar eclipse day, a fellow of Royal Society Norman Lockyer and the French scientist Pierre Janssen took spectrometer reading from the fort and discovered the presence of one of the basic elements of the Sun named “Helium”.
Vijayadurg Fort is in a better condition as compared to all other contemporary structures. The splendor and magnificence of its architecture has made it one of the most popular tourist spots.