Forts are the ideal log books for explaining the rich history of a land. The Sindhudurg Fort in Maharashtra is one such fort that is a popular tourist location as well. This fort is unique with its well thought out location and holds a lot of cultural as well as historical significance. It is definitely a location that you need to visit to understand the rich traditions and history of the Marathas. In this article I will mention all Sindhudurg Fort information that you might need. So keep on reading this article and plan a trip here.
Location of Sindhudurg Fort: Sindhudurg district, Malvan, Maharashtra
Sindhudurg Fort Timings: 9 am to 5 pm
Entry fee of Sindhudurg Fort: No entry fee
How to reach Sindhudurg Fort
Basically the Sindhudurg Fort is located on an island and the Sindhudurg Fort distance from Mumbai is about 490 km. You will have to reach Malvan first to reach this fort. The nearest airport is the Dabolim Airport in Goa and that is about 130 km from Malvan. Kudal is the nearest railway station that is 35 km away from Malvan. Also if you are travelling from any nearby cities then you can also get buses or travel by your own car to reach Malvan.
From Malvan the way to reach the fort is via a ferry ride. The ride is for about 15 minutes and it costs Rs. 70 per person. From 9:30 am to 5:30 pm this ferry service is available on all days. However this is not available during the monsoon months from June to September. At the jetty you will have to buy the ticket first.
Best time to visit Sindhudurg Fort
The ideal time to visit here is during the months from October to March. This is the time when the weather is most pleasant and therefore you can actually enjoy the whole area. Also during this time the sea is also calm so the ferry ride would also be hassle free. The summer months from April to May can also be good for a visit. However the scorching sun can be an issue. But since the location is set amidst water, it would not be too uncomfortable. But you should avoid planning a visit during the monsoon months though. The area is known for receiving heavy rainfall during months of June to September. Also one dampener during the monsoon is also the sea. Due to rainfall and thunderstorm activities the ferry services are suspended a lot of times here. So plan your visit accordingly.
Sindhudurg Fort History
Initially till 1765 the Marathas had control over the Sindhudurg Fort. Chhatrapati Shivaji commissioned the fort and the main purpose behind the creation of this fort was to provide protection against the ever rising influence of French, English and Dutch merchants. Also they wanted to curb the rise of Siddis of Janjira as well. Hirojee Indulkar looked after the whole construction around 1664. Later during 1792 the fort was under British dominance and they named the fort as Port Augustus. The Marathas handed over this fort to the British in accordance with their treaty.
Earlier it was the naval headquarters of the Marathas. The foundation stone of this fort was laid in 1664 November. Portuguese engineers of Goa were involved in the construction of this fort. On a small island, Khurte Island, this construction took place. Shivaji Maharaj chose this particular place for the construction of this fort because of its strategic location. It was located near the mouth of the Malvan creek that worked as a natural defense against any kind of naval attack.
During the period from 1664 to 1667 the construction took place. Within a period of three years the fort was complete. In total 3000 workers, 1000 stone breakers, 200 sculptors and 100 blacksmiths were involved in the construction of this fort. From Portugal and Holland engineers came and supervised the work. Also as a symbol of unity and strength Shivaji Maharaj brought soils from various other forts in Maharashtra and then mixed it with the soil of this fort. At present this fort is a protected monument under the Archeological Survey of India.
This fort has also witnessed its fair share of battles as well. As this fort was mainly a naval base as well as a military headquarter, various activities took place here. In 1673 there was the Battle of Wasagon which was a battle between Shivaji Maharaj and Sambhaji on one side and Vyankoji on the other side. Shivaji Maharaj won this battle against Vyankoji. Also next was the siege of Sindhudurg in 1682. Mughal emperor Aurangzeb wanted to capture this fort. However Rajaram, Shivaji Maharaj’s son defended the fort for eight months and then he escaped through a secret tunnel. Aurangzeb failed and then had to withdraw his attack.
Another important event is the transfer of the Sindhudurg that took place in 1765. According to the Treaty of Purandar the Peshwas handed over this fort to the British. However the British only occupied it for a few years but later in 1783 they handed it back to the Peshwas. The revolt of Sindhudurg is yet another important event where some local soldiers and leaders revolted against the rule of the British. However the British suppressed the revolt and also executed and arrested a lot of rebels.
One of the most important events is also the Freedom Struggle of Sindhudurg of 1942. It was when some freedom fighters participated in the Quit India Movement and hoisted the India flag in this fort. Later the British attacked the fort and a lot of freedom fighters were also arrested.
Architecture of Sindhudurg Fort
The main thing that makes the Sindhudurg Fort so special is the unique and unshakable architecture. A lot of thought went behind the construction of this massive fort. Also one of the unique features of this fort is that indigenous materials form the base of this fort and the architects used them to their best capabilities. Sand from Gujarat is the main element of this construction along with more than 100 kg of lead. The huge fort spreads across an area of 48 acres along with a boulevard that is 3 km long. It has fortified walls that are 29 feet high and 12 feet thick and stretches for 2 miles. There are more than 52 bastions here. And some of these bastions even have secret tunnels that lead to the exit from this fort.
There is uniqueness in the entrance of the fort as well. This fort has an entrance which is impossible to detect from the outside. All of these were however done to confuse the attackers. The Dilli Darwaza is the main entrance of this fort. And that is visible only from a close distance and otherwise looks like a part of the walls. Shivaji was however very content with the whole construction of this fort and how it turned out to be. The fort architect has requested Shivaji Maharaj ji for the hand and foot prints which are there on the slab of the fort.
One of the most special features of Sindhudurg Fort is the Temple of Shivaji Maharaj which is located just at the centre of this fort. It has a statue of Shivaji Maharaj and the people consider this very sacred. Along with that you can also find clothes, weapons and portraits of Shivaji Maharaj here. Also there are a total of three water tanks here located near the temple. Throughout the year these water tanks deliver fresh water as they are interconnected with natural springs. According to beliefs the water of these tanks has healing properties in it. Three of these tanks have names which are based on names of Shivaji Maharaj’s mother Jijamata, wife Saibai and daughter Putalabai.
Places to visit near Sindhudurg Fort
The Tarkarli beach to Sindhudurg Fort distance is about 5.5 km and it would take 28 minutes to reach there. It is a beautiful beach that is popular for its white sandy beach. Also a lot of water sports activities are also popular here. It is a beautiful picturesque beach with crystal clear water. The water here is so clear that you can even see the 15 feet deep sea bed here which is one of the most alluring sights.
This temple is located at a distance of 40 km away from the Sindhudurg Fort. It is an ancient temple from 1100 and the presiding deity is Lord Shiva. The temple is also popular as Konkan Kashi and is situated on the banks of the Arabian Sea
This is a cave located on the east of the Kunkeshwar Temple. You can see some statues of famous warriors here. It is one of the popular sightseeing spots near the fort.
This fort has passed the test of time with flying colours. Till today it is standing tall with its charm and you have no other option but to feel pride in the construction. The main idea behind the fortification was to control external attacks and this fort has done its job too well. Not just that this is an ancient fort that is an integral part of the history of Marathas, the British as well as the Freedom Movement of India. Furthermore the Sindhudurg Fort has witnessed capture and recapturing of powers yet has not lost its charm. Once you visit there you would know how gorgeous the whole construction is.
Moreover the unique architecture and the location is something that makes this fort a must visit spot. So whenever you are visiting Maharashtra make sure you are planning a trip to this location. I am sure it will be an enriching experience for you to visit this splendid fort. So tell me when you are planning a visit here. Also don’t forget to tell me if this article is helpful for you in planning a trip there.