Monday, 11 February 2013

Sindhudurg Fort | सिंधुदुर्ग किल्ला

About :

Sindhudurg fort stands on a rocky island, known as Kurte, barely a km, from the Malavan is 510kms south of Mumbai and 130kms north of Goa.  Sindhudurg was built in 1664-67 AD by shivaji when all his attempts to take the island fort of Janjira proved futile.  The construction was done under the supervision of Hiroji Indulkar, an able architect.  Shivaji had invited 100 Portuguese experts from Goa for the construction of the fort.  It is also recorded that 3000 workers were employed round the clock for three years to build Sindhudurg.  It was the body from the Sack of Surat that went into the building of Sindhudurg.
One of the best preserved forts of the Marathas, the 48 acre Sindhudurg fort has a four kms long zigzag line of 9 metres high and 3 metres wide rampart with 42 bastions.  Apart from the huge stones, the building material involved 2000 khandis (72,576kgs)of iron erecting the massive curtain wall and bastions. A notable feature is that the foundation stones were laid down firmly in molten lead.
The fort is approachable from the Malavan pier by a boat through a narrow navigable channel between two smaller islands of Dhontara and Padmagad.  The main gate, flanked by massive bastions, faces the city.  On the parapet, close to the entrance, under two small domes Shivaji’s palm and footprint in dry lime are preserved.  Also, in thefort there is the Shivaji temple - the only one of its kind in the country – where the image of Shivaji is without a beard! Inside the fort there are some temples, tanks and three wells.  It also houses some twenty Hindu-Muslim hereditary families.  On a rocky island between Sindhudurg and the coast stood the small for of Padmagad, now in ruins. It acted as a screen for Sindhudurg and was also used for ship-building.
After Shivaji, Sindhudurg passed through the hands of Rajaram-Tarabai, Angres, Peshwa and the Bhosales of Kolhapur.  It was briefly captured by the British in 1765 Ad And was renamed by them as ‘Fort Augustus’.  Later in 1818 AD, the British dismantled the fort’s defence structures.
Picture: Sindhudurg from the eastern side; the main gate is hidden behind the two bastions (above).  Outside the southern wall there is a small beach, called Ramichi Vela in Marathi, where Tarabai used to enjoy her sea-bath (below).

One of the enduring symbols of Maharashtra's rich historical past is the Sindhudurg Fort. The fort derives its name from the combination of two words, Sindhu meaning sea and Durg meaning fort. Sindhudurg is just 510 km from Mumbai on the Goa Highway. One can take a ferry from the Malvan Port to the island fort.

Also known as the Malvan Fort, this citadel is located half a kilometer away from the mainland port of Malvan. Shivaji wanted to build an impregnable island fort at a considerable distance from the supposedly unbreachable Janjira Fort and thus selected the rocky island of Kurute. The location of the fort was strategically chosen by

Shivaji to counter foreign forces coming from the shore, as well as for safeguarding the kingdom from neighbouring rulers. It is also believed that the fort was constructed by Shivaji to keep a check on the activities of Siddis of Murud-Janjira, who wanted to destroy his kingdom.

The 2 km long ramparts of this fort stretch across the undulating periphery of this large and rocky island. The foundations of the fort were strengthened by using molten lead mixed with mortar. More than 70000 kilos of iron were used for casting. The construction of this fort began in 1664 and took 3 years to complete. It is believed that the great warrior king himself lent a hand in building the fort.

Sindhudurg covers an extensive area of 48 acres with almost 2 miles of fortified rampart walls 29 ft high and 12 ft thick, comprising observation towers and 52 enormous semicircular bastions with embrasures for cannons. The top of the ramparts was accessible by stone staircases at various points. Some bastions contain hidden exit ways that lead out of the fort.

The entrance to the fort is by the Dilli Darwaja to the north-east. The main gate is so well camouflaged within the folds of the rampart walls that it is visible only at really close quarters. A shrine to Goddess Jarimari guards the entrance to the fort. On the right, perched atop the main gate, is the fort's most prized relic - the footprint and palm impression of the revered Shivaji Maharaj, set on a slab of dry lime.

Apart from the customary shrines of Bhawani, Mahadeo, Jarimari and Mahapurush, Sindhudurg enjoys the distinction of having the only temple dedicated to Chhatrapati Shivaji, which was built by his son Rajaram. One does also come across some ruins of ancient temples, wells and cisterns  throughout the fort. The Shivaji Jayanti, Ram Navami, Janmashtami, Mahashivratri and Ganesh Chaturthi are some of the prominent festivals celebrated here on a grand scale.

Some of the temples are still in use and are maintained by the 20 odd families that live on this island fort. The Sakpal Naik family, the original killedars, still reside in one of the 16 houses within the fort.


History :

Sindhudurg(Marathi सिंधुदुर्ग) is a fortress which occupies an islet in the Arabian Sea, just off the coast of Maharashtra in western India. The fortress lies on the shore of Malvan town of Sindhudurg District in the Konkan region of Maharashtra, south of Mumbai.

Sindhudurg (Sindhu = sea, Durg = fort) was built by the great Maratha warrior leader Shivaji in 1664. Shivaji selected the strategic rocky island location, 'Kurte' for the fort himself, to counter foreign forces, and to keep the nearby Siddis of Murud-Janjira in check.

Over 4000 mounds of iron were used in the casting and foundation stones were firmly laid down in lead. The construction was started on 25 November 1664. Built over a period of three years, the sea fort is spread over 48 acres (190,000 m2) with a two-mile (3 km) long rampart, and walls that are 30 feet (9.1 m) high and 12 feet (3.7 m) thick. The massive walls were designed to serve as a deterrent to approaching enemies and to the waves and tides of the Arabian Sea. The main entrance is concealed in such a way that no one can pinpoint it from outside.

(1)There are three sweet water reservoirs in the middle of the Arabian Sea where the fort is built, and even if the water in the nearby villages dries in summer, but these wells do not dry; there is always water in them.

(2)There is a coconut tree which has a branch, if you see a coconut tree it will never have a branch but this tree not only has a branch but also gives fruit.

(3)There is a passage which is hidden in a temple which looks like a water reservoir, this passage goes under the fort for 3 kilometers, and 12 kilometers beneath the sea, and from there 12 kilometers in a nearby village which was used as a rescue door if the enemy entered the fort; this way was for the women to move out.

(4)The entrance gate cannot be seen from anywhere, and unless you are not a regular visitor, and if you are not and you are trying to enter thru a boat which is the only possible option apart from air, you would bang at the rocks around the fort which can't be seen to a naked eye, hence you have to be very familiar with the fort to enter.

 How to reach Sindhudurg :

Sindhudurg town lies in the Sindudurg district to the north of Goa, about 490 km south of Mumbai (Bombay). Sindhudurg can be reached either by train or by bus from Bombay, Goa and Mangalore. The Konkan railway has a railway station at Sindhudurg, but only few trains stop there. Kudal, Kanakvali and Sawantwadi are major railway stations in Sindhudurg district. There are Maharashtra state government (MSRTC) buses running from Mumbai, Pune, Ratnagiri, Sangli, Kolhapur and Goa state government buses (Kadamba Transport Corporation) running from Panaji, Madgaon, Vasco and Pernem to Sindhudurg. Nearest airport is Dabholim (Goa) airport, which is located at approx. 90 Km away from Sawantwadi City (major tourist attraction) of Sindhudurg.