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)
Sindhudurg (Marathiसिंधुदुर्ग) 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. It is a protected monument. Contents [hide] 1 History 2 Structural details 3 Permanent residents 4 How to reach Sindhudurg 5 Image gallery
6 About the families staying in the fort 7 Attractions at the fort
8 See also 9 References
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The Watch Tower facing the sea
Over 4000 mounds of iron were used in the casting and foundation stones were firmly laid down. Construction started on 25 November 1664. Built over a period of three years (1664–67), 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.
At a time when Samudra Gaman (travelling by sea) was banned by scriptures, this construction on an island represents the revolutionary mindset of its engineer
The number of permanent residents staying in the fort has been in decline since the fort's abandonment. Most of the residents moved out because of inadequate employment opportunities, but over 15 families remain in the fort. The Sakpal Naik family (the original 'killedars') still resides in one of the 16 houses in the fort. However, Dr Sarang Kulkarni's underwater discoveries have led to the establishment of the Indian sub-continent's only well-established scuba-diving industry. This has provided the local residents with some
employment. Sindhudurg fort is a popular summer destination for Indian and foreign tourists to explore the island and go scuba-diving and snorkelling to view the coral reef on the outskirts of the island.
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 fromMumbai, Pune, Ratnagiri, Sangli, Kolhapur and Goa state government buses (Kadamba Transport Corporation) running from Panaji, Madgaon, Vascoand 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.
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The name of this fort is given to Sindhudurg district.
Tourists from all over the world visit this great sea fort.
Sindhudurg was built with the help of huge rocks on the
‘Kurte' island, which amazes people, and one appreciates
the vision and foresight of Shivaji.
History: In 1664-67 AD, Shivaji erected this fort on 48 acres of island. Shivaji Maharaj personally selected this site, a rocky island, Kurte. It took 500 stone splitters and stonebreakers, 200 black smiths, 3000 laborers and 100’s of skilled artists who toiled very hard to complete this fort in three years. A notable feature is that the foundation stones were laid down firmly in molten lead. This is evident from the stone inscriptions. One of the best preserved forts of the Marathas, the 48 acre Sindhudurg fort has a four kms long zigzag line of 9 meters high and 3 meters wide rampart with 42
Initially, 3 kms. long outer wall (Tat) was built. Average
height of wall is 10 meters and breadth is 2 to 4 meters.
The design of main door is an enigma. It has been a
hallmark of Maratha Architecture of fort building. It
defies detection of its location to the attacker. The
technique was so deceptive for the enemy that they could
not even realize where the entrance was due to blind
curves. Zigzag pattern of outer wall was so built that the enemy would be visible from
any point inside the fort and the troops inside could fire their guns and cannons
effectively and humble the enemy. Cores of hones (
coins) form Surat bounty, were
spent to built this wonderful fort.
How to get inside the fort:
The fort is approachable from the Malvan pier by a boat through a narrow navigable channel between two smaller islands of Dhontara and Padmagad. There is even a guide to take you around inside. Fort is completely cut off during the monsoons.
What to see:
Shivaji’s palm and footprints are preserved here on dried lime slabs in a tower. Inside the Fort, temples of Bhavanimata, Shambhu Mahadev, Jirimiri, Mahapurush and Shivajeshwar are worth seeing, all of which are in good condition.
Chatrapati Shivaji’s younger son Rajaram in his remembrance built this temple. Shivaji’s idol stands in a boatman’s attire inside the temple and probably only one of its’ kind in the country – where the image of Shivaji is without a beard. Outside the southern wall there is a small beach, called Ranichi Vela (Queen’s private beach), where Queen Tarabai, daughter-in law of Shivaji, used to enjoy her sea-bath. The fort also houses some twenty Hindu-Muslim families, who have been living there for generations. Side the fort there are three wells of drinkable water, which is a nature’s marvel as sea surrounds the fort on all four sides. On a rocky island between Sindhudurg and the coast stood the small fort of Padmagad, now in ruins. It acted as a shield for Sindhudurg and was also used for shipbuilding.
To be seen in Malvan is the auction of day’s fish catch in the evening between 5 p.m.
when all the trawlers return after day’s fishing in the deep sea. The catch is then sold to
the highest bidder.
Sindhudurg Fort Photo Gallery
Map: Sindhudurg Fort Map
By air: Nearest airports are Goa, Mumbai.
By rail: Nearest railhead is Kudal, 45 k.m. on Konkan Railway.
By road: Mumbai–Malvan, 546 k.m.
Kolhapur–Malvan, 160 k.m.
State transport and private buses ply from Mumbai, Pune and Kolhapur.
Places to see nearby:
Dhamapur LakeBharadi Devi Angnewadi Bhagwati Temple
Jay Ganesh Temple
Bhalachandra Maharaj Ashram Kunkeshwar Temple and Beach Bhogve Beach
Shiroda Velagar Beach
Amboli Hill Station
Sindhudurg Fort was Chatarpati Shivaji’s answer to the growing threat from the marine forces (Navy) of Portuguese and Siddis. It is said that the selection of the
place and the Fort layout was done by Shivaji himself and he personally supervised the three years of its construction phase which was completed in 1667. From the outside view, it looks like a simple Fort, but once inside, one realises that it is almost like a mini township spread over 50 acres of land.
The east facing main gate of the Fort is not visible as it is hidden between two bastions. It is only after getting down from the boat and walking towards the wall that one can see the gate. Inside the fort, there are water supply wells, residence quarters, godowns for storing grains, provisions and some temples. The 40 odd circular bastions constructed over the 10-15 feet wide outer wall were the watch towers which also served a repository of guns and cannons. Most of the bastions and other places are in ruins now. At some places, outer wall has crumbled. The only places which are still intact are a dozen or so residential houses, sweet (fresh) water wells and temples. The thick vegetation inside the Fort is stated to be partly
responsible for decaying walls and other remaining structures. We could not see the famous two branch coconut tree as it was damaged in a lightning strike few years back. Refreshments and cold drinks/mineral water are available at 2-3 places inside the Fort. It is advisable to use head caps as even in December, the day time was very warm.
After finishing our one hour of ramblings inside the Fort, I felt great about Chatrapati Shivaji who had farsightedness in constructing such Forts at various part of
Maharashtra. Shivaji’s professional approach is evident in one of his letters to the Construction Engineer in charge of constructing Sindhudurg Fort. The instructions and guidelines were very clear - from the'how' and 'why' of specifications of
foundation and outer walls, to checking the raw materials and how to negotiate for the materials with Englishman traders who, in his view, were very smart. Finally, his dictate was that the labourers must be paid their wages daily without fail.