India is a country of glorious forts. They are located all round the country and tell the story of life and times of Kings and monarchs in the last few centuries.
The reason for building Forts were:
- Establishing an empire
- Sustaining this empire
- Blocking enemy attacks
- Collecting tax – as most forts were near important travelling routes
- Future security
Chatrapati Shivaji built 111 of them in just 35 years in Maharashtra! These forts have now come under the Western Ghats World Heritage site, and so no factories or industries will damage this area.
If you are a history-lover, why not visit one of the most amazing forts on the Konkan coast, the Sindhudurg Fort. Built by the great Maratha ruler this fort lies on the shores of the Arabian Sea, some 350kms from Mumbai.
When on this historical tour, you can also relax at the Tarkali beach and learn some new skills like Scuba diving at IISDA. There are places nearby for kids as well.
History of Sindhudurg fort
During the 1600 the British and the Portuguese merchant tried annexing territories through intimidation techniques along the Maharashtra coastal line. Shivaji chanced upon this island Kurte and decided to build fort to fortify these areas. Construction began in the year 1664.
This fort witnessed many battles and remained with the Marathas for many years. The British captured it in 1765. At present the fort is under the care of the Archaeological survey department of India.
Architecture of Sindhudurg Fort
One cannot but be overawed by the huge ramparts of Sindhudurg Fort. Did you know that more than 500 khandis(4000 pounds) of lead came from British Godam of Rajapur and sprayed at the base for strong foundation. The fort measures covers 48 acres of land and is 3 kms long. The walls here are 30 feet in height and 12 feet thick. Quite majestic and it provided security to its residents for many-many years.
More features of the Fort:
Discover the concealed main entrance, made of hardwood called Oomber. It is not easily visible from the outside. The thick and high walls were built in such a way that both the sea and the invaders were not able to breach them.
The fort consists of 52 bastions. The defense wall of the fort is in a zigzag pattern. There are two watch towers at a distance of half mile to each other. There are four water wells to quench the thirst of the occupiers, about 150 houses inside the fort.
The flooring was designed in such a way that water drained into the sea without flooding the fort during the rainy season. Even today you can find Shivaji’s right hand and left foot impressions in one of the ramparts.
There are many more archaeological features in this site and taking a guide along can help you explore all the interesting facets of this fort.
Places to Visit in Sindhudurg District
A visit to this fort also gives you an opportunity to visit other amazing places nearby. Here are some Sindhudurg tourism attractions.
It is just 0.5 kms from the fort. The sea here is calm except for the cacophony of tourists who are attracted to this island in hordes. You can take up adventure and sports activities here such jet-ski, speed boat, kayak rider, water scooter, and bumper boat.
According to locals the sand here has magnetic properties and is a cure for joint problems Food stalls with local snacks and food like chutney Pola is worth trying.
Tarkarli beach is just 10 kms away from fort. This Coral beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on the Konkan coast. White sands, swaying Suru trees and an amazing sunset views, some things that may be a part of the best beach experience ever! There is more – Malvan food, Dolphin and turtles sightings
Indian Institute of Scuba Diving and Aquatic sports scuba diving|(IISDA)
This institute is located on the Tarkali beach itself. It is the first such institute/resort in India dedicated to Scuba diving and other aquatic sport. Among its amenities you will find a 25ft scuba diving pool, classrooms, a seaside restaurant, deluxe suites and twin sharing AC rooms and a Conference hall. The Conference room has facilities for multimedia presentation as well.
Learn how to scuba drive here as both basic and advance training is provided in the institute After training you will also be taken by a coach to the open sea for some real-life experience.
Malvan Marine Wildlife Sanctuary
Have a look at the rich diversity of Flora and Fauna on the Konkan coast at this sanctuary. It is spread over 3.18 sq kms. Sindhudurg Fort is part of this sanctuary that also includes, Padamged island and some nearby rocky areas. What to see there:
- 30 species of fish displayed here including some commercial ones like Rohita, Labeo Rohita, Tor Putitora(Mahasir), Labeo Calbasu, Singhada, Labeo
- Marine life includes sea anemones, polychaetes, seaweed, mangroves, pearl oysters and coral.
- Trees and plant varieties such as Tea, Mango, Dhawada, Ain, Khalam, Kadamba, Neem, Jamun and Palas, Shisam, Mohan and Hedu
Raghunath market is about 1 ½ kms from the fort. It is more than 150 years old. Check out the Arts handicrafts shops, Bronze ware, Kolhapuri chappal, jewllery and khadi clothes in this market. Also try to Konkani food such as konkam sharbat, Awala Juice, Agul, Malvani Khaja and Sukha Bangda here
Note, roads inside the market are narrow and are best covered by foot.
Devbagh Beach, Talashil Tondavali Beach, Nivati Beach
Some other popular beaches nearby are:
- Devbagh beach is clean and affordable than most other beaches. Take an early morning boat trip to this place if you want to see the dolphins.
- At Talashil beach, the sea looks clean and milky white. One of the remotest beaches, your search for some peace and tranquility can be availed here. Of course public facilities are not good, so taking children could be a bad idea.
- Nivati beach is another clean and tranquil beach a must-visit if you are visiting the Sindhudurg Fort. The water here is ideal for swimming.
One can take a boat ride on the Karli Backwaters just 2.2kms from the fort. The Karali River meets the Arabian Sea here and the water is very swift. You can also look out of dolphins during your boat ride here. Take a look at the beautiful forests on both sides of these backwaters.
The rock garden is on the rocky side of Malvan. A best place for kids! Surprisingly, there is no sand here. A well maintained garden and slides for kids. Kids can also enjoy a toy train ride here.
How to reach fort from Pune and Mumbai
By Rail: First you have to take a taxi from Pune to Mangoan. From Mangoan you can take the Mandovi express to Sindhudurg.
By Road: distance 361kms. There are not direct buses on this route. One has to come to Kankvali from Pune and then take a taxi to Sindhudurg Fort from there.
By Air: Distance: 338 kms. There is a Goair flight from Mumbai to Goa and from there you can take a taxi to Sindhudurg. The Mumbai flight reaches Goa in just under 5 hours.
By Rail: distance: 541 kms. 23 trains ply in this route and you can reach from Mumbai to this fort in 7 hours.
By Road: 504 kms. There are no proper buses plying on this route. It is best to take a private taxi from Mumbai to Kankavali and take another taxi to Sindhudurg from Kankavali
Nearby hotels to stay
Here are a few hotels that you can stay for Sindhudurg tourism.
Sand N Shine Beach restaurant – 7.8 kms from the famous fort
Amenities: Breakfast available, free parking, free Wi-Fi, non smoking rooms, air conditioning, beach front for viewing
Tarkali Holiday Homes – 3.8 km from the fort
Amenities: free parking, air conditioning, non smoking rooms, room service
Hotel Sagar Kinara Malvan – 1.4km from fort
Amenities: Free internet, free parking, airport transportation, air conditioning, room service
Hotel Chivala Beach – 2.0 kms from fort
Amenities: Airport transportation, Public Wi-Fi, free parking, breakfast, air conditioning, room service
Hotel W Goa 57 kms from the fort
Features: Overlooking beach, breakfast, pool, free Wi-Fi, breakfast included air conditioning 5 star accommodation.
Hotel Riva Resort 50 kms from fort
Facilities: 3 star, pool, air-conditioning free Wi-Fi, breakfast
Ending line (Conclusion)
A trip to Sindhudurg Fort is a complete holiday! Historical trip, relaxation at the beach, shopping, nature gazing and food trail all rolled into one. Set-off today, as there are more adventures awaiting you at this magnificent fortification of the Maratha Empire. Please leave your comments and add if anything is missing.