Located on the Konkan coast, between Mumbai and Goa, Sindhudurg Fort is a mighty fort as it stands in the middle of the sea that can be approached only via the water route. Shivaji built many forts in and around Maharashtra, but this one probably is the most unique and no wonder the only place that has a temple dedicated to him. Literally translated it means the fort in the ocean, appropriately named. There are many points of views from which you can look at Sindhudurg Fort.
Sindhudurg Fort Tour
To begin with, it is an engineering marvel. Built in mid 17th CE, on an islet in the Arabian Sea, it took only three years to construct it. Its foundation has been set in molten lead and the ramparts have 75000 kgs of iron in them. Just imagine the strength of Sindhudurg Fort. No wonder it still stands strong after so many centuries, despite not having much maintenance effort. The design is such that it is difficult to make out the entrance from the outside. Even if you figure it out after going around the fort, the way into the fort is not straight for the first time visitor.
Sweet Water to sustain
Being an island the biggest issue would have been sweet water for sustaining life inside the fort. There are three sweet water wells inside the fort. I got two contradicting theories about the sweet water – first is simply that they are naturally sweet water wells. And the other seems more logical that Shivaji had the rainwater harvesting system in place. The water from the monsoon was good enough to sustain life inside for a whole year. I could not verify which one is true. But to my logical mind, the second sounds more likely as the bed around the islet is quite rocky and having a natural well sounds unlikely.
Then, there are things to see inside Sindhudurg Fort. There are a few temples, but the biggest one is dedicated to the Maratha warrior and the most revered figure in Maharashtra Shivaji himself. Beautiful trees surround this simple but serene temple.
You can go in any direction from the main entrance and climb the thick walls with bastions that define the fort. The condition of the walls is not great, the steps are uneven and there are no safety features installed. No medical facilities seem to be available, so you need to be very careful while climbing. If you climb, you will see the view of the coastline with coconut trees forming the skyline. Colorful boats providing the vibrancy with their colors against the different blues of the ocean and the sky. Tarkarli beach is also visible from one side of the fort. There are Shivaji’s fingerprints and footprints that are preserved by building a small structure around them. You have to stress your eyes a bit to look at them through the iron rods. Small shops inside sell cold drinks, Sharbats, and snacks.
Myths & Legends of the fort
There are myths and legends associated with the fort. It is a living fort, even today and few families still live inside it and take care of the temple and other things. Rough roads lead you in various directions. It is said there is an underground tunnel through the ocean that leads to one of the villages on the coast that were closed during the British period. Now we know that most forts have an escape route built in. But to build a secret tunnel to Sindhudurg Fort is tricky because it can be discovered very easily by the enemy and blocked. Today no one is able to point where that tunnel is. There is a coconut tree with a branch that also produces coconut; this is an exception, as the coconut tree does not grow branches. My logical mind says this must be a hybrid tree.
Boat ride to the fort
The boat ride is enjoyable. Halfway on the way, you have rich green beaches on one side and a majestic Sindhudurg Fort on the other. With many rocky outgrowths peeping out of the water and colorful boats plying back and forth. Standing on the walls of Sindhudurg fort is like being at the edge of the earth with water all around you, while you stand in a firm place.
If you are in this region, Sindhudurg Fort is a must visit Tourist Places in Maharashtra.
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