Vijaydurg fort is one of the popular sea forts in Maharashtra. It was a stronghold point of Shivaji Maharaj’s Maratha navy. This fort is a must visit spot in Sindhudurg district.
Best Time To Visit: You can visit this fort at any time of the year. October to February is the ideal time to visit this fort because the climate remains pleasant and soothing during these months!
Location Address: 29 km North to Devgad, Ratnagiri district, Maharashtra (India).
Vijaydurg Fort Information:
The impregnable fort of Vijaydurga lies in the Devgad taluka of Sindhudurg district in western Maharashtra. This fort is among India’s strongest marine forts. It is the oldest fort on the coast of Sindhudurg. The fort was very difficult to capture due to the 40 km shallow creek that acted as a natural barrier to ships and protected the fort. Maratha warships used to be anchored in this creek. So that enemy could not see them from the deep sea.
The fort is located near the opening of Vaghotan River which acts as a boundary to Ratnagiri & Sindhudurg districts. This fort was a very vital defense base of Maratha navy. The fort has the Arabian sea on its 3 sides and offers great views of surrounding region. Fort was also called as “Eastern Gibraltar” as its defense was as strong as the Gibraltar fort in Europe. The history of the fort is written on a board at the fort entrance. Vijaydurg fort along with the Sindhudurg fort was the impenetrable pair of forts which was very hard to win.[caption id="attachment_1619" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Insides of the fort![/caption]
- Construction: This fort is a fine example of strong ancient architecture. The fort was constructed by Raja Bhoj of Shilahar Dynasty. The construction of the fort took place between 1193 to 1205.
- Walls: It is a huge fort with three level of walls & has 27 bastions. The area of the fort is about 17 acres; it takes around 3 hours to see all the things. The walls are made of huge black rocks (Laterites). The walls of the fort are about 8 to 10-meter high.
- Caves: Few caves like structures are also present inside the Vijaydurg fort. The fort is covered by sea on 3 sides and offers magnificent views of the Arabian sea.
- Lake: There is also a big water lake, which was the main source of sweet water for people staying on the fort.
- Cannon Balls: Some old cannon balls have also been kept inside the fort. Even today, you can see blow spots of cannon balls on walls of the fort.
- Escape Tunnel: There was also a 200 m long tunnel for evacuation during an emergency. Another end of this tunnel was in the Dhulap’s palatial house in the village.
Vijaydurg Fort History
- Earlier Period: When the fort was under the command of Adil Shah, its name was “Gheria”. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj won this fort from Adil shah in 1653 and renamed it as “Vijay Durg” (Vijay=victory).
- Expansion: Earlier this fort was spread over an area of 5 acres and was surrounded by sea on all 4 sides. After capturing the fort, Shivaji Maharaj expanded the fort over 17 acres. There was a trench in front of the entrance gate so that normal people could not enter into the fort.
- Foreign Attacks: The fort was continuously under the attack of British, Portuguese and Dutch. However, the fort remained under the rule of Marathas till 1756.
- Fall: The control of the fort was lost in 1756 when British and Peshwas attacked the fort jointly. Then the fort remained with Peshwas till 1818 when it was given to British.
- Base Station: It served as an important base station for building and restoration of Maratha warships. It was also used as a harbor and even today it is a working seaport.
Underwater Wall Vijaydurg
A few years back, Oceanographic experts have discovered a submerged wall of length 100 meters east of the fort. This under-sea wall is 3 meters high, 7 meters wide and 122 meters long. The wall is composed of Laterite rock and has a depth of 8-10 meter under the sea. So when enemy ships tried to attack the fort, they collided with this underwater wall and shattered into pieces! Portuguese had lost their 2 ships in an attempt to capture Vijaydurg fort. This fort is also famous for its contribution in the discovery of “Helium Gas”.[caption id="attachment_1620" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Proceeding towards the fort![/caption]
The Naval Dock
There was a naval dock of Maratha navy in the Waghotan Creek. It was 1.5 km away from the fort and was built by carving the rocks. The dock of Vijaydurg used to repair and build the ships of the 400 to 500 tonnage capacity. The dock was 109m x 70m in size.
IMPORTANT TOURIST INFORMATION
Timings: You can visit this fort anytime during sunrise and sunset.
Time Required: 2-3 hours are enough to explore the fort properly.
Entry Fees / Ticket Charges: Not applicable! There is no entry fee to see the fort.
How To Reach Vijaydurg:
- Nearest Rail Station: Rajapur road (63 km away) is the nearest railway station to reach Vijaydurg fort. Kankavli is the alternative railway station to the fort. It lies on the on Konkan Railway Route and is 77 km away from the fort. Almost all trains passing through Rajapur and Kankanvli have their halts at these 2 stations. You can easily get a private vehicle from station till the fort.
- Nearest Airport: Ratnagiri airport is the closest air station to reach the fort. However, it has very less number of flights. So Kolhapur Airport 152 km & Dabolim Airport 205 km are alternative airports to reach the fort.
- By Road: State Transport (ST) buses regularly ply to Vijaydurg from important cities in Maharashtra. One can easily reach Vijaydurg from the Mumbai-Goa national highway (NH-17). It is 436 km from Mumbai (via Chiplun), 184 km from Panaji & 57 km from Kasarde (via SH-115).
Eating Stuff: There are few restaurants near the Vijaydurg fort area to have food & refreshments. But carry a bottle of water with you while exploring the fort. They serve delicious local sea food dishes like Fish Fry, Fish Curry, Malvani and Malvani Chicken. Veg food like Veg Thali, Solkadhi, Aamras, Basundi is also available in these restaurants. Tourists can also buy juicy Mangoes, jackfruits, and cashews in the nearby area!
Staying / Accommodation Options: Few resorts and hotels have developed near the fort region. You can in any of them as per your requirement & budget. Even local people provide the homestays on request.
- The Palatial House of Dhulap
- The Rameshwar Temple at Girye
- Devgad Fort
- Kunkaneshwar Temple
- Devbag Beach
- Malvan Beach
- Sindhudurg Fort
- Vyaghreshwar Waterfalls
- Mango Research Centre
Map To Reach:
Vijaydurg fort is a great sea fort to explore in Maharashtra. This fort lets you know about the rich history of Maratha Navy. So don’t forget to visit this fort if you ever visit Devgad!