Built by Shivaji, Sindhudurg Fort was the naval headquarters of the Marathas. Situated on Kurte Island, it lies half a km away from the Malvan Port in the Arabian Sea. The fort lies 130 km north of Goa.
Shivaji built the fort area to safeguard the maritime borders of his kingdom and from neighbouring rulers. The foundations of the fort were strengthened by using molten lead mixed with mortar. More than 70,000 kilos of iron was used for casting its foundation.
The construction of the fort began in 1664 and took three years to complete. About 100 Portuguese architects, who were specially invited from Goa along with a strong workforce unit of 3000, were deployed for its construction. It is believed that the great warrior king himself lent a hand in building the fort.
Sindhudurg is spread over 48 acres with the fortified walls, 29 ft high and 12 ft thick, stretch for two miles. As many as 52 bastions with embrasures for cannons guard its walls. Some bastions have secret exits that lead out of the fort.
One can enter the fort through the Dilli Darwaja – the main gate. Because of its architectural design, the gate is visible only from close quarters and seems as if part of the walls. It is believed that Shivaji was very satisfied with the outcome of the fort. On the request of the fort architect, a handprint and a footprint of the Maratha King is embedded on a slab within the fort.
Along with the customary shrines of Hanuman, Jarimari and Goddess Bhavani, the fort is most famous for the temple dedicated to Shivaji. Apart from the temples, a few tanks and three sweet water wells are also present in the fort area.
Shivaji Jayanti, Ram Navami, Janmashtami, Mahashivratri and Ganesh Chaturthi are some of the prominent festivals that are celebrated in Sindhudurg on a grand scale.
WHERE TO STAY
There are no places to stay at the fort.
WHAT TO SEE
Shivrajeshwar Temple: Chatrapati Shivaji’s younger son Rajaram built the temple in the memory of his father. Shivaji’s idol stands in a boatman’s attire inside the temple and probably only one of its kinds in the country – where the image of Shivaji is without a beard. The idol enshrined in the sanctum of the temple has been carved out of black stone, in the Vajrasana pose.
NEAR SINDHUDURG FORT
Kunkeshwar Temple: The Shiva temple, built in 1100, is about 40 km away from Sindhudurg. It is situated on the bank of Arabian Sea and is also known as Konkan Kashi. Shivaji was a frequent visitor to the temple.
Kunkeshwar Cave: To the east of the Kunkeshwar Temple, lies the Kunkeshwar Cave which has statues of male and female warriors. It is a famous attraction.
Tarkarli Beach: It lies 8 km from Sindhudurg. Known for its white sandy beach and water sport activities, Tarkarli is arguably one of the most picturesque beaches in Konkan. The sea at Tarkarli is crystal clear and the seabed can be seen up to a depth of 15 ft or more on a sunny day.
Vijaydurg Fort: The Vijaydurg Fort stands testimony to the naval prowess of the Marathas. It is situated 500 km south of Mumbai on the western coast of Maharashtra.