Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Arnala Fort

Sea Fort

Region: Arnala (Virar)

Height: Sea Level

Base Village: Vasai

Food and Accomodation:

Not necessary as one can see the fort and return by boats withing 2-3 hours. water is available in the wells situated on fort

How to reach :

Arnala is about 10 km from Virar (Thane dist.) station on western railway route. S.T. buses and auto-rickshaws are available to reach there. After reaching the beach from Arnala village you can reach fort by commuter boat only. The boat service is available from 6 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. It takes about 5 to 10 minutes to reach fort through the boat.

Best time to visit :

Any time, except monsoon.

About :
In 1516, a local chieftain in Gujarat, Sultan Mahmud Begda originally constructed the fort on the island, strategically located at the mouth of the Vaitarna river. In the 1530s, the Portuguese had established their operations in the coastal area headquartered at Fort Bassein and soon gained control of the island. The Portuguese captain of Bassein donated the island to a Portuguese nobleman who tore down the old fort and began construction of 700x700 foot fort. Though fort was never completed by the nobleman, it remained under Portuguese control for 2 centuries, who used it to control shipping and navigation along the northern Konkan coast.
During the late 1600s and early 1700s, after a long struggle with the Mughal Empire, the Maratha Confederacy came to dominate present day Maharastra. In 1737 the then Peshwa Baji Rao I sent his brother, Chimaji Appa, to take the Bassein Fort from the Portuguese. After winning the Battle of Vasai, his general, Shankarji Pant, persuaded Chimaji to launch an assault on Fort Arnala, for its strategic importance to the Maratha navy in assaulting Portuguese interests. Their first assault, coordinated with a Maratha naval force commanded by Manaji Agre, was routed by a superior Portuguese naval force. A second assault on the fort on March 28, 1737, caught the Portuguese by surprise and forced them to abandon the fort. The victory was commemorated by a plaque installed on the northern wall of the fort and is still visible today. Marathas then rebuilt the fort, constructing three bastions Bahirav, Bhavani and Bava.

The Marathas controlled the fort until 1817 when, during the third British-Maratha war, despite successfully defending the fort, they were forced to surrender the fort to the British due to their superior naval power. The Arnala and Bassien forts were returned to the Marathas by the British in the treaty of Salabai, but the forts again changed hands under the treaty of Pune. Today the fort is in a state of disrepair

Places of Interest :

The fort is approximately rectangular in shape and is being protected by continuous and strong ramparts having a height of about 10 meters. The bastions are in good condition even today. There are three entrances to the fort out of which the main entrance is on the north side. At both sides of this entrance there are two big bastions. On the arc of this entrance nice carvings can be seen and on both sides an elephant and a tiger are carved. These indicate the strength of the ruler of the fort. On the main entrance a lithograph is seen. From the lines of the lithograph we can understand Bajirao Peshwa reconstructed that fort. Inside a fort there are temples of 'Tryambakeshwar' and 'Bhavani Mata'. In front of 'Tryambakeshwar Mahadev' temple is a nicely built octagonal lake. Inside the fort, wells of drinking water are available. On the way towards main entrance, there is a temple of 'Kalikamata'.

If we see the fort from the beach we see a bastion to the left, which is apart from the fort. There is a small entrance to enter it.

It takes about half an hour to 45 minutes to see the fort completely. We can view the surroundings while walking on the strong rampart of a fort. From the projection above the main entrance we can see the fort completely.

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