June 19, 2013

Murud Janjira- The Impregnable Fort...!!


The journey from Alibaug to Murud was a long and dusty one with tourists and locals on a rickety bus. My face lit up only when I had the first view of the sea. My co passenger on seeing me take out my camera was kind enough to offer me the window seat. When I seemed a bit reluctant, he said he travelled this road every day and would not mind if he missed out on the scenery. He also gave me a cue each time a good vista was about to surface. Hope I get such lovely strangers next to me every time I travel. After alighting at Murud, it was a small rickshaw ride to Rajapuri jetty. From the jetty, along with a small crowd of visitors I too was packed into a sail boat. Though it seemed crowded, the half an hour sail was enjoyable with the crowd breaking into an impromptu song and music.

Though Murud Janjira fort was very clearly visible from the jetty area, its intimidating presence could not be ignored as we neared it. My eyes kept searching for its entrance but all I could see were the bastions and the fort wall. The guide, a young fellow probably in his early twenties began explaining about this 15th century fort a few minutes before we disembarked. It was his explanation that answered my search for the entrance. The entrance gate cannot be seen until you reach as close as 50 feet from the fort. Thoughtful architecture I must say taking into consideration the enemy attacks during those war times. As we neared the fort, it was the grandeur of the hidden entrance that captivated me. Absolutely a marvelous creation with steps going down into the waters and tall fort walls still standing strong even after years of battering by the Arabian sea.




Situated on an island, the fort was first built in the 15th century by a local fisherman to protect his community and folks from pirates. However the fort was later captured by Siddhis (A warrior clan which has it roots in Africa) who were chieftans to Ahmednagar kings and it is they who built the present stone fort and ruled for years. This impregnable fort was hard to take control of and neither the British nor the Marathas or the Portuguese could succeed in capturing it from the Siddhis despite their numerous efforts. Supposedly this is the only fort on the western coast to remain unconquered. The name Janjira happens to be a corrupt form of the Arabic word Jazeera, which was the actual name of the fort.

Our enthusiastic guide took us to all the major places in the fort explaining about its history, its architecture, various structures inside it and the people who once lived there. Most of this 22 acre fort is still intact with round bastions and strong fort walls forming the circumference. The bastions provide excellent vistas of the sea and main land. There are many canons inside the fort and on the bastions, which were once in use during its hey days. One of the big canons is famous for the fact that it never gets heated up despite taking the brunt of the sun for hours. One can experience this by touching this warm canon. As I wandered inside, the expansive fort opened up with architectures, palaces, residences, mosques, water tanks, exit doors into the sea and peep holes, most of which remain dilapidated. There is also an undersea tunnel which which was used as an escape route from the fort to the mainland. The highest point on the fort is a few steps high, from where the vistas of the blue sea and the brown hills are magnificent.












Murud Janjira has withstood the testing times of wars and the fury of nature for years to become one of the most prominent and popular marine forts in the country. After an hour of understanding the fort's history it was time to sail back to the jetty. As I distanced away from the fort, its intimidation reduced and once on the mainland it looked like a miniature Murud Janjira floating on the blue waters of the Arabian sea.



Signing Note- A beautifully fortified island...!!

Route- Mumbai- Pen- Alibaug- Revdanda- Murud
Distance- 160 Kms

49 comments:

  1. Beautiful fort which lay on water...

    nice captures and great info

    thanks

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  2. wonderful post and lovely photos.. i love the first and the last ones! havent been there.. would love to, some day!

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  3. Never knew of this. Great post with pics.

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  4. nice pics and equally wonderfully woven post!

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  5. Wow. Spellbound.

    www.volatilespirits.com

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  6. Wonderful photographs developing a crave to visit the place :) fascinated by Murud Janjira !! thanks for sharing a wonderful experience !!

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  7. What is amazing in all these forts in the sea there is a fresh sweet water well!

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, it is still there and is still sweet. :)

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  8. Captivating pics and write up. Reminded me of Count of Monte Cristo somehow :)

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    1. Thank you. Now that is an interesting comparison. Thanks.

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  9. Wow Wow what a view....Really loved the Photographs...a must visit

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  10. Great post with beautiful picture gallery. the fort looking amazing to visit.

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  11. Wonderful 15th century fort photos Niranjan! If you kindly consider of adjusting your background which is presently black then it'll be soothing for readers to read your useful narrations...

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    1. Thanks Anunoy. Shall definitely consider your opinion about the background.

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  12. Nice pictures! I like the ruins.

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  13. speechless
    spectacular

    do cum and visit my too
    http://eyeswantstosee.blogspot.com/

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    Replies
    1. Glad that you liked it. Shall definitely go through your blog.

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  14. Wonderful shots. I have been always wanting to go here.

    Check out My Indian Travel


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  15. Great pics. Must have been quiet an experience exploring the fort.

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    1. Thank you. It was definitely a wonderful experience.

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  16. I think i have seen this fort a lot of times on TV..its their favourite spot to shoot any historical serial or even horror ones ;)

    The fort is very impressive, standing tall in the sea. The word janjira may have originated from arabic word Jazeera, which means Island. I also loved your short interaction with the co-passenger in the bus...Wndow seat is everyone's delight..how he may have scarificed that for you :)

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    1. Glad that you liked the post and my conversations. Not very sure about how much it is a shooting location. My guide did not mention anything about it.

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  17. Splendid!Excellent narrative & pictures.The fort looks imposing-it is so strong even after 500 yrs-hats off to the builders.The old architects were awesome.

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    1. Thank you. It is indeed a magnificent fort.

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  18. Great! From where did you take the guided tour?

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    1. Thanks Kusum. It was not a guided tour, the guide was there on the boat.

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  19. Enjoyed your photo essay Niranjan. Looks more serene than intimidating :-)

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  20. wonderful photos and write up...the fort really is amazing...the entrance looks so magnificent!!....

    and yes, its always helps to have cooperative fellow passengers during our travels :)

    http://www.myunfinishedlife.com


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  21. I've only ever driven here and the journey was worth the drive every single time. I found that the best way to do it is leave super early to skip the traffic. You might want to drive next time, the buses really are not worth it! :)

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    1. The drive must be really exciting along the sea for a major part. Should try that next time. The bus journey was also quite intriguing.

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  22. Beautiful pictures and well written post...

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  23. Excellent blog and i hope to visit "Murud-Janjira" in the near future,

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  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

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