Murud-Janjira fort is located about 60 km away from Alibaug (Alibagh), 165 Km from Mumabi, Maharashtra. Janjira fort is one of the strongest marine forts of India, situated on a rock of oval shape near the town of Murud, about 165 kms south of Mumbai. The word ‘Janjira’ is a derived from the Arabic word Jazira for island. The fort is reachable by sailboats from Rajapuri jetty.
Janjira Fort History
Janjira fort is located in a small coastal village Murud, for the same reason the fort is known as Murud-Janjira. Murud is situated to the south of Alibagh in Rajgad district,The Fort is has a proud history of being the only fort that did not fall for the attacks of the Dutch, Maratha and the English East India Company. History brings mixed information on the evolution of the name of the fort. But it gives an idea that the fort’s name is a mix of Arabic, Konkani and Marathi.
The Fort Janjira
Janjira fort was initially made of woods by the people who lived in Ahmed Nagar during the rule of Malik Amber of the 15th century. The fishermen built this fort to protect them and their properties from the pirates. The fort is built 2km inside the sea from the shore. Later Buran Khan, minister of Ahmed Nagar commissioned the demolition of the fort and rebuilt with huge stone walls rising to a height of forty feet.
The main gate of the Janjira fort faces Rajapuri and can be seen only when in the close range. It has a small gate on seaward side for escape. The fort has 19 rounded bastions, which are still intact. There are many canons of native and European positioned on the bastions. Although it is in ruins now, the fort in its heyday had all the necessary facilities. e.g. drinking water, palaces, mosque, quarters for officers, mosque, etc. On the outer wall flanking the main gate, there is a sculpture portraying a tiger-like beast clasping elephants in its claws.
A secret tunnel that used to connect the fort to the island underneath the sea, in case of emergency has been sealed due to seawater percolation into the fort. Another secret gate that still exists was used in case of an emergency. This can only been seen in low tide. The so-called watchtower is exactly 120 steps up and it gives a great panoramic view of the fort as well as the sea and the island. The point is windy and 120 steps are tedious, but it’s worth the view. The fort has underground storage areas for arms & ammunition, food grains, vegetable, sweet water storage etc.
There are great attractions inside the fort. The fort still contains two sweet water lakes within, which still exists for over 300 years. The main entrance of the fort displays the strength of the Siddis through stone carvings; notable one being the carving of a tiger handling six elephants alone. For over 350 years Janjira fort was attacked by many but it has never been conquered and despite the strong waves from all the sides the fort still stands tall.
With a number of turrets and towers Janjira Fort portrays power. The fort housed more than 500 canons always ready to attack their enemies. Now only few are left but they are worth a watch. Kalal Bangadi, Chavari and Landa Kasam are some of the canons that explain the glorifying past of the fort.
How to Reach there:
Murud is popular for its appealing beach, murmuring casuarinas, betel palms and coconuts. The temple of Lord Dattatreya is near the fort on a hillock. The palace of the Nawab and the Janjira caves are also worth visiting.
By Air: Mumbai is the nearest Air port for Murud Janjira Fort. Further journey may be performed by road.
By Rail: Roha is the nearest railway station. Further journey may be performed by road.
By Road: Roha to Murud Janjira takes about an hour by taxi service. Ferry service is also available from Ferry Wharf up to Rewas (23 km). One has to take bus ride from Rewas.