It is well-known that Maharashtra has a rich maritime legacy. It also has a rich heritage and there are some excellent forts in Maharashtra. Some of these forts, especially the ones that were constructed under the rule of Marathas are situated in difficult terrains, ranging from hilltops to the sea.
In order to enjoy the scenic view from the hill forts, you will have to do some rigorous trekking; the sea forts are more easily accessible.
These sea forts, which were built around the 12th century, demonstrate the vision, technological know-how and architectural expertise of the then rulers. These forts look invincible and are fun to explore.
The famous island forts of Suvarnadurg, Vijaydurg and Sindhudurg, located along the Konkan Coast in the Arabian Sea, were strategically erected to thwart the rising influence of the foreign rulers.
Here are some forts that one should definitely visit:
Sindhudurg - Fort of Sea
This fort was the main Maratha headquarters to prepare for wars and battles. Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji built this island fortress in the mid-17th century. Regular boats or ferries are easily accessible to reach Sindhudurg, which lies on a rocky island. The walls offer a panoramic view of the Arabian Sea. A visit to Sindhudurg may be combined with a trip to Ratnagiri/Ganpatipule/Malvan.
Sindhudurg is 135km from Ratnagiri and 5km from Malvan by roadways.
The fort took 3 years to build and almost 100 architects were involved. Sindhudurg has always boasted of serene, coastal beauty and that is one of the highlights of this fort. It is situated off the coast of Malvan taluka, in the Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra.
Vijaydurg - A Mark of Victory
This is the oldest fort in the Sindhudurg district. Located on the Konkan coast, Vijaydurg is not an island fortress but it is surrounded by the Arabian Sea on three sides.
The fort lies in the Devgad Taluka of Sindhudurg district. It was built in the 13th century by a ruler from the Shilahara dynasty. Later, this fort was occupied by the Marathas.
For tourists, some of the old cannons and cannonballs are kept on display inside the fort. Moreover, remains of a water tank, a granary, a prison, etc. can still be seen. The view of the bright blue sea from the fort walls is simply irresistible. A visit to Vijaydurg may be combined with a trip to Malvan and Sawantwadi. It is one of the closest rail stations is Kanakavali, which is 75km away by road.
As the name suggests, Suvarnadurg means 'The Golden Fort'. This was named Suvarnadurg after it was conquered by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in 1660 after defeating Ali Adil Shah II. This fort was a feather in the golden cap of Marathas.
Suvarnadurg has two entrances - 'Maha darwaja' (big gate) on the east, which faces land, and 'Chor Darwaja' on the west, facing the sea. The fort, which has many bastions, can be approached only during low tide.