The 15th Century Marvel

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Chhatrapati Shivaji Raje Bhosale, a name that needs no introduction, a name that has been etched in history, a warrior known for his intelligence, guerrilla tactics. The great Maratha who conquered all, the mighty Mughals, the Adil shahs, Nizamshahs.

One would probably think that there was noting that eluded this great king. Well to interpret in the modern context he would have had a perfectly unblemished track record had it not been for the one fort that he could never conquer. That was the mighty fort of Murud-Janjira. Originally built by the local fishermen, it was later strengthened by the special designing under the supervision of Malik Amber in the 15th century.

The Murud-Janjira fort was built deep in the Arabian Sea 3 kms from Murud.

It was built by the fishermen to protect themselves against thieves. It was originally built in wood by the fisher folk. The leader of the fisher folk tried to assert his independence by defying the Nawab of Janjira who ruled at that time. As a result the fisher folk were captured and the fort was taken over by the Nawabs. It was then that the Nawabs demolished the wooden fort and in its stead put a more formidable stone structure in place. The fort was called Jazeere Mehroob during the era of the Nawab. Jazeere in Arabic means island. The name Janjira is derived from the Arabic name.

The Murud-Janjira fort lies in the Raigad district of Maharashtra. The Janjira fort is spread over 22 acres. It has the distinction of being the only fort that was never captured by the enemies. Right from the Portuguese to the Britishers failed in their conquests to capture the fort. Shivaji Maharaj during his reign made 6 unsuccessful attempts to capture the fort. Each time victory eluded him. After him Sambhaji and even the Peshvas tried to conquer but in vain.

The speciality of Murud-Janjira fort is that despite of it being surrounded by saline water from all sides, it has two water tanks inside the fort which till date provide fresh water. There are 19 towers and a number of turrets on the fort. Each tower has huge cannon. 3 very famous, Kalal Bangada, Chavri, and Landa Kasam which reminds us of the many ships that might have been destroyed by these cannons. Although the fort can be seen from nearby beaches, it only when we stand at the entrance the hugeness of the fort dawns on us. Due to its strategic location and engineering marvel it gave the Siddhis an unassailable province to govern.

Till date the fort stands tall withstanding the frantic pounding of the waves by the Arabian Sea. It attracts a lot of visitors towards it. It can easily accessible from Mumbai & Pune.

Neha H Prabhu

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