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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Alibag Fort / Kulaba Fort – Alibag, Maharashtra.

Alibag Fort / Kulaba Fort – Alibag, Maharashtra.Alibag Fort / Kulaba Fort – Alibag, Maharashtra.The Alibag Fort , locally referred as Kulaba Fort is built on a rocky island located 2 kilometers from Alibag Beach, Raigad District – 112 Kms south from Mumbai, Coordinates: 18°38'7"N 72°51'51"E. Before the construction of this Sea-Fort, the island use to be an army check-post in the sea of Mauje Navghar.

Best way to reach Alibag is by a Launch/ Ferry/ Catamaran from Gateway of India (Mumbai) to Mandwa (Alibag) Or by Road which is around 2 hrs journey. Alibag fort is also blessed with the nature’s cycles of high & low tide. Watching this play of nature from the beach is simply an awesome experience, I will suggest Sunglow Resorts (Phone: +91-2141-221072/73 Email: sunglow@nivalink.co.in). During low tides the two modes of transport are either by walking or a Horse Tanga. In earlier days the Fort was inaccessible during high tide but now a new speed boat service has started. Reaching the Fort in this speed boat is real fun.

Kulaba/ Alibag Fort was the result of Shivaji Maharaja’s Vision for a Main Naval Base for the Maratha Navy and to monitor activities of the foreign naval powers of English, Portuguese and the Siddhi of Janjira. This Fort was also his last construction as it almost was completed on the eve of his death in April 1680.

There’s a dome shape memorial of the legendary Naval Commander Kanhoji Angre who was in charge of this Sea-Fort in 1698, as this Fort was where this Maritime Hero took his last breath on 4th July 1729. The ruins of Kanhoji Angre’s family Palace are still visible.

Height of the fort walls is around 32 feet with a wide parapet and 17 bastions. Main gate of the fort is called Maha Darwaja. There are carvings of elephants, peacocks and tigers on the entrance arch of Maha Darwaja. There are also two other small gates, the second small gate is the smallest and the third one is medium which faces south.

Near the main entry of the fort are two temples of Goddesses Padmavati and Goolavati. There is a Siddhivinayak/ Ganpati temple still in good condition near the sweet water reservoir. Also there is a Hajrat Haji Kamal Udinshah Darbar – Dargah. The Hanuman Temple, Ship Dock and Firing Range are located at the southern tip of the fort, the area here is like an extension of the fort outside the fort walls, and was used as a Ship Dock, the plane ground was used as a Firing Range by the British troops.

Guarding the Fort and facing the sea are the two British Cannons manufactured by LOW MOOR IRONWORKS - Yorkshire, London. Also two Maratha Cannons can be seen on the top of Maha Darwaja guarding the main entry.

Although located 2 km from the Alibag beach and surrounded by sea most of the times, there are surprisingly many sweet water reservoirs inside the Fort. There is a big Pohkran/ Large Well with steps adjacent to the Siddhivinayak temple. Near the main entry is the Triangular Well with Round Mouth. Two Underground Wells are located at the center.

There are around 6 to 8 Historic Toilets in the fort. The First Toilet is sort of premium toilet with larger windows and space, must have been used by high ranking officials. Second Toilet is little bit less premium with smaller windows and less space. The others were meant for infantry I guess, most of them are located at the southernmost part of the fort and are cramped, and some of them even don’t have roofs.

Sarjekot Fort is located to the North of Alibag Fort and both share the same Rock-Island. It’s also referred as the 18th bastion of the Alibag Fort and was constructed as an answer to the artillery of Hirakot Fort situated on the shore of Alibag. One can see the ruins of a Stone road connecting both the Forts, now in the absence of which the two are isolated during high tide.

View of the Beautiful Foamy Arabian Sea from Alibag Fort is magnificent.

Satellite View of Alibag Fort.

CAUTION: Many people have lost their lives while trying to walk either towards the fort or the beach during the start of high tide. Due to the Fort as an obstruction in between, the high tide waves come in from the right and left sides and tend to sweep away anything back in the ocean. Nowadays these incidents have been decreased drastically due to governments’ attempts. A timetable and a Warning Siren have been implemented on the beach with the presence of local police for help. In case of any drowning accidents the Costal Guards are informed by the local beach police, so it’s much safer now. A simple thing to follow is simply ASK!
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Deepali said...

Can this fort be seen from Kihim beach? I don't mean properly but is the landmass visible? I remember some uncle telling me it was a fort. Was interested in forts then (not that I am now) so didn't even bother but I kept thinking why would anyone have a fort on an island hehe. Needless to say I was very young back then.

Amol Naik said...

Two forts are visible from Kihim beach - Khanderi and Underi Fort. Alibag Fort is not visible from there. To visit these two forts, you need to hire a ship and need to get passes from the Mandwa Custom Department.