Ratnagiri is promptly showing huge diversity of geology. Ratnagiri has strong Mountain forts on the hilltops of the eastern Sahyadri ranges as well as it has peaceful sea coast because of the presence of a number of powerful sea forts. Tourist will get the golden opportunity to visit 29 forts in a single district. It is really marvellous to travel to visit these forts in all seasons, as each season shows their own scenic beauty of the surrounding area of each fort. Travel will be very easy as a tourist can use their own vehicle or public transport is also available.

Forts in Ratnagiri - Taluka wise

Forts in Ratnagiri - Taluka wise

Forts in Mandangad Taluka

1. Mandangad Fort

Mandangad Fort (also called Chitradurga Fort)is about 2 km from Mandangad town in Ratnagiri District, Maharashtra. This fort is said to be constructed by King Bhoj . After the Mughals lost the Battle of Umberkhind , This fort was captured by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in the battle with Adil Shah. A 400-year-old cannon is the major feature of the fort. The fort constitutes a Ganapati Temple and a tank called Thorla Talav.

It consists of three separate fortifications – Mandangad proper to the south, Parkot in the middle while Jamba in the north. The Jamba water reservoir is now dry. Even though they are believed be much older, local legend attributes Mandangad to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Parkot to Habshi of the Siddis and Jamba to Kanhoji Angre(also called Angria). All three forts were captured in 1818 by Col. Kennedy.

History

It is said that Mandangad was built by King Bhoj. In 1661 it was under Jaswantrao Dalvi, an Adilshahi Sardar. He was the person who had besieged Vishalgad during Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s daring escape from Panhalgad. When Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj defeated Kartalabkhan and was marching towards Dabhol, Mandangad was on the way. Hearing this news, Jaswantrao ran away to Shringarpur and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj got it without a fight. It was with Angres and Siddis for some time. The British captured it in 1818.

How to Reach

Mandangad is an important town in Raigad district. We have to via Ambet-Mhapral from a toll junction before Mahad. Dhangarwadi is the base village at 2 km from Mandangad city, till where we can go by vehicle. It takes 20 minutes to reach the top.

Places to see

There are 2 summits for the mountain on which Mandangad is built. On the higher one there is a water tank. The fortification is seen on the lower and more flat part. The entrance is destroyed, but the bastions stand. The Ganesh temple here is reconstructed. We can see Savitri River, Raigad and Varandha pass on a clear day.

2. Bankot / Himmatgad Fort

Bankot Fort / Himmatgad Fort/ Fort Victoria is a fort located 47 km from Dapoli, in Ratnagiri district, of Maharashtra. This fort is an important fort in Ratnagiri district. The Fort is located on a prominent and commanding point for guarding the trade route along the Savitri River, which runs till, Mahad which was a busy route in medieval times. It is a fort located on a hill near the sea.

History

First record evidence about this fort is found in the records of Greek Traveller Ptolemy in first century AD. It was then called as Mandargiri or Mandgor or Nanaguna. The Chinese traveller Hieun Tsang is supposed to have embarked in Bankot in 640 AD. This fort was captured by the Portuguese from Mohammed Adil Shah of Bijapur in 1548. It was won by maratha Koli Admiral Kanhoji Angre in 1700 and named as Himmatgad. Due to rivalry between Tulaji Angre and Peshwas. Peshwas allied with British and waged a war with Tulaji. In 1755 this fort surrendered to Commodore James of British fleet after the fall of Suvarnadurg. British forces captured the fort and named it as Fort Victoria. Later it was revealed by the British that it was not an economically viable deal to maintain the fort and it was handed over to Peshwas. In 1837 the Mamlatdars office was moved from Bankot to Mandangad.

How to Reach

The nearest town is Dapoli which is 225 km from Mumbai and 194 km from Pune by road. The base village of the fort is Bankot which is 47 km from Dapoli and 21 km from Shrivardhan. There are good hotels at Dapoli and Shrivardhan. Now tea and snacks are also available in small hotels along the coastal road. The trekking path starts from the hillock west of the Bankot village. Now there is very safe and wide road up to the fort. It takes about half an hour to reach the entrance gate of the fort.

Places to see

The fort is built by Lateritic rocks. Surrounding the fort is a moat dug up in the lateritic rock. There are two gates to the fort. The northern Entrance gate facing the Bankot creek is the main gate. The western gate opens up on a plateau. The main entrance has vestibules for the gate keepers. Climbing ahead is Nagarkhana which can be reached by climbing steps to view the Savitri river. From the western doorway, the bastion over the ramparts can be reached. There is a secret entrance near the Bastion. This Bastion was built by the Siddis to strengthen Bankot Fort. At Velas, there are two temples dedicated to Shri Rameshwar and Kalbhairav gods constructed by Moroba Dada Phadnis and Nana Phadnis respectively

Forts in Dapoli Taluka

3.Goa Fort

Goa Fort is a fort located 15 km from Dapoli, in Ratnagiri district, of Maharashtra. To protect Suvarnadurga, 3 forts named Goa fort (not to be confused with Goa state), Kanakdurga and Fattegad were built on the coast near Harne village in Maharashtra. Amongst these, remnants of Fattegad include only its ramparts facing the sea.

History

It is not known when the fort was built, but it is said to have been built after Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s  reign. The area of the fort is around 3/4th of a hectar.

How to Reach

The nearest town is Dapoli. The fort is at walkable distance from the Harne town. A wide motorable road leads to the entrance gate of the fort. It takes about half an hour to have a walk around the fort.

Places to see

There are two entrance gate in the fort. One facing the landward side and the other facing the sea. There are various sculptures on the walls of the fort. There are remains of the collector’s rest house on the fort.

4. Kanakdurga Fort

To protect Suvarnadurga, 3 forts named Goa fort (not to be confused with Goa state), Kanakdurga and Fattegad were built on the coast near Harne village in Maharashtra.
The area of the fort is around 5 hectares. It is not known when the fort was built. Kanakdurga is built on a huge rock.
 

History

It is not known when the fort was built, but it is said to have been built after Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s  reign. The area of the fort is around 5 hectares.

How to Reach

The nearest town is Dapoli and can reach Harne village via Dapoli from Mumbai. 

Places to see

There are rock steps to ascend the fort. Some ramparts do exist, with water tanks on the top. There is a lighthouse on the fort. To the left side of the steps is a strong bastion built in black rock. The rock on which the fort is built has been carved out for the same.

5. Fattegad

Fattegad is a fort located 15 km from Dapoli, in the Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra. It is one of three forts built to guard the Suvarnadurg fort; the other two are Goa fort and Kanakdurg.

The fort is in a dilapidated state. The only parts of the fort left standing are the walls and the bridge joining with Kanakdurg.

History

The fort was built by Khairiyat Khan during the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s  era. This fort was under the control of Tulaji Angre. Due to the rivalry between Peshwa and Angre , a combined efforts were made by British and the Peshwa against Tulaji. The fort was captured by Captain James and handed over to Peshwas. In 1817 British forces captured the fort from the Peshwas.

How to Reach

The nearest town is Dapoli and can reach Harne village via Dapoli from Mumbai.

Places to see

Remnants of Fattegad include only its ramparts facing the sea. Today this fort is a dwelling place for the local fishermen.

The nearest town is Dapoli. The fort is at walkable distance from the Harne town. A wide motorable road leads to the entrance gate of the fort. It takes about half an hour to have a walk around the fort.

6. Suvarnadurga

Suvarnadurg is a fort that is located between Mumbai and Goa on a small island in the Arabian Sea, near Harnai in Konkan, along the West Coast of India, in the Indian state of Maharashtra. The fort also includes another small land fort called the Kanakadurga at the base of headland of Harnai port on the coast. Building of the fort is credited to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, founder of the Maratha Empire, in 1660. Subsequently, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, other Peshwas and the Angres further fortified the forts for defence purposes.

The literal meaning of Suvanadurga is “Golden Fort” as it was considered as the pride or the “feather in the golden cap of Marathas”. Built by Adilshah Navy for defence purposes, the fort also had a shipbuilding facility. The basic objective of establishing the fort was to counter enemy attacks, mainly by the colonialists of Europe and also by the local chieftains.

In the past, the land fort and the sea fort were connected by a tunnel, but this is now defunct. The present approach to the sea fort is only by boats from the Harnai port on the headland. It is a protected monument.

History

Suvarnadurg fort was built in the 16th century during the rule of emperor Adilshah. In 1660,Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj defeated Adilshah the second and added this fort to the Maratha empire. In the year1688, after the death of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Maharaj Rajaram appointed Sarkhel Kanhoji Aangre as the authority over this fort. This fort was a headquarter to the great soldier Kanhoji Aangre who was known as the Shivaji of the sea. From Kanhoji to Tulaji, this fort remained under the command and control of the Aangre family. In the year 1755, this fort came under the rule of the Peshwas and later, under the British in the year 1818. This fort continued to be under the British until Independence.

How to Reach

The only approach to the fort is by boats, from Harnai. Boats have to be arranged through the local fishermen. The nearest railway station on the Konkan Railway of the Indian Railways is at Khed.

Places to see

The construction of the door is of Gomukhi type. This door is well protected since it is hidden in between two huge bastions. The door is on the east direction facing north. At the main entry, carvings of Lord Hanuman on the wall and a carved turtle on one of the leading steps can be seen. 15 bastions of the fort provide a strong structure to the fort and are still intact. There are several potable water sources (tanks, ponds and wells) in the fort; however, these dry up in the summer months. Moving towards left from the main entry gate there is a well which has plenty of water. Further from here are two granaries and a decrepit building. The fort tapers towards the southwest direction from where Kanakadurga, Fattegad and Gova fort are clearly visible. There is a hidden doorway (Chor darwaja) and a pond to store rain water on the west. Towards the northwest side there are remnants of a building, an ammunition storage facility and a water tank. Suvarnadurg fort is located on a rocky island in the Arabian Sea and the rocks on the edge have been flattened to build the fort on the elevated rocks. Some old cannons are seen opposite the main entry gate of the fort.

7. Palgad

It is one of the rear mid hill forts in the Ratnagiri district. The fort offers beautiful view of Sahyadri ranges and its offshoots descending towards west. It forms a boundary between Dapoli taluka in the west and Khed Taluka in the east. There is dense forest on the western side of the hill whereas beautifully carved rice terrraces in the east. The way at the entrance to the fort is carved out of rock. There are some remnants of the old buildings and two canons. There is one well which has no water in it.The summit of the hill is shaped like a lizard for which Marathi word is Pal. Therefore the fort was named as Palgad. The village changed its name from Palil to Palgad being close to the fort as time went by. The Palgad was a major market place for the surrounding villages in the past. This is the village where Sane Guruji was born. This fort is said to have been used as a watch tower.

History

The fort is said to have been constructed during the reign of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and then was under the control of Peshavas. It came under British control subsequently.

How to Reach

From Palgad village : Palgad village is at 21 km from Dapoli on the Dapoli-Khed road. There is road till Palgad Machi. The path near Hanuman temple leads to the top and it takes around half an hour from here. It takes one hour from Palgad village.

Places to see

The area of the fort is around 1.5 acres. The main entrance is east facing, and completely broken. The bastion is still there. There is one canon half buried near the entrance, second one on “Holicha Mal”, and third one in a field in the village. We can find some plinths of old mansions and a dried water tank. The further part becomes narrower and there is a bastion. Some part of the walls is remaining. We can find residences on the mountain top.

8. Pranalakdurg/Panhalekaji

Panhalekaji (Pranalak fort). Dabhol is an ancient port in the Konkan. Due to the reduction in the use of these routes in the later period, the importance of the forts on the route also decreased and those forts were forgotten.
The fort was built to protect the passage of goods to and from the port of Dabhol with the help of small boats, which flow through the Dhakti and Kodjai rivers on both sides of the hill.

History

Pranalakdurg is today known as the village and caves at the foot of the fort called “Panhalekaji”. The Panhalekaji caves are Buddhist Hinayana caves. Pranals, the son of Shilahar king Aparaditya, was the chief of this area. He must have built this fort in the 12th century.

How to Reach

Via Khed:-
Khed is a station on the Konkan Railway route. A bus leaves at 5.30 pm from here to Panhalekaji. Otherwise one has to get down at Vakavli junction on the Khed – Dapoli route and board the bus coming from Dapoli for Panhalekaji. Auto tickshaws are also available to reach Panhalekaji village which is at 18 kms. Vakavli is equidistant from Khed and Dapoli at 14 kms.

With our own private vehicle one can take Khed – Dapoli route and use the diversion for Panhalekaji. The road from here is in a very bad condition so it takes very long time even for a 18 kms drive. Panhalekaji caves are to the right after crossing the Kodjai river bridge. The same road further continues to Panhalekaji village and Jholaidevi temple.

Vi Dapoli:-
On the Dapoli – Dabhol road, one can go via Dapoli – Terevayangani – Gavhane – Panhalekaji village. Here we come to Jholaidevi temple first and then further to the caves.

Places to see

The two small rivers of Dhakti and Kodjai served a trade route for the port of Dabhol. This fort was built on the mountain between the two rivers so as to protect this trade route. After visiting Panhalekaji caves the road ascends to Panhalekaji village. The point where the village ends a temple of Goddess Jholaidevi is located on a hill to the left. It takes a 15 steps ascend to reach this temple. The rocks used to build these steps have carvings on them. The original temple was built out of black rock. However it no longer exists. What we see today is the rebuilt temple structure built of cement concrete and the rocks from the old structure can be seen scattered aside. There is a stage built in front of the temple, besides which a path takes us to the cleft between the Jholaidevi hill and Panhale fort; also called as Pranalak fort. There are two paths from here of which we have to take the right path to ascend further.

The fort had dual fortification wall. By crossing the first wall we reach the water tank carved in rock within 5 minutes. Just before the tank we can see the steps carved in rock. On the upper side there are remnants of the fort wall from where we enter the fort. Due to the farming activities on the fort summit, the remnants of the fort parts lie scattered on the fort. There are many bricks on the fort which can be dated to different eras and also the limestone mixer made of stone could be found. The local villagers erected a statue of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in 1994. Besides the statue there a pillar of approx. 4 feet lying on the ground. Towards the right side of the statue there is a path which descends from the fort. On this route by avoiding the Jholaidevi temple route take the opposite route to reach a dried up water tank which is supported by built in pillars. After this we have to get back to the cleft between the fort and Jholaidevi temple. From here take the route opposite to the village and start descending where we come across a path to the right side. There is a dried up water tank here. After seeing this by coming to the Jholaidevi temple we complete the fort visit. As many routes are confusing and the parts of the forts are scattered over the fort it is recommended to take the help of a local villager as a guide.

Forts in Khed Taluka

9. Mahipatgad

Mahipatgad is a hill fort situated on the east of the Khed. It is one of the largest forts in Maharashtra, with an area of 120 acres. This fort is located 19 km from the Khed City. The Mahipatgad. Suamargad and Rasalgad are situated on a same spur 8 km long, which runs parallel to the western ghats. The Mahipatgad is on the northernmost end of the spur. The altitude of Mahipatgad is 3090 feet.

History

This fort was built by Adilshah of Bijapur in the 15th century. This fort was captured by King Shivaji Maharaj  in 1661. Later it passed to the Peshwas and finally to the British in 1818. There are 10 houses in the Beldarvadi village, which is at the foot hill of the fort. The villagers are said to have been brought by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj as bricklayers for construction of the fort.

How to Reach

There is a new road being built up to the village Wadibeldar. At present by state transport bus, one can reach the village Wadi-jaitapur. From this village there is a steep trek of two hours to the village Wadibeldar. From Wadibeldar the trek to the fort is about 45 minutes. The Pareshwar temple is ideal for halting at night.

Places to see

The Mahipatgad looks like a hill-top covered with dense forest of Jamun, Pisa and similar trees found at higher altitude similar to that of Mahabaleshwar. There are leopards, wild pigs and barking deer on the fort.

The fort is a table land with six battlements and six gateways. The gateways are in a ruined state. The gateways are:

Laldevdi, on north-eastern side
Pusati, on eastern side, formerly entered by a ladder
Yeshwant, on south-eastern side
Khed, towards southern side; this route is still in use and connects the village Beldarwadi to the fort
Shivganga, on western side; there is a rock cut shivling near this entrance
Kotwal, on northern side; the pathway from this gate leads to the village Kotwal in Poladpur taluka
Here the foundation of temples of Maruti and Ganapati are seen with half walls still standing. On the southern side of the fort are remnants of horse stables which are 350-700 in numbers. There are two heaps of unused mortar on the fort. There are two large wells on the fort, one near the Khed entrance and the other near Pareshwar temple. The water from these wells is used for drinking by the villagers. The best time to visit the fort is from October to February.

10. Sumargad

Sumargad is a less visited forts in Ratnagiri district. This fort lies east of the Khed. It is about 19 km from Khed City. There are no human settlements around the fort. There are two ways to reach Sumargad one; is from Mahipatgad and the other one from Rasalgad. The trek to this fort is through remote forest area. Very less history is known about this fort.

History

The fort does not have any prominent history. The fort Sumargad is still in good condition it is completely built in black stone. The fort has 16 guns on the fort. The entrance to the fort is difficult and has tough climb to reach the fort

How to Reach

The route to this fort passes through a dense forest area. The pathways are rarely used by humans or cattle. Since there are no water streams in the entire forest area, it is advised to carry enough water while trekking to the fort. It takes about 2 hours from Wadi-beldar and 4 hours from Rasalgad. The paths meet in a narrow pass. The path to the south is reached by climbing the spur lead to the base of the fort in 30 minutes. The further path winds very close to the eastern rocky cliff of the fort, till an iron-ladder is reached. The villagers of Malde village have recently constructed a ladder to reach the top of the fort. The best months to visit the fort is from October to January.

Places to see

The fort has steep cliffs on all the sides. It is a very small fort, with fortification over an area of 1-2 acres. There are many rock cut water cisterns on the fort. Only two cisterns have clear potable water. There is cave on the fort with Shivalinga. From the top of fort Mahipatgad, Rasalgad, Chakdev and Parvatgad are seen.

11. Rasalgad

Rasalgad is a fort in the Maharashtra state of India. It lies 15 km east of Khed City. The fort has been developed as tourist attraction. Its fortification in good condition. The fort lied on a south end of a narrow spur which joins with Suamargad and Mahipatgad in the north direction. In 2003 this fort was declared as protected monument by Archaeological Survey of India.

History

Very little history is known about this fort. This fort was in the captivity of Morè of Javli from whom Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj captured this fort. In 1818 British forces captured it from the Peshwas

How to Reach

The village Rasalwadi is located at the foothill. It is well connected by road. It takes about 10 minutes to reach the fort from Rasalwadi. The temple on the fort is favourite amongst the trekkers for night halt. The journey to the Suamargad-Mahipatgad trek begins from the Rasalgad.

Places to see

The fort has a rush of visitors on weekends. It is on a small triangular plateau of five acres, fortified on all the sides. The two entrance gates are in good condition. There is a Veer Maruti idol near the first gate. There is a Zolayidevi temple on the fort with a stone Deepmala and Tulsi Vrindavan in the front. There are two large rock cut water cisterns on the fort. There are 16 cannons on the fort. There is a storeroom in good condition. Chakdev and Parvatgad are seen from the Fort.

Forts in Guhagar Taluka

12. Gopalgad/Anjanvel Fort

Gopalgad Fort / Anjanvel Fort is a fort located 51 km from Chiplun, in Ratnagiri district, of Maharashtra. This fort is an important fort in Ratnagiri district. The Fort is located on a prominent and commanding point for guarding the trade route along the Vashishti River, which runs till Gavilgad near Chiplun and the Dabhol port which was a busy route in medieval times. It is a fort located on a hill near the sea.

History

No record evidence about the construction period of this fort is known. This fort was captured by the kingChhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj from Mohammed Adil Shah of Bijapur in 1660 during his conquest of Dhabol creek. A dockyard/ship building dock was later built by him and the fort was named Gopalgad. It was later under the control of an Abyssinian general Khairriyatkan from 1699 for further 46 years. It was won by Tulaji Angre in 1745. The general of Peshwa Ramji Mahadev Bivalkar captured the fort in 1756. The Fort was won by Colonel Kennedy in 1818.

How to Reach

The nearest town is Guhagar which is 46 km from Chiplun. The base village of the fort is Anjanvel which is 13 km from Guhagar. There are good hotels at Chiplun, Guhagar, and Anjanvel, now tea and snacks are also available in small hotels along the coastal road. The trekking path starts from the hillock west of the Anjanvel village. Now there is very safe and wide road up to the fort. It takes about half an hour to reach the entrance gate of the fort.

Places to see

The fort is spread over an area of 7acres. The Fort is rectangular in shape with a dry moat on all the sides. The Fort walls are 12 feet high and 8 feet thick. The road to the fort ends near a small entrance on the western side of the fort. There were 15 bastions on the outer walls of the fort armed with cannons. there was an inscription in Persian language on the fort till 1707, now it is nowhere seen. The entire fort is constructed from lateritic rock. The fort is dived into three section Varchakot, Parkot and Balekot. There is a small entrance to the Padkot which opens to the outer-side. There is a mango orchard inside the fort walls, the fort has remained in a dispute for ownership issue. There is an ancient temple of Talakeshwar near the fort. There is a lighthouse about 2 km from the fort which can be visited by paying a nominal fee.

13. kasardurg

The information about this fort(Kasardurg) is from the book Durgavastu by Mr. Anand Palande. This fort located in Guhagar taluka of Ratnagiri district of Konkan and can be seen in the history of Anjanvel. The fort, which has been in obscurity till date, is counting down the last elements as it is completely neglected. Kasardurg, Manikdurg and Navtedurg are the three forts on the way from Palshet port to Karad market. These forts must have been built on this route for tax collection and protection of traders. Many forts in Maharashtra have been forgotten by the people today and the exact location of these forts is not known.Mr. Sachin Joshi from Pune has done research and brought some new forts to known. 

History

According to the documents of Anjanvel’s occupation, the fort and its premises were in the possession of a Sardar named Pawar of Kuna Vijayanagar. The locals attribute the origin of the name of the fort to the settlement of the Kasar people.Kasardurg, Manikdurg and Navtedurg are the three forts on the way from Palshet port to Karhad market. These forts may have been built on this route for tax collection and protection of traders. Considering the present condition of the fort, it must have got wet during the Shiva period. There is no more information about this fort

How to Reach

The Guhagar-Shringartali-Velamba-Shir route is convenient for visiting this fort on the Kutgiri river near Shir village on the Kotluk-Abloli road. Since no one in Sheer village knows about this fort, one should visit this fort with complete information.
The fort is located on the left side of the road at a distance of about 200 feet after crossing the Kutagiri river bridge on the road from Shir village to Abaloli road to Kutgiri-Pabhare village. Coming from Shir village, you come up a small ghat, so this fort has to be called Giridurg to some extent. There are 2-3 houses on the right side of the road.

Places to see

The fort is constructed by digging a gully(moat) along the Kutagiri river and digging a moat on the other side.The trench is about 300-350 feet long, 15 feet wide and 6 feet deep. Today as a fort you can see this gully(moat) and 3-4 steps in it. The trench is dug in some places and there is a way to go beyond it.
On the inside of the gully(moat), you can see the eroded stones of the ramparts and some cracks.Apart from this, some stones of Chautharya can be seen on the inside but there is a huge amount of bush growing on it. Other remnants have been completely destroyed as the rest of the fort is being farmed.
As there are no other remains on the fort, your journey is completed in 15 minutes. It is convenient to have a private vehicle with you while roaming around the fort.

source: Durgbharari

14. Vijaygad/Tavasal Fort

Vijaygad Fort is a fort located 60 km from Chiplun, in Ratnagiri district, of Maharashtra. This fort is located north of the Jaigad Fort on the northern bank of shastri river creek.

History

Much less history is known about this fort. It is a small fort about an acre in area, it is surrounded by a ditch on the three sides. In 1862 the walls were found to be in ruins and had only one gun. there was no garrison and no water.

How to Reach

The nearest town is Chiplun and Guhagar. The fort is close to village Tavsal. A wide motorable road leads to the entrance gate of the fort. It takes about 10 minutes to have a walk around the fort.

Places to see

There is one entrance gate in the fort with some fortification.

Forts in Chiplun Taluka

15. Gowalkot/Govindgad Fort

Gowalkot is a small fort located on the southern bank of Vashishti River, about 10.0 km (6.2 mi) from Chiplun in Maharashtra, India. This fort is guarded by the river on three sides and a trench on the fourth side. Its population which includes Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists. According to old natives of Gowalkot, the history of Gowalkot goes back to a King, who was Hindu and finally was converted in Muslim, his surname was “Chougle”, and most of the land in Gowalkot is owned by the Chougle family. All other owner of land in Gowalkot must have either received the land as gift [or bought] from Chougle family must have lost in “kul kaida” a rule by the government.

History

Famous for its ancient fort build by Siddi Habshi of Janjira in 1690. The Gowalkot Fort covers an area of around two acres. In 1660, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj  won this fort and renamed as Govindgad. Sambhaji Maharaj lost this fort to Siddi. In 1736, Chimaji Appa won this fort by killing Siddi Sat in battle. In this battle Siddhi Sat lost 1300 soldiers and Maratha army lost 800 soldiers. Tulaji Angre/Sarkhel Tulaji, in 1745, captured it from. Later in 1755, Tulaji Angre lost it to the Peshwa and eventually in 1818 East India Company took control from the Peshwa. Portuguese ships attacked this fort during the Siege of Dabhol.

How to Reach

Goddess Karanjai temple which is at the foothill can be reached by autorickshaws from Chiplun which is 2 kms. Steps behind the temple take us to the fort in 15 minutes.

Places to see

There is beautiful temple of Goddess Karanjeshwar at the foothills. Steps behind this temple lead us to the fort. The main entrance of the fort is in ruins but the two bastions adjoining it are still intact.

While trailing further from the right bastion, one can see two canons, remains of houses to the left, Vashishthi river to the right and Konkan railway, vast fields, Parshuram mountain beyond that.

Moving further, there is a built water pond but has no water in it. Behind this pond there is an elevated structure from where one can see the entire fort.

The fort wall is 8 feet wide and is still intact. There are many steps built at intervals to climb the fortified wall. There is a temple of Goddess Redjai on the fort. While descending from the main doorway, instead of taking the steps proceed towards the Chiplun Water filtration center where one can see remnants of the fort wall. Behind this water filtration center there is a bastion.

Another dilapidated doorway which is on the west side of the fort takes us to Gowalkot jetty where there are 5 canons buried upside down.

16. Navte Fort

Navte fort is in Chiplun taluka and is of Giridurg type. The height from the base of this fort is fifty meters. Gudhe is a village at the base of this fort.Ghude fort is in very densely forest, so the fort is not clearly visible, but it is difficult to enter the fort. On one side of the fort there is a stream and on that stream there is a natural ridge and it has been ingeniously used as a trench.The trench was blocked in 1956 by the construction of a stone wall. In 1967, the dam burst and water seeped into the village.The walls are rebuilt on the upper side of the fort with a sculpture of Lord Shiva carved on the outside.On the outside of the fort there is a construction light.Kasardurg, Manikdurg and Navtedurg are the three forts on the way from Palshet port to Karad market. These forts must have been built on this route for tax collection and protection of traders.

History

The fort was built near Gudhe village by Pawar, a prince of the Vijayanagara Empire, who built a fort near Gudhe village.There is a market on the outside of the fort in medieval times.

How to Reach

Chiplun – Navte(Gudhe) distance is at 28 km.

Sawarde – Navte(Gudhe) distance is at 23 km.

Places to see

There is a pond dug in a rock. Apart from this, Hanuman temple, Vamaneshwar temple, seven wells and stone idols of Vishnu can be seen on the fort.

17. Barwai Fort

Barvai is built on a mountain which stands separate from the linked ranges of Sahyadri, near Chiplun. Its references are found in a book named “Daspaticha Itihaas”, which was found in Pedhambe village. This fort is said to have been used as a watch tower.There are no remnants on the fort now. We can find the idol of Goddess Bhairi on the mountain top. A Veergal (stone sculptures carved out in the memory of warriors) is found on the western side on a hillock. Local people call it “Vetal”. There is a small cave beyond this, which is closed. On the northern part of the fort we can find 3 square shaped ditches, and some plinths of old houses. The further part becomes narrower.

How to Reach

The diversion to Pedhambe is located at 10 km from Chiplun on Chiplun-Karad road. Pedhambe Dhangarwadi (Ambadiwadi) is located at the base of the fort. From here, we can reach the top of the fort in 10 minutes. There are 2 routes to Dhangarwadi.
From Khadpoli : We have to cross a bridge after diversion to reach Pedhambe. After the bridge, to the left side is Khadpoli village. The path to the right of the Sukai Devi temple leads to Dhangarwadi, which is few kms away from here.
From Ugvatwadi : We have to reach Ugvatwadi in Pedhambe village, from where we have to ascend to Dhangarwadi, which takes around 2 hours to reach.

18. Kolkewadi Fort

This fort was built on the hill standing diagonally across the Sahyadri range and behind the Kolkewadi dam which is 10 kms from Chiplun. This trek proves an altogether different experience. The approach path to the fort is covered with thick layer of shed leaves. The tree trunks can be found marked by the Deer denoting their territory. Sometimes we may come across Tiger pug marks and scat remains.

History

Not much information is available on this fort from the historical records. But by studying the built in caves and water tanks it can be traced back to the Shilahar era. The main aim to build this fort must have been to keep a watch on the nearby region.

How to Reach

One has to reach Alore village which is 5 kms from Chiplun on the Chiplun-Karad road. From Alore a road takes us to Kolkewadi village at 5 kms. At the end of this village there is a hamlet named Buddhawadi. S.T. buses ply till here. An unpaved road from here leads to a small settlement named Dhangarwadi. Apart from rainy season one can reach the hill base which is 1 km before Dhangarwadi by a small four wheeled private vehicle. After reaching here take the unpaved path to the right and after climbing half way on the hill take the left path which goes through a dense jungle and further reaches the fort.

Places to see

The approach to the fort passes through a thick jungle. Moving upwards we arrive on the arm of the mountain from where the fort summit can be visible at about a height of 100 feet. A path to the right passes alongside the mountain circumnavigating it. Moving ahead on this track we come across a water tank which is 10X5 ft in dimension and couple of Veerghals and sculptures are kept in it. Further on this path after circumnavigating the mountain we have to descend a small rock patch. After descending this we arrive in the cleft between the fort hill and the Sahyadri range behind it. By climbing the main Sahyadri mountain range from here we come across a water tank built in rock and it has potable water. Various pug marks can be seen here which indicates that this area is frequently visited by wild animals. Heading back to the main hill of the fort start ascending till the mid-point of the hill where we find a pathway going to the left. On this path ahead there are two caves carved in rock. In front of these caves there is a small narrow pathway carved in rock which goes up to the corner of the hill. The main entrance of the fort might have been located here. One of the caves is still in good condition whereas the other doesn’t have its roof. This cave is 5 X 5 X 8 feet in dimension and has window openings in it to allow light and air flow freely. These might have been the porches built for the doorkeepers. The cave with no roof has holds in it which can be used to climb to reach another cave. The roof of this cave is supported on two pillars. There is another cave ahead which has carvings on its entrance. On the inside there is an attick type structure built which the locals refer to as “Palang” which typically means a ‘Cot’. In these caves there are many bats. Further there are two more caves. Going back to the entrance of the fort we can approach the summit of the fort. From the top we can see Jungli Jaigad fort, Kolkewadi dam, Math hill and the beautiful mountain range of Sahyadris.

19. Manikdurg Fort

Manikdurga is situated near Mandki village in Chiplun taluka. Thanks to the efforts of Archaeologist Sachin Joshi from Pune, the fort was discovered and its history revealed. The goods coming from the ancient port of Palshet were dispatched through trade routes safeguarded by Navtedurga, Kasardurga, Manikdurga, Bhairavgad, etc. Manikdurga is also known as “Durgecha Dongar” (The mountain of Durga).Kasardurg, Manikdurg and Navtedurg are the three forts on the way from Palshet port to Karad market. These forts must have been built on this route for tax collection and protection of traders.

History

Manikdurga was a part of Vijaynagar Empire. Later Adilshah captured these forts and destroyed them completely, due to which the fort also faded from the memory of the people.

How to Reach

Chiplun – Savarde – Mandki distance is at 27 km. The road to Mandki village goes from Savarde village on Mumbai – Goa highway. Savarde – Mandki distance is 7 km and Savarde station – Mandki distance is 2 km. From the Amba stop in Mandki, the road to the left takes us to the fort base.

The path to the fort goes through dense tree cover. It takes one hour to reach the top.

Places to see

On the top we find the temple of Sukai Devi. The remnants are scattered everywhere in the forests. On the water tank we find stone carvings of Yakshas. Due to dense tree cover, we can see birds and butterflies here.

Forts in Sangmeshwar Taluka

20. Mahimatgad/Maimatgad

Mahimatgad fort is located in Sangameshwar taluka of Ratnagiri district. The fort is spread from South to North and has good vegetation cover on it. There are many remnants on the fort hidden in the woods. To the north and east of the fort are Kundi and Nigudwadi villages respectively. Every year the local villagers celebrate the festival of Dussehra on the fort.

History

 Mahimatgad was one of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s  most important forts, and helped the Marathas control the trade between the Konkan Coast and the Middle-east. 

How to Reach

Devrukh village is 16 kms from Sangameshwar on the Mumbai-Goa highway and Nive village is 6 kms from Devrukh from where there are two roads. The road to the right goes to Marleshwar and the left road goes to Nigudwadi and Kundi villages at 10 kms. By walking the unpaved road from Nigudwadi for an hour’s time we come to a small path passing through a dense vegetation cover. While passing through this path we can see the fort to our right. In short time we reach a pass between hills. From here one can see the bastion of Mahimatgad to the right, the ridge of the mountain to the left and a path going to Kundi village in the front. Choose the path going into the woods to the right. This takes us 20 minutes to reach the open space below the bastion. A path from here goes to the left and is marked with two stones kept one upon other. 20 minutes trail by this path takes us to the fort. One has to make sure that while ascending the fort the bastion has to be always on our right side. Many butterflies can be encountered on the way to the fort.

One can reach halfway in rainy season from Nigudwadi to Kundi by a Jeep or Car using the unpaved road after which the fort takes one hour to climb.

Places to see

The eastward facing door of the fort is still intact. There are porches built in the doorway for doorkeepers. After entering the fort we come across two routes. The one in front takes to the built in water tank adjoining the fortification wall. Due to leakage the water seeps into the ground and thus this water tank mostly remains dry. Moving ahead from this tank there is another tank built in with the support of pillars. The water in it is potable. Proceeding ahead there is a toilet built in the fortification wall. The wall on this side has been built just by keeping stones one upon another without the use of limestone. Head back to the entrance and take the steps upwards which takes us to a dilapidated doorway. After entering from here there is a built in water tank to the left. Due to leakage the water seeps into the ground and thus this water tank mostly remains dry. Going across the tank there is a temple of Goddess Mahishasur Mardini and many other idols have been kept. There are two small canons in front of the temple. By taking the path in front of the temple we come across a large canon hidden between the trees. Going back to the tank and halfway to it there is a path which foes up to the hill. After climbing this path there is a temple of Lord Shiva and a Nandi outside it. The Shiv linga is covered with metal. Proceeding ahead there is an idol of Lord Hanuman carved in stone. By climbing this route through the trees we come to the base of the citadel. Here we can see a tapering shaped bastion but the approach to it is bit difficult. The place from where there is a flag pole the entire stretch of the fort can be seen. From the citadel Vishalgad can be seen to the south and also the adjoining region.

21. Bhavanigad Fort

Bhavanigad is located in Sangameshwar district, 12 km north of Sangameshwar town on Mumbai-Goa old Highway. There is a big temple of Goddess Bhavani which is visited by many pilgrims every year.

History

Very less is known about the history of this fort. Experts claim it to be built in the 14th century. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj  renovated this fort in 1661 and built the temple of Bhavani Mata. The British won this fort in 1818.

How to Reach

The diversion to Tural village is 11 km north of Sangameshwar on Mumbai-Goa highway. From here, reach to Kadvai (by rickshaw) or Mhadgewadi (if a private vehicle). The trail to fort starts from here. ST buses ply regularly on this route. The fort is about 2 km from Mhadgewadi.

Places to see

Kadvai is the village near to the fort. As we proceed on the trail to the fort, we pass through Mhadgewadi, Gosaviwadi and Shirkewadi, 3 communities in the area of the fort. The trail divides into two and the way to the right takes us to the top. After a steep walk for 5 minutes, we reach towards few cisterns. After some time we reach towards the main entrance and to the main temple; this is a good accommodation on the fort. In this temple, there is a bust of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and an ancient idol of Goddess Bhavani. This is the citadel of the fort, where the temple is located. Behind the temple is the entrance of the citadel, and the trail through this leads to the southern tip where a few more cisterns are present.

Forts in Ratnagiri Taluka

22. Jaigad

Jaigad Fort is a coastal fortification that is located at the tip of a peninsula in Ratnagiri District at a distance of 14 km from the temple town of Ganpatipule, in the state of Maharashtra, India. Nestled on a cliff, it overlooks a bay formed where the Shastri river enters the Arabian Sea. It has a commanding view of the bay, the nearby power plant and the open sea. A jetty port Angrey, and a lighthouse is located nearby. Although in ruins, most of the fort’s outer wall and ramparts still stand. A deep moat surrounds the fort side not facing the cliff edge. In the middle of the 13 acre fort lies the palace of Kanhoji Angre, a Ganpati temple and wells to store water. It is a protected monument.

History

Jaigad fort is said to have been built by Bijapur Kings in the 16th century. Later it passed into the hands of Naiks of Sangameshwar. He had 7-8 villages and 600 troops under his command. He defeated combined forces of Bijapur and Portuguese in 1583 and 1585. In 1713 Jaigad was one of the ten forts which was ceded by Balaji Vishwanath Peshwa to Kanhoji Angre. In June 1818 this fort was captured by British without any struggle.

How to Reach

Jaigad is 53 kms from Ratnagiri-Ganpatipule. S.T. buses are also available from Ratnagiri/Ganpatipule.
With one’s own vehicle after visiting Jaigad, we can cross over the creek for Vijaygad fort with the car transported on boat. After Vijaygad fort proceed to Anjanvel for Gopalgad fort. Accommodation for overnight could be available in Chiplun, Guhagar, Velneshwar.

Places to see

Jaigad is based on a small raised ground like a plateau and the smaller version of the fort is located just before its entrance which is spread till the creek. To separate the main fort from the plateau a trench has been dug which was kept dry and due to which the enemy would face difficulty in directly attacking the fortification wall. The main entrance of the fort is hidden by the bastions to avoid any direct attack. The British officers established their offices in this fort bastions thereby using the narrow windows as office windows which were otherwise used to attack in the ancient times. This has lost the bastion’s glory and beauty. There are carvings of two lotus flowers on both sides of the entrance door. There is also another sculpture carved in the center but as it is half ruined it is now beyond identification. Two porches are built after the fort entrance and a large room has been built in the fortification wall which resembles an ammunition storage warehouse. There are also stairs on the fortified wall. There used to be a three storied building in front of the entrance but now only two stories remain. Behind this building there are two large water tanks built to collect rain water. Besides the tanks there is a temple of Lord Ganesh. In front of the temple there is mansion which is now in ruins. Its arches on the right side are totally devastated today. The one to the left is still intact. There are two wells behind these structures with water in it throughout the year.

23. Ratnadurga / Bhagwati Fort

Ratnadurga Fort is Surrounded by the Arabian sea on three sides, which is a structure in a form of the horseshoe as wide as 1000 meters and as long as 1300 meters. It is spread over 120 acres and was once a stronghold of the Maratha empire. It gives you a splendid view of the sunset and Arabian sea with the shore waves screeching in your ears making it a memorable trip far from the city hustle.

This fort is an important fort in Ratnagiri district. The fort is a main tourist attraction due to the Bhagawati Temple inside the fort.

History

This fort was built during the Bahamani period. In 1670 Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj won the fort from the hands of Adil Shah of Bijapur. King Shivaji Maharaj’s  had built protecting towers on two commanding points, one at the south and the other near the old court house. The Citadel defense was improved by maratha Koli admiral Kanhoji Angre in 1750–1755. Dhondu Bhaskar Pratinidhi did some minor repairs to the fort during Peshwa regime (1755–1818). The fort was later won by the British in 1818. The temple of Bhagavati was renovated in 1950.

How to Reach

The nearest town is Ratnagiri. The fort is at walkable distance from the town. A wide road leads to the entrance gate of the fort. It takes about an hour to have a walk around the fort.

Places to see

The other part of the Ratnadurga fort is the light house. A downwards path on the right hand side of the fort leads through the fisher folk’s hutments to the Bhagawati port, and a road on the left side leads to the light house. You can find the tomb of Ratnagiri Baba in a dome on the left side of this road and the name Ratnadurga must have originated from here itself. You must seek prior permission to visit the light house. In a bastion besides the light house, 4 canons are placed out of which 2 canons are almost 4 feet long whereas the other 2 canons are almost 12 feet long.Inside the fort is Bhagawati temple, a pond and a well. There is a cave below the fort. The strongest of all the bastion is Rede Buruj.

24. Purnagad

Purnagad Fort / पूर्णगड is a fort located 25km from Ratnagiri, in Ratnagiri district, of Maharashtra. This fort is a very small, not so important fort in Ratnagiri district. The Fort is spread over 22acres and located on a northern hill on Muchkundi River.

History

Purnagad was built in 1724 by the head of the Maratha Naval Admiral Sarkhel Kanhoji Aangre. In 1818, after the rule of the Peshwa’s ended, the fort was passed down to the British. 

How to Reach

Purnagad fort is 25 kms from Ratnagiri which is easily accessible by a bus or a pricate vehicle from Ratnagiri. It takes 10 minutes from the base to reach the fort top by taking the steps.

Places to see

The fort is built using the Black basalt rock. The Fort is rectangular in shape. There is a Maruti Idol at the entrance gate. On the entrance gate, Sun-Moon and Ganapati are carved in the stone. Inside the fort is a Holy Basil stand and ruins of the buildings. The other gate opens on the sea side.

There is a temple of Lord Hanuman near the main entrance of the fort which is hidden between two bastions. There are porches in the doorway. The small size of the fort is understood once we enter the fort premises. On the inside portion of the doorway there is a Lotus flower carved in stone. Just opposite there a raised platform behind which there is a doorway to the sea side. There are remnants of houses to the right and a Tulsi Vrindavan structure of a tomb to the left.

We can circumnavigate the fort on the platform of the fortified wall which is to the right of the entrance way of the fort. Eventually we come to sea facing side of the fort and where the wall is somewhat in ruined shape and has a sea side doorway which is still intact. The whole fort takes about 15 minutes to circumnavigate.

Forts in Lanja Taluka

25. Satawali Fort

History

Satwali is a village in Lanza taluka of Ratnagiri district, 18 km from Lanja town. The river Muchkundi flows through this village. The fort of Satwali was built to monitor the trade going through this river.

How to Reach

Satavli is 18 kms from Lanja which is a major town on the Mumbai-Goa highway and regular buses ply from Lanja and Rajapur for Satavli. The buses from Lanja are more frequent than Rajapur. Also, a road from Lanja goes via Satavli to Nate village where Yashwantgad is located and Ambolgad fort. The road which takes us to the village opposite the school in Satavli further leads to the fort entrance in 5 minutes. With one’s own private vehicle forts of Satavli, yashwantgad (Nate), Ambolgad, Purnagad can be visited in a day. Overnight stay option can be considered at Ratnagiri.

Places to see

The fort stands opposite to the banks of Muchkundi river and as the main aim of this fort was for vigilance purpose the size of Satavli fort is relatively small. The fortification wall was built by placing stones one upon another and thus due to poor strength the walls and bastions are in ruins currently. There is a huge tree in front of the entrance door, a well next to it and there are two bastions in a dilapidated condition next to the door way which too stands in a poor condition. A carved stone can be seen on the back side of the tree which resembles a part of a temple pillar. Moving ahead we come across remnants of structures. The five bastions of the fort are in poor condition and cannot be reached due to dense vegetation cover on the fort.


While coming towards the fort from the village we can see Veerghals, Satighals and some idols kept on a raised platform. Also there is a canon kept near Vitthal-Rakhumai temple.