The oldest fort on the Sindhudurg coast, Vijaydurg lies in the Devgad Taluka of Sindhudurg district. It is surrounded by Arabian Sea on three sides.
Vijaydurg was constructed in the regime of Raja Bhoj of Shilahar dynasty in 1205 (construction period 1193-1205). The fort was earlier known as 'Gheria' as it is situated in the village 'Girye'. Shivaji seized this fort from Adil Shah of Bijapur in 1653 and renamed it to 'Vijay Durg' as the then Hindu solar year's name was 'Vijay' (meaning victory).
After the fort was captured by Shivaji, he extended the area of fort by constructing three fort walls on the eastern side. This fort was also known as "Eastern Gibraltar" as it was impregnable for a long time due to its locational advantage. It has a 40 km long waghotan / kharepatan creek. The big ships couldn't enter the shallow waters of this creek and hence Maratha warships were anchored in this creek. Vijaydurg has a 200m long, underwater tunnel connecting it to the village.
The roof of the tunnel has been pinched to protect it from land-slides and is well ventilated. The fencing compound wall constructed at 8-10 m depth undersea, 300ft from the fort is another architectural wonder. The wall is constructed using laterite stones. Majority of attacking ships met their watery grave after colliding on this wall as this wall is not visible above the sea level.
Vijaydurg Fort, dating back to 1205, and constructed during the rule of Raja Bhoj, is the oldest on the Sindhudurg coast. It was earlier called as, “Gheria,” going by the name of the village, “Girye,” in which it is located. It was conquered in the year 1653 by Chatrapati Shivaji after defeating the king of Bijapur, Adilshaha. After the fort came into the hands of Shivaji, it was renamed as, “Vijaydurg Fort,” basing on the name of the Hindu mythological year, “Vijay” during which it was conquered. The name ‘Vijay’ means, victory.
When Vijaydurg Fort was first constructed, it occupied a total area of 5 acres and was surrounded by the Arabian Sea on all sides. After few years, when the eastern channel was dugout, roads were constructed on one side providing pedestrian access to the fort. Now the fort is surrounded by the sea on three sides only. During the regime of Chatrapati Shivaji, three great fort walls were constructed increasing the total area of the fort to 17 acres.
According to the history, this fort remains to be one of the two forts in the Maratha kingdom where Shivaji himself used to hoist the saffron coloured flag. This fort is also famously known as, “Eastern Gibraltar,” as it was almost impenetrable just the great European fort, “Gibraltar.” This fort had many advantages when it comes to the war front. One such advantage is the 40 km lengthy kharepatan creek containing shallow waters which denied any entrance to the big warships thus protecting the fort from any unprecedented attacks. Shivaji used this fort as a port to anchor and repair Maratha warships. Another advantage of the kharepatan creek was that the warships anchored at the bay were invisible to the naked eye from the far end of the sea.
Vijaydurg Fort’s architectural excellence is spellbinding. It houses a 200 m long underwater tunnel which is completely manmade. It has a pinched roof to protect the tunnel from any landslides and is also well ventilated. Today, this tunnel is partially damaged, which if repaired can attract a lot more tourists as well as architecture students.
Yet another architectural wonder is its compound wall which is constructed 300 ft away from the fort. It runs almost 10 m deep into the sea and serves as a barrier to contain the enemy warships. History has it that many warships met their grave after running into this invisible barrier
Places to see inside Vijaydurg Fort:
* Construction: This fort is a fine example of strong ancient architecture. The fort was constructed by Raja Bhoj of Shilahar Dynasty. The construction of the fort took place between 1193 to 1205.
* Walls: It is a huge fort with three level of walls & has 27 bastions. The area of the fort is about 17 acres; it takes around 2 - 3 hours to see all the things. The walls are made of huge black rocks (Laterites). The walls of the fort are about 8 to 10-meter high.
* Caves: Few caves like structures are also present inside the Vijaydurg fort. The fort is covered by sea on 3 sides and offers magnificent views of the Arabian sea.
* Water tank : There is also a big water tank, which was the main source of sweet water for people staying on the fort.
* Cannon Balls: Some old cannon balls have also been kept inside the fort. Even today, you can see blow spots of cannon balls on walls of the fort.
* Escape Tunnel: There was also a 200 m long tunnel for evacuation during an emergency. Another end of this tunnel was in the Dhulap’s palatial house in the near village.
* Underwater Wall inside the sea :
A few years back, Oceanographic experts have discovered a submerged wall of length 100 meters east of the fort. This under-sea wall is 3 meters high, 7 meters wide and 122 meters long. The wall is composed of Laterite rock and has a depth of 8-10 meter under the sea. So when enemy ships tried to attack the fort, they collided with this underwater wall and shattered into pieces! Portuguese had lost their 2 ships in an attempt to capture Vijaydurg fort.
Vijaydurg A small town located in the Maharashtra state, Vijaydurg lies along India’s coastline. It is at a distance of around 485 km from Mumbai and lies in the district of Sindhudurga. It was formerly known as Geriah. Its idyllic location between the Arabian Sea on one side and the Sahayadri Ranges on the other makes it a place worthy of visit. The town of Vijaydurg and the district of Sindhudurg as a whole served as a naval base during the Maratha rule. Even today it is a functioning seaport. Vijaydurg poses as an ideal place to de-stress after a hectic weekend. Virgin, untouched beaches, historical forts – Vijaydurg has a lot to offer to the quintessential tourist. The beaches are lined by a thick green forest rich with coconut trees and palms. Mango plantations fill the entire region with the heavenly smell of juicy Alphonso mangoes ever summer. There are typical houses made of red wood and stapled roofs that increase the beauty.
Tourist Places In And Around Vijaydurg
Vijaydurg is famous for the Vijaydurg Fort – also known by the name Fort Victor – that was built by Maharaj Shivaji during his Maratha rule in India. It was built more than 300 years back, in the 17th century. The Fort was also called Gheriya as it was surrounded on three out of the four sides by sea. The fort was a force to be reckoned with during the Peshwa and Maratha rule, and considered to be invincible by the penetrating foreign enemies who attempted their very best to ravage the place. The fort has three layers of walls built around it, and several towers and buildings within the vicinity, making the fort formidable. It is stretched out on an area of 17 acres. Built on a massive scale, this fort was captured at one point by the Britishers, who renamed the Fort to Fort Augustus or the Ocean Fort. Architectural enthusiasts will delight in the charm that this centuries-old structure still manages to captivate visitors with. The fort is an architectural genius because of the manner in which Shivaji took advantage of its location. The Kharpetan creek linked to this fort makes entrance of large ships and vessels into the vicinity practically impossible. This area was used to harbour the warships of the Maratha clan. This fort hence earned the name of the ‘Eastern Gibraltor’. There is also a platform that was constructed in the Arabian sea for the purpose of guarding – another marvel worth checking out. The naval dock is one place where the Maratha warships were repaired. It went by the name Wagjotan Creek, placed about a kilometre and a half away from the fort. This is interestingly the one of the only two forts where Shivaji embarked the saffron flag. The Torana Fort is the other place. The nearby area sees numerous temples with idols of various deities ranging from Maruti to Mahapurush and Mahadeo. There also exists a rustic, age-old temple known as the Rameshwar Temple. It is famous amongst worshippers and Hindu followers.
What To Not Miss Out On, While You're There!
You cannot visit the town of Vijaydurg and not taste the local flavour here. The Malvani Curry is high on the list of ‘Must-Try’ while you are here. Sol Kadhi is another item that cannot be missed. Fish devotees will be delighted in the variety of fish delicacies available here. The people here are warm and hospitable. Accommodation shouldn’t be a problem too. If you happen to travel to Vijaydurg during the season of summer, don’t forget to eat the fresh and juicy Alphonso mangoes and jackfruits that are grown here. Pay a visit to the Cashew Factory and witness how cashew nut is processed. Vijaydurg Weather
The semi tropical climate at Vijaydurg ensures a year round pleasantness. Travelling during the summer season is usually advised against, given the heat of the surging temperature. The monsoons see abundant rainfall and transform this region into a panoramic sight. Best Time To Visit Vijaydurg The winters, however, are the best time to visit this place as the temperature is cool and soothing. It makes for the best time to enjoy the attractions that this small town has to offer. How To Reach Vijaydurg Vijaydurg is easily accessible from all parts of Maharashtra, and even outside it. If you are travelling by air, Panaji comes as the closest airport, where from you can set upon a short journey by hiring a cab. If travelling by train, one can get down at either of the two stations of Kudal and Rajapur. Vijaydurg is well attached by road to all the major cities like Pune, Mumbai and many more by means of buses that are state owned or private. The Government of Maharashtra is focussing its energy towards developing the town of Vijaydurg into tourism material. So whether you are an architecture buff or simply a curious traveller who wishes to take pride in belonging to this marvel of a country, visiting Vijaydurg will help you do just that!
IMPORTANT TOURIST INFORMATIONS :
* Timings: You can visit this fort anytime during sunrise and sunset.
* Time Required: 2-3 hours are enough to explore the fort properly.
* Entry Fees / Ticket Charges: Rs.5/- per person as entry fee to see the fort.
* Carry your own water bottle, sunglass, goggles , hat & sunscreens .
* How To Reach Vijaydurg:
* Eating Stuff: There are few restaurants near the Vijaydurg fort area to have food & refreshments. Hotel Suruchi offers good Konkani foods .....
How to reach there?
Nearest Rail Station: Rajapur road (63 km away) is the nearest railway station to reach Vijaydurg fort. Kankavli is the alternative railway station to the fort. It lies on the Konkan Railway Route and is 77 km away from the fort. You can easily get a private vehicle from station till the fort.
By Road: State Transport (ST) buses regularly ply to Vijaydurg from important cities in Maharashtra. One can easily reach Vijaydurg from the Mumbai-Goa national highway (NH-17). It is 436 km from Mumbai (via Chiplun), 184 km from Panaji & 57 km from Kasarde (via SH-115).