Monday, 10 May 2010

Forts of Konkan 3: Sion Fort शीवचा किल्ला

Location: Sion, Dist. Mumbai City

The name Sion itself has a funny story of how the names of villages in Mumbai have changed over the time. Actual name of the Village Sion is Sheev. Sheev means boundary of the village in Marathi and Sion is actually boundary of Parel Island of Mumbai city and beyond starts Mumbai suburban region or the regions which was known as Sashti in the past. Now when Portuguese captured this region they pronounced this Sheev with their distinct nasal character of the language and spelled the name Sion which could pronounced as Sheev but with an added nasal tone to it. When British took control they just spelled the name as it is but pronounced the name as Sayan as we all do nowadays including the original residents. Then as it was a boundary it was mandatory to guard it. Portuguese wanted to guard it from Marathas so they erected some fortification which was later strengthened by the Governor of the British East India Company Gerard Aungier during the period 1669 to 1677. It has more characteristics of a watch post than a full fledged fort meant for protection.

The fort has a garden developed at its base. The garden is known as Jawaharlal Nehru Udyan. The actual fort is all in crumbling condition and full of graffiti chalked out on its walls. Worst thing of all is it has Archaeological Survey office situated in its premises. It is a living proof of how Indian systems and the majority of people who are electing the office bearers of these systems are ignorant of their own past. The beautiful views which might have been offered in the past have been changed to those of high rise buildings, slums and rubbish but they also include view of Thane creek and the salt pans. Still to get an awareness, the fort is worth a visit.

The view from Sion at present.

Nearby attractions:

How to reach:
With your own vehicles:
The fort is near to the junction of roads where road coming from Borivali- Dharavi meets Eastern Express Highway. People coming from locations other than Mumbai should make a point to reach this juntion.
With Public transport:
It is at walkable distance from Sion railway station which is on Central line of Mumbai Suburban Railway system. ST buses and BEST buses travelling through Sion have a stop near this fort. For direction, one can first ask for SSC board office and then Sion Fort.

Nearby Places for stay: