Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Forts of Konkan 25 : Arnala Fort अर्नाळा किल्ला

Arnala,Tal.Vasai Dist. Thane
Island fort.

Things to see:
Arnala fort is located on an island off the village Arnala which is lies on the north western corner of the Vasai Taluka. The fort offers to see its big walls which are still strong and have a wide pathway. The fort is spread on about 4 ha of area and has oval shape. There are some inscriptions on the main entrance which indicate that the fort was renovated by Peshva Bajirao I. Carvings of Tiger and elephant can be found on the outer stone entrance. There are in all 9 bastions. The fort premises also have one well which has octagonal shape and known as Pushkarini. There are temples of Trimbakeshwar, Bhavani Mata, Swami Nityanand and two tombs. At the southern end of the island there is one lone bastion and has one small windowlike entrance.

The fort was first build by Mahamud Begda, Sultan of Gujarat in the 1516 who ruled the area of North Konkan during that time. The fort was mainly used for keeping a watch and control ships sailing through the nearby sea. The Portuguese naval forces captured this fort in the 1534. They had named this fort Ilha das Vaccas and ruled the area till for 203 years till 1737 when Maratha forces lead by Shankaraji Pant captured this fort with the help of locals in a surprise attacks, as part of their Vasai Campaign (i.e. freeing Konkan coast from Portuguese forces), after some intial repeated but unsuccessful attacks. It was the first victory over Portuguese in the Vasai Campaign. Marathas then rebuilt parts and strengthened the entire fort. The fort was won by British in 1781 but again returned it to Marathas as part of the treaty of Salbai war. The fort came under British rule again in 1817 after downfall of Peshavas. A famous Hindu spiritual guru Swami Nityanand was living on the island in the memory of whom a small temple has been built.

The fort walls are in very good condition. However inside the fort, the villagers have their own private agricultural plots on which vegetables are grown. Arnala fort village has a population of 3000 and mainly inhabited by the fishermen community.

Nearby attractions:
Arnala beach, St. Peter's church in Arnala

How to reach:

By your own vehicle:
Follow the route as given below to reach,
Ghodbunder Shirsad Phata VirarArnala
Pune/ Goa
From Arnala village take ferry boat service for Arnala fort from Arnala bunder.

By public transport:
Arnala is connected by direct ST buses from Thane, Pune and Kolhapur. One can reach Virar, which lies on Western line of the Mumbai suburban local railway, from Dadar station by train. From Virar there are frequent buses or shared auto rikshaws for Arnala. From Arnala bunder or port there is regular small motorboat service to Arnala fort village and takes 15 minutes to reach.

Nearby Places for stay:
Arnala has many resorts. Virar has some lodges and hotels.