Thursday, 3 June 2010

Forts of Konkan 28 : Dutch Factory डचांची वखार

Vengurla, Dist. Sindhudurg
Land fort

Things to see:
Presently there is one main building and some outer walls around the fort.

Vengurla was an important port and trading centre since ancient times and many foreign powers tried to take control of the town. In 16th cnetury the port town was under the rule of Bijapur Sultanate. The town was used by pirates as their retreat during that period. A group of Dutch merchants lead by Leendart Janszoons obtained a permission from those rulers to build a fort structure to be used as a store house in the year 1639. The construction was actually completed in 1655. This structure had fortlike walls and bastions and protected by guards and they used canons and guns for the purpose. There was big trench all around the fort. Inside there were various structures such as castle, store houses etc. Due to this trade to Vengurla increase many fold and the town started receiving trading ships from many countries. The dutch fought with Portuguese over the trade and territorial controls in Goa for which they used the base of Vengurla for supplies. They also built similar but smaller structures in Malvan and Rajapur. But over the time Dutch lost the control due to navy of Shivaji and increasing trade capacities of the British. The Vengurla colony also did not get any support from powerful Dutch colony of Batavia (present day Indonesia). Due to all these reasons they left the town in 1682 and eventually the town came under the control of Khem Sawant of Sawantwadi and subsequently British. The fort was under their control and they moved the government offices in these premises. The offices were moved to camp area in the year 1960 and this fort went into negligence. All the rich wooden structures and its parts have been stolen over the time. In 1974 the site has been officially transferred to the Archaeological Survey of India. During the time of rule of Indira Gandhi some work was started to restore this site with the help of Dutch government but they were not pursued further and the site is in total ruins. 

A painting of Dutch fort during Dutch period.

The fort is in complete ruins. Most of the people in present day Vengurla don't even know about this place called Dutch Factory or Dachanchee Vakhar as it is known in Marathi.

Present condition of the Dutch Factory. (Courtsey: Mr. Waman Parulekar)

Nearby attractions:
Vengurla port and the rock face near the port.

How to reach:
By your own vehicle:
Follow the route as given below to reach,

The site of the fort is near ST bus stand on the small road which is just opposite the Panchayat Samiti office.

By public transport:
Vengurla is connected by direct ST buses from Mumbai, Goa, Pune and Kolhapur. There are some private buses as well which come to Vengurla from Mumbai. One can also come by train from Mumbai upto Kudal or Sawantwadi Road and then take ST buses for Vengurla. The site is at walking distance from ST bus stand.

Nearby Places for stay: