Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Forts of Konkan 30 : Kille Vijaydurg किल्ले विजयदुर्ग

Vijaydurg, Tal.Devgad Dist. Sindhudurg
Seaside fort

Things to see:
Located on the mouth of Waghotan creek, the fort has 27 storng bastions which are protected by big heaps of stones. The main entrance to the fort is from the land side while other three sides face water directly. The way to the fort is not straight but has many bends. Inside the fort premises there are some government building such as police station and a government rest house. The building which has government rest house has an underground chamber. Near this chamber there is one big water tank constructed with laterite rocks. There is no water in it. In front of this structure one can see some cement platforms which were constructed by an astronomer named Lauchiere. There is one secret underground tunnel way towards the side of the creek from the fort to the palatial home of the Dhulup in the village. The tunnel is closed. Some other buildings including one store house for the ammunition and some cannons dot the fort area. A light house is also there in the fort. There are some under water walls around the fort which can be seen by performing scuba diving.

The fort first constructed by the Shilahar dyansty King Bhoj II from the period 1193 to 1205. The fort was meant for controlling the trade along the Waghotan creek which lead to ancient port town of Kharepatan. The fort was known as Gheria as it was part of the Girye village. After Shilahar the fort came under the rule of Yadav dynasty of Devgiri in 1218 and then Vijaynagar Kings in 1351. Vijaynagar Kings were then defeated by Bahamani Kingdome which itself was disintegrated in five small kingdoms during 1450 to 1526. Vijaydurg became part of the territory of Bijapur sultanate. The fort was won by Shivaji in 1653 and it was renamed as Vijaydurg. Present day structure seen in the fort were built mostly during his reign. He had planned to make this a major centre of navy. Its control came under Kanhoji Angre who was chief of Maratha Navy. He made this fort his headquarters. British, Dutch and Portuguese forces tried to take this fort at different times in early 1700's but in vain as all were defeated by Angre. These victories made Angre to get more and he tried to gain complete control over the area by revolting against Peshava who were chief of Maratha Confederacy. Due to this reason Peshava forces with the help of British faught with Angre who lost to these joint forces. British gained control of Vijaydurg but then handed it over to Peshava. Anandrao Dhulup, chief of Peshava navy controlled this area from 1757 to 1818 till the downfall of Maratha rule. In 1898, a famous astronomer named Lauchiere came to the fort to study solar eclipse. His research resulted in the discovery of the Helium gas. Some underwater walls around the fort have been discovered.

The fort In the year 2006 the villagers of Vijaydurg celebrated its 800th year. The fort requires lot of restoration.

Nearby attractions:
There is one old dock near Vijaydurg village in the Waghotan creek which was built by Angre. It is 110 m in length and 70 m in breadth. Rameshwar Mandir in neighboring Girye village is also a big attraction. Around the fort, dolphins can be spotted sometimes. Alphonso Mangoes grown near Vijaydurg are famous.

How to reach:
By your own vehicle:
Follow the route as given below to reach,
Rajapur Sagve
Kolhapur Gaganbavada
Vijaydurg fort is in the town.

By public transport:
Vijaydurg is connected by direct ST buses from Mumbai, Goa, Pune and Kolhapur. The fort is near ST bus stand.

Nearby Places for stay: