Janjira – The Indomitable Fort

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Among several amazing forts in Maharashtra, few have the history or the unique story like Janjira fort. As we all know, it’s built on water, which alone makes it worth exploring or writing about.

Most of us have seen it at least once, a school trip or a trip with college friends; the fact remains unchanged that not all of us know about its history. Worry not, today, we’ll explore this gorgeous fort through words, and if it rouses your interest, then head out and check the actual fort out yourself!

Janjira Fort from Pune

Known as Janjira Jal-durg as well, Janjira Fort was built by Malik Ambar. Covered by the sea from all the sides, it’s also known as the water fort, making it much harder to conquer. It’s located in a quaint town called Murud, and that’s why verbally, the fort is always referred to as ‘Murud-Janjira’.

Built during the 17thcentury, rumor has it that there were 500 cannons in the fort; the reason behind its superior defense. However, only a few of them are still standing.

The fort stands at an impressive height of 40 feet, and is bounded on all sides by high, unbreakable walls. This is the main reason why the fort can withstand the massive attack by waves, constantly, and still not fall.

The fort has survived several foreign attacks and at a point, it became a taunting challenge to outsiders; several enemies tried to capture it just for their pride. The island fortress was under the control of the Adil Shahi Dynasty until the reign of Ibrahim II, that’s when the fort was lost by the dynasty.

Pune
Image by Vikas Rana

Later, during Aurangzeb’s rule, the fort was attacked by the Portuguese, British, and even the Marathas, and yet it couldn’t be captured. Eventually, during the Peshwa rule, Bajirao along with the renowned warrior Chimaji Appa, attacked the fort and the Siddis, and 1500 Siddis were killed along with their leader.

Finally, a peace treaty was signed and the Siddis kept control of Janjira and two other forts, but their power was vastly reduced. After our independence, the still-unconquered fort fell under the Indian territory after 1947.

To reach the fort (about 4 hours from Pune), you have to take a detour drive which is 2 km from Murud. Now the major attractions of the fort include- of course, the cannons, the gigantic and intricately designed door also known as ‘Darya Darwaza’.

Pune

Within the fort there also lies natural fresh water lakes, a mosque, and a quarter for officers. Reaching the actual fort is impossible by road, a ferry or occasional boats transport visitors till the main gate.

What follows then is a walk through history and memory; within the ruins and stone walls, there’s the indomitable spirit of an era. It’s not just a fort, it’s a reminder of the architectural wonder during a time when architecture didn’t have as many developments as it does now.

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