Murud Janjira the majestic sounding fort is a must visit among weekend getaways from Mumbai. What makes this Fort remarkable is that it is actually 3 kms away from the coast on the Arabian Sea. To top it all, the Island Fort built on the saline Sea water has fresh water wells for the thirsty traveler. The beach at Murud is lovely and one of the very best on the Maharashtra Coastline. Murud Janjira is a great beach and one of the finest weekend getaways from Mumbai.
Murud is 5 hours’ drive from Mumbai via Panvel and Alibaug. One can also take a ferry from Gateway to Mandwa, and then cover 50Kms on road. It is a convenient option among weekend getaways from Mumbai.
There are several Homestays available if you want to avoid the Hotel Crowd. Priyasiddhi Bunglow, Omkar Lodge, Green Park Holiday Home and Hira Residency are a few.
Murud Janjira Fort was originally built in the mid-16th Century with Wood by fishermen to protect themselves from Pirates. Ram Patil was the headman of the fishermen of Janjira. After building the Wooden precursor to the Janjira Fort of today, he fell out of favour with the Nizam. The Nizam sent his soldier Piram Khan disguised as a traveller and he landed with 3 ships full of soldiers and took over Janjira much like how the Greeks defeated Troy.
Piram Khan then built an impregnable stone fort that still stands tall. The fort was completed by Siddhi Sural Khan in 1728. Armies of British, Portuguese and Marathas made many attempts over the years, but none could take Murud Janjira.
Murud Janjira Fort is spread over 22 acres and can be approached by taking a boat from Rajapuri Jetty. It is a compelling reason for Murud Janjira to list among must visits among weekend getaways from Mumbai. It has 19 bastions ranging from 30-40 feet in height, still intact. As you approach the Fort, you can see a beautiful sculpture of a giant Tiger like creature clasping elephants in its claws!
Cannons played a crucial role as a deterrent to the enemies of Janjira. There were as many as 265 Cannons weighing more than 500 tons at Janjira Fort. The Cannons at Janjira were built with “Panch Dhatu” or 5 metals- Copper, Gold, Lead, Silver and Iron. The effect of this brilliant mixture can still be seen on a sunny day when temperatures are souring around while the Cannons remain cool. 'Kalal Bangadi’, 'Chavari' and 'Landa Kasam’ were the most famous of the lot.
During its hey days, Janjira was self-sufficient and a flourishing colony. It had a Palace, quarters for residents, Mosques, Shops as well as water tanks. The King used to live in a Seesh Mahal or Glass Palace. There was an underwater route which connected the Palace to the Administrative Building. The King took this route by entering the Chor Darwaza or Secret Door!
Legend says that the King had severed the hands of all workers who built the secret passage but did compensate them heavily. One can still see the remains of a Royal Bath. This huge Bath for the Ladies of the Palace used to be fed by multiple streams of water.
Even today one can taste sweet fresh water from one of the Wells on the Island Fort. It does seem like a miracle to find fresh water in the middle of the Sea!
The rulers of Janjira moved into a magnificent Palace built in Mughal and Gothic styles in 1885. Janjira was recognized as a princely state during the British Period. The Palace is precariously placed on the cliff over the Arabian Sea providing a breathtaking view and provides yet another reason for Murud Janjira to be a must visit among weekend getaways from Mumbai.
The Marathas made as many as 13 unsuccessful attempts at conquering Murud Janjira. Sambhaji, Shivaji Maharaj’s son even built an underwater tunnel but still failed to conquer Janjira. Finally Sambhaji built a fort of his own called Padmadurg a few KMs north west of Janjira. Padmadurg was planned as a launch pad to attack Janjira but due to other engagements of the Marathas, it never happened. Padmadurg can be visited after taking permission from the Navy.
Murud Beach is one of the loveliest on the Arabian Sea another reason for Murud Janjira to be a must visit among weekend getaways from Mumbai. After visiting the Fort, the best thing one can do is to hit the beach and relax till the Sun sets.
There is a Dattatreya Temple featuring the holy trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, on a hillock towards the North.
Janjira Caves is the other place of interest in the vicinity.
For a travelogue on a serene Lake Side holiday set besides Maharashtra's tallest peak of Kalsubai, visit Bhandardhara-a Lake Holiday.
For my travelogues on other weekend getaways from Bangalore, visit Bangalore Weekend Ideas.
For weekend getaways from Delhi, visit Holiday ideas near Delhi
For weekend getaways from Chandigarh, visit Holiday Ideas near Chandigarh