Sindhudurg (sindhu = sea, durg = fort) was built by the Hiroji Indalkar (Deshmukh) – Shivaji's Master Architect & builder, built several forts in Maharashtra two notable are Sindhudurg fort and Raigad in 1664. Shivaji selected the strategic rocky island location, then known as 'Kurte' for the fort, himself - to counter foreign forces, and to keep the nearby Siddis of Murud-Janjira in check.
Entrance to the fort and main watch tower
Shivaji's temple on the fort
The Watch Tower facing the sea
The number of permanent residents staying in the fort has been in decline since the fort's abandonment. Most of the residents moved out because of inadequate employment opportunities, but over 15 families remain in the fort. The Sakpal Naik family (the original 'killedars') still resides in one of the 16 houses in the fort. However, Dr Sarang Kulkarni's underwater discoveries have led to the establishment of the Indian sub-continent's only well-established scuba-diving industry. This has provided the local residents with some employment. Sindhudurg fort is a popular summer destination for Indian and foreign tourists to explore the island and go scuba-diving and snorkelling to view the coral reef on the outskirts of the island.
Sindhudurg town lies in the Sindudurg district to the north of Goa, about 490 km south of Mumbai (Bombay). Sindhudurg can be reached either by train or by bus from Bombay, Goa and Mangalore. The Konkan railway has a railway station at Sindhudurg, but only few trains stop there. Kudal, Kanakvali and Sawantwadi are major railway stations in Sindhudurg district. There are Maharashtra state government (MSRTC) buses running from Mumbai, Pune, Ratnagiri, Sangli, Kolhapur and Goa state government buses (Kadamba Transport Corporation) running from Panaji, Madgaon, Vasco and Pernem to Sindhudurg. Nearest airport is Dabholim (Goa) airport, which is located at approx. 90 Km away from Sawantwadi City (major tourist attraction) of Sindhudurg.
Detail of Sindhudurg fort wall
West side of fort showing a small beach and a door in the wall for beach access
About the families staying in the fort
Soldiers during the reign of Shivaji were known as Mavlas, and the families in the fort are called Mavlas because they are the soldiers' descendants. Their main occupations are farming, fishing and guiding tourists around the fort. Of the 15 families, the two Muslim families have the responsibility of playing the drum (nagara) at the evening prayer time. Shivaji treated all religions equally, and did not allow anyone else to sound the drum, and this practice has been followed through the centuries. The houses are very much the same as when they were built: the occupants can renovate the interiors, but are not allowed to change the exteriors, and they cannot sell their houses. As there are no hospitals, no shops, no facilities, life is difficult on the fort. The only mode of transport is by water, which has its own risks.
There are three sweet water reservoirs in the fort ramparts. Even if the water in the nearby villages dries up in summer, these wells always contain water.
Other Useful Sites
All Copyrights Reserved Sindhudurg Tours Powered by Print O Graph Digital