|Sindhudurg District, Maharashtra|
Bastions of Vijaydurg fort]
|Built by||Bhoja II|
Vijaydurg (sometimes written as Viziadrug), the oldest fort on the Sindhudurg coast, was constructed during the regime of Raja Bhoja II of the Shilahar dynasty (construction period 1193-1205). The fort was earlier known as "Gheria", as it is situated close to the village of "Girye". Shivaji captured this fort from Adil Shah of Bijapur in 1653 and renamed it as "Vijay Durg" as the then Hindu solar year's name was "Vijay" (Victory).
Earlier, the fort encompassed an area of 5 acres (1 acre = 4840 square yards or 4047 square metres) and was surrounded by sea on all four sides. Over the years the eastern trench was reclaimed and a road constructed thereon. Presently the area of fort is about 17 acres and is surrounded by the Arabian Sea on three sides. Shivaji extended the area of the fort by constructing three walls on the eastern side, each 36 metres high. He also constructed 20 bastions.
According to legend, this is one of only two Maratha forts where Shivaji personally hoisted the saffron flag. The other fort is "Torana". Vijaydurg Fort was called the "Eastern Gibraltar", as it was virtually impregnable. Its locational advantages include the 40 km long Waghotan/Kharepatan creek. Large vessels cannot enter the shallow water of this creek. Also, Maratha warships could be anchored in this creek and yet remain invisible from the sea. It is a protected monument.
Located in Devgad Taluka, Vijaydurg and its surroundings are famous all over the world for the delicious Alphonso mangoes. During the growing season, the smell of mango blossom hangs heavy in the air. Mango plantations are everywhere; along with fishing and farming, mango cultivation is a primary occupation of the people in Devgad.
Features of Architectural Interest
1) According to unconfirmed reports, there is a 200m long, undersea/underland tunnel from the fort to the palatial Dhulap house in the village. Supposedly, the roof of the tunnel has been pinched to protect it from landslides and it is also well ventilated. Now the tunnel is partially blocked. If the presence of the tunnel can be confirmed, and the tunnel cleared, it could serve as a tourist attraction of historical and architectural interest.
2) Recent oceanographic evidence supports the existence of an undersea wall, constructed out at sea at a depth of 8–10 m depth undersea. Made of laterite, the wall is estimated to be 122 mtrs long, 3 mtrs high & 7 mtrs broad. Attacking ships often met a watery grave after colliding against this wall.
3)1.5 km from the fort up the Waghotan Creek, exist the remains of a naval dock carved from rock. This is where Maratha warships were built and repaired. The ships built here were of the 400-500 tonnage capacity. This 109*70 mt dock faces the north side and is an achievement of Maratha naval architecture.
1) Sir J Norman Lankier, a British scientist was observing a solar eclipse from this fort on 18 August 1868. It was during his observation that the Helium Gas was discovered on Sun in the form of a yellow flame! He named this as Helios which was later named as Helium. Vijaydurg can be credited as the place from where,Helium was discovered and observed on sun.
2) The fort has many monuments, now in ruins which show the characteristics of Maratha architecture. The food storage go-down and court are such classic examples.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Vijaydurg.|
- WanderIndia Vijaydurg - A visitor's guide
- Vijaydurg Fort on konkan-online.com
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