Saturday, October 10, 2009

Dervan Shivshrusti

9 Astounding Forts in 3 days.

Day 03--Ratnadurg (Bhagavati Killa)-Jaigad-Dervan-Chiplun-Pune

While coming back from Jaygad we came via chiplun. We decided to visit Dervan too. Dervan is located at 19 km from Chiplun. This memorial is known as ‘Shivsrushti’ or Shri Samarth gad. It was established by Shree sant Sitarambua Walawalkar Trust.

This was as if piece of cherry on the cake. I was visiting this for second time. The place is built to give a look like small ground fort built with life size statues of Maratha warriors- mavalas in various colorful dress. Each statue has different postures and facial expression. Some are seen to guards while some sardars are riding on life size horses.

At the entrance gate are the two elephants welcoming you. The huge hall contained various life size murals depicting important events in life of Shivaji Maharaj.

Right from Shivajis birth, his oath ceremony and the magnificently and meticulously sculpted coronation ceremony, all the scultpures are worth seeing.

As the sun set over the blue skies we were back to Pune with the beautiful memories still lingering in our minds. This was truly one of a kind venture.

Purnagad Fort

9 Astounding Forts in 3 days.

Day 01- Pune-Kolhapur-Padmadurg-Sindhudurg-Sarjekot
Day 02- Bhagwantgad-Devgadh-Vijaydurg  -  Purnagad-Ratnagiri
Day 03- Ratnadurg (Bhagavati Killa)-Jaigad  -  Dervan-Chiplun-Pune

Day 02- Bhagwantgad-Devgadh-Vijaydurg-Purnagad-Ratnagiri

Purnagad fort

Our last stop was to Purangad on the way to Ratnagiri. The sun was about to vanish in the clouds prompting birds to end their chattering and start the return journey to their nest. The skies began to spread their eerie darkness. We were afraid that we might miss the opportunity to Paurangad.

It was slightly difficult to locate the entrance road to the fort inside the village. Finally we were guided to the trail. It was very small hillcock and the village/huts were built right till the top. A decent flight of 20-25 min recently built stairway led to the well preserved fortification.

Located at 25 Kms. from Ratnagiri after Pawas, Purnagad fort is spread in only area of 22 acres. Although covered in thick vegetation and overgrown tress this small fort is in good condition. The main entrance door and its buruj, boundary wall are still in good condition.

You can find some cannons in the fort. It offers a panoramic view of sea below and you can sit for hours probably along the wall in the serene evenings. A half constructed darbar hall can be seen on the right edge.

We finally proceeded to Ratnagiri.

Bhagwantgad, Devgadh, Vijaydurg

9 Astounding Forts in 3 days.

Day 01- Pune-Kolhapur-Padmadurg-Sindhudurg-Sarjekot
Day 02- Bhagwantgad-Devgadh-Vijaydurg  -  Purnagad-Ratnagiri
Day 03- Ratnadurg (Bhagavati Killa)-Jaigad  -  Dervan-Chiplun-Pune

Day 02- Bhagwantgad-Devgadh-Vijaydurg-Purnagad-Ratnagiri

After a yummy Pohe at the same place we started early in the morning. The first stop was Bhagwantgad.

Bhagwant Gad

Bhagwantgad is a small long forgotten and neglected fort surrounded by a dense jungle. Built by Pant Bawadekar the fort was captured by British in 1880.

The base village is a tiny Masure village and worth observing are small in height but the neatly constructed huts made of mud.

A trail behind the school through thick bushes and tall trees leads to a flight of steps.

A traverse walk of 20 minutes and the entrance is right infront of you with a huge banyan tree with lot of offshoots jeeting out.

It was simply amazing to watch this huge banyan tree.

The top is very small and has a recently constructed temple. The boundary wall too was entirely covered in the tall grass.

Devgad fort

After the Bhagawantgad endeavor everybody was excited and we preceded the road to Devgadh. The view was amazing as we climbed up small ghat. The breath taking panoramic view of the sea below and the windmills on the faraway hill was simply amazing. Not sure why but the windmills were not working.

Devgad is a natural harbor and well guarded port town. Kanoji Angre, chief of Martha navy, was instrumental in erecting this elegant looking fort spread over 120 acres in 1705. It said that when the fort was built it was surrounded by water from all the sides but now it’s only from two sides.

There is a Ganesh temple in the fort. Worth watching are huge boundary walls and khandak outside the fort. The walls are built with large local stones.

Theres a modern light house build by government of India. It’s worth watching how light house functions. The officer –guard who stays there happily demonstrates the working of light house. It simply amazing to learn how the light house works.

You have to keep footwear outside and climb a tiny winding staircase to the top. The view is magnificent.

Overall this place is worth visit.

Vijaydurga fort

We all were hungry but it was past lunch and our Tavera tyre got punctured. We decided quickly to grab some food in the same time. After eating a yucky missal we proceeded to our next stop Vijaydurg.

The huge six hectares fort is on a strip of land penetrating into the sea. The fort has 27 'Buruz' and built with massive stone walls. The layered fortification with holes of huge cannon balls tells a hair raising history. Under Shivajis command triple rows of huge walls and towers were added for security in the 17th century.

Huge quantity of cannon balls are neatly lined up for the visitors. The fort has large number of offices, darbar and meeting rooms.

A amazing well built and ventilated tunnel is built of one of the important watchtowers.

Government had tried to create here a guest house atop huge storage rooms offering a picturesque sea view but is now abandoned.

Vijaydurg is also famous as Sir J.K.Lockyer discovered helium from here on solar eclipse on the morning of the 18th August 1868.

The architectural marvel is stone wall built around the fort inside the sea at a distance of 300ft from the fort. It is said that majority of attacking ships met their watery grave after colliding on this wall as this wall is not visible above the sea level.It is also said that a long secret undersea/underland tunnel from the fort to the Dhulap’s palatial house in the village which is now partially blocked.

Do not miss a opportunity of the 2 hours guided tour of fort if you are visiting Konkan.

Ratnadurg, Jaygad

9 Astounding Forts in 3 days.

Day 01- Pune-Kolhapur-Padmadurg-Sindhudurg-Sarjekot
Day 02- Bhagwantgad-Devgadh-Vijaydurg -  Purnagad-Ratnagiri
Day 03- Ratnadurg (Bhagavati Killa)-Jaigad -  Dervan-Chiplun-Pune

Day 03- Ratnadurg (Bhagavati Killa)-Jaigad-Dervan-Chiplun-Pune

Early morning we proceeded to Ratnagiri fort. The fort entrance was locked and only opens at 9AM by the guard. We waited for 15-20 minutes and the guard finally came down at 9.15.

Ratnadurg Fort (Bhagavati Killa)

Shivaji Maharaj captured the fort in 1670 from Adilshah. Ratnadurga, popularly known as Bhagavati fort, with area of 120 acres, is situated on a small hill surrounded by sea on three side. The tar road runs right to the entrance. A flight of steps take you to the gate. The strong fortifications run from south-east to west side.

A bhagwati Temple is right in the front of the gate once you are inside.

The fort is well maintained and a recently walk way is built near fortification which allows visitors to watch the beauty of peaceful see below. The zigzag fortification wall also seems to be restored recently.

The most attractive feature would be the deep causeway penetrating the sea.

Thiba palace, Ratnagiri.

If you are visiting Ratnagiri a quick look a Thiba palace is must. British took over the Burma and arrested king Thibaw. The king was kept under house arrest at Ratnagiri but was treated with the state honors. He died in Ratnagiri. His grand-grand daughter Tity got married to a local resident Shankarrao Pawar. The red colored three storied structure has sloping tiled roofs.

Semi-circular wooden windows with beautiful curving are the main attraction of this structure. It is said that the first floor has one dancing hall with a fully marble tiles. The palace was closed that day. Once probably a huge garden now had fallen prey to overgrown wild grass. We were sad to see the overall pathetic state of the beautiful monument.

After framing the quick snaps of the buzzing bees and beautiful wandering butterflies we proceeded for our return journey hoping that the authorities would wake up early and restore the alluring place.

Jaygad Fort

Our last fort on the journey was Jaygad. This is the last village in Ratnagiri tehsil and one of the rare ports where ships can directly berth to the jetty. This was the major port in 50’s when Goa – Mumbai ship service was in full stream. Over the time with advent of national highways and closure of ship services, Jaygad lost its glamour and now is a remote port. Lighthouse situated in the fort still guides ships traveling between Dabhol (near Dapoli) and Ratnagiri.

There’s a two storied structure in the middle of the fort but this look like some Indian government building. The strong fortification wall and the trenches around out are worth watching.

The marvelous watch tower with 3 layered windows is the most attractive feature. After capturing lot of butterflies in our camera we proceeded to Dervan.


Padmadurg, Sindhudurg, Sarjekot

9 Astounding Forts in 3 days.

Day 01- Pune-Kolhapur-Padmadurg-Sindhudurg-Sarjekot
Day 02- Bhagwantgad-Devgadh-Vijaydurg  -  Purnagad-Ratnagiri
Day 03- Ratnadurg (Bhagavati Killa)-Jaigad  -  Dervan-Chiplun-Pune

Day 01- Pune-Kolhapur-Padmadurg-Sindhudurg-Sarjekot

Past 2 days there were reports oh heavy rains across Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg and parts of Karnataka. After lot of brainstorming we decided to continue on our plans.

5 of us started at around 6AM from Pune on Oct 2, 2009 by Tavera. After having breakfast- a yummy thalapit at Virangula, we cruised along the Kolhapur highway. After crossing Kolhapur we took GaganBawda road. The freely wandering clouds in the picturesque ghat offered some mesmerizing pictures.

The surprise of the hour was small black snake with yellow strips hurrying across the middle of the road before another vehicle zooms away. Heavy rains and ghats made our speed slow down till we reached NH17. We reached Malvan at around 2.30 PM.

The boating was closed inspite of numerous assurances by several people along the way. One boatman finally agreed to take us across to the fort after doubling the ticket fare. It was amazing to see the boatmen pull the boat by rolling the logs. The heavy rains had stopped but it was still drizzling and we were almost 14-15 people who decided to brave the low tides and the stormy weather.

As part of Sindhudurg’s defenses, Shivaji had built a fort of Padmadurg, which now almost has disappeared into the sea. It lay between the Sindhudurg and the coast and was Shivaji’s main ship construction yard. All that is visible are pieces of rocks spread across a piece of tiny island while going towards Sindhudurg fort.


Sindhudurg Fort is just 1/1.5 Km away from Malvan jetty and the Boat ticket fare is Rs 27. 1/1.5 hr is given to the tourist for excursion in the fort.

The fort is built on Kurte Island in 1664 on around 45 acres of land under supervision of Hiroji Indulkar. The fort has 52 bastions and the zigzag defense wall of the fort is almost ten feet in width and it almost looks like you can drive a 4 wheeler on it! To beat the force of the waves, Shivaji had constructed 3 mighty defense walls parallel to foundation of fort.

There are well built sweet water wells in the fort called as Dudh Bav (Milk Well), Dahi Bav (Curd Well) & Sakhar Bav (Sugar well). All of them used rain water harvesting techniques and hence have sweet water almost through the year. The Nagarkhana still stand braving the fierce wind and rains across thecenturies was said to be built Shahu Maharaj.

The entrance barrier (the main gate) made of the hardest type of wood (oomber), is 9 ft in height & 3.5 ft in width. Above that is Nagarkhana (built by Shahu) where drums were played to naval important events. The main barricade leads between two bastions. The left side bastion is 20 ft in height & the right one is 40 ft in height.

There is one rare coconut tree inside the fort which has two branches which had now dried up. Only the trunk was remaining.

The fort houses the only temple of Shivaji in the country built by Rajaram and having an idol of Shivaji without beard & mustache. The legend behind this idol says the sculpture was made during the time when Shivaji had shaved his beard and mustache after death of Jijabai.

During Shivaji’s days, there were about 150 houses inside the fort. The land now mostly belongs to private owners. There are some 300-400 coconut trees at present.

The after delightful adventurous and heavily soaking tour of sindhudurg fort we had snacks-lunch in nearby hotel. Then we proceeded to Tarkali. On the way we decided to explore sarjekot. On Achara Rd, a small muudy trail leads to Sarjekot. It said this a natural port and probably provided natural anchorage to ships. Its a excellent sunset point though. But there was nothing to see except a huge platform along the beach.

The long search in the dark for the hotel finally ended with only one tiny room in a hotel on Tarakali beach which had a 10 watt bulb in the room with no bulb in bathroom. Most of the hotels had been closed since there was no electricity for past 2 days. A yummy meal in a nearby house along with mouth-watering soldkadhi made us to forget all tiredness. The day finally ended with a venture of a scary night walk on the beach watching the angry ocean hitting its high powered waves.

Monday, October 5, 2009