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The name of this fort is given to Sindhudurg district. Tourists from all over the world visit this great sea fort.  Sindhudurg was built with the help of huge rocks on the ‘Kurte' island, which amazes people, and one appreciates the vision and foresight of Shivaji. 

 

History:

In 1664-67 AD, Shivaji erected this fort on 48 acres of   island. Shivaji Maharaj personally selected this site, a rocky island, Kurte. It took 500 stone splitters and stonebreakers, 200 black smiths, 3000 laborers and 100’s of skilled artists who toiled very hard to complete this fort in three years. A notable feature is that the foundation stones were laid down firmly in molten lead. This is evident from the stone inscriptions. One of the best preserved forts of the Marathas, the 48 acre Sindhudurg fort has a four kms long zigzag line of 9 meters high and 3 meters wide rampart with 42 bastions.

Shivrajeshwar temple

Initially, 3 kms. long outer wall (Tat) was built. Average height of wall is 10 meters and breadth is 2 to 4 meters. The design of main door is an enigma. It has been a hallmark of Maratha Architecture of fort building. It defies detection of its location to the attacker. The technique was so deceptive for the enemy that they could not even realize where the entrance was due to blind curves. Zigzag pattern of outer wall was so built that   the enemy would be visible from any point inside the fort and the troops inside could fire their guns and cannons effectively and humble the enemy. Cores of hones (gold coins) form Surat bounty, were spent to built this wonderful fort.

How to get inside the fort:

The fort is approachable from the Malvan pier by a boat through a narrow navigable channel between two smaller islands of Dhontara and Padmagad. There is even a guide to take you around inside. Fort is completely cut off during the monsoons.

What to see:

Shivaji’s palm and footprints are preserved here on dried lime slabs in a tower. Inside the Fort, temples of Bhavanimata, Shambhu Mahadev, Jirimiri, Mahapurush and Shivajeshwar are worth seeing, all of which are in good condition.

Shivrajeshwar Temple:

Chatrapati Shivaji’s younger son Rajaram in his remembrance built this temple. Shivaji’s idol stands in a boatman’s attire inside the temple and probably only one of its’ kind in the country – where the image of Shivaji is without a beard. Outside the southern wall there is a small beach, called Ranichi Vela (Queen’s private beach), where Queen Tarabai, daughter-in law of Shivaji, used to enjoy her sea-bath. The fort also houses some twenty Hindu-Muslim families, who have been living there for generations. Side the fort there are three wells of drinkable water, which is a nature’s marvel as sea surrounds the fort on all four sides. On a rocky island between Sindhudurg and the coast stood the small fort of Padmagad, now in ruins. It acted as a shield for Sindhudurg and was also used for shipbuilding.

Interesting fact:

To be seen in Malvan is the auction of day’s fish catch in the evening between 5 p.m. when all the trawlers return after day’s fishing in the deep sea. The catch is then sold to the highest bidder.

 
Pictures: South-western view of Raigarh from Pachad, the base village (above), and remains of buildings in the fort (insert).  The 12-sided two-storey towers (below).
 
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