Vijaydurg-Fort

The Vijaydurg Fort stands testimony to the naval prowess of the Marathas. It is 500 km south of Mumbai on the western coast of Maharashtra. The village close to the Vijaydurg fort gets its name from the fort. Vijaydurg was earlier known as ‘Gheria’ as it is was surrounded on three sides by the sea. It was renamed Vijaydurg after it was conquered by Maratha King Shivaji in 1653 from Adilshah of Bijapur. Vijay stands for ‘victory’ making it the ‘fort of victory’. Shivaji developed the 17 acre fort as an important base which was used to harbor and repair Maratha warships.

The Vijaydurg Fort is situated at the mouth of Vaghotan River that separates Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts. It is the largest fort on the coast and stands mighty due to its fine architecture. The fortress was virtually impregnable because of the 40 km shallow creek which acted as a natural protection around the fort. The shallow creek made it impossible for massive enemy ships to approach the fort. Marks of cannon balls can still be seen on the fort walls.

The fort is constructed using laterite stones. A 10 m high compound wall, about 300 ft away from the fort deep in the sea, served as a defense against attacking ships. Ships collided with the wall and sank. The fort also has a 200 m long tunnel for emergency evacuation.

These features of the fort make it highly admirable. The fort was also known as the ‘Eastern Gibraltar,’ because of its imposing presence.