There are plenty of forts in and around Maharashtra, and one can only wonder at the combination of defense and art (two aspects so different in emotion) used to create such masterpieces. Like my previous endeavors, this one was also to a fort. This fort, however, was of a different kind- not one up in the mountains, but one surrounded by the sea. The Janjira Fort located near Murud, along the west coast of India.
The journey to the fort took us a total of 6 hours from Mumbai, travelling both by ferry and road. The ferry started from the Gateway of India all the way to Alibaug, a slow and pleasant ride with the sea breeze for company. It took us an easy two hours to reach Mandwa and from there, another half-hour bus ride to Alibaug. We took our first pit stop here for lunch after which we boarded a bus to Murud.
The bus journey, which took over two hours, was quite a bumpy ride considering it nearly threw me off my seat. I’d say it was the best part of the travel! Throughout the ride, the sea shore never left our side. The roads were slightly up in the mountains with the shore spread across the other side. Just perfect for a road trip.
As we neared our destination, we were able to spot the fort from a distance. It was standing majestically in the middle of the sea with the sun setting at the background. It was as though it was a floating paradise. To reach the fort, we had to take sail boats which had a different feel sans the accompanying noise of the boat engines.
Upon reaching the fort gates we were told that we had only 45 mins and would have to return by the same boat. But when we entered, it was clear to us that we were not returning on that boat- the fort was simply huge!
We started by covering the outer periphery first. The fort walls were still intact and many cannons were lying around. Through the arches of the walls we could see the setting sun and the glimmering water, a captivating site.
We slowly made our way up to the center of the fort, which was the highest point. From the top, we could see the entire layout of the fort and beyond. The fort had two huge freshwater ponds filled with fresh water and lots of trees around them. We also spotted two dargahs and many small rooms adjacent to walls.
We decided to sit at the top until the sun decided to take his usual dip into the sea. After the amazing scenery and some more exploration, we returned with our fingers crossed, hoping to get a boat back.
Luckily for us, there were many people waiting and we quickly jumped into a random boat to take us back. As soon as we reached land we set out searching for somewhere to stay. We found a perfect place next to the beach which was surprisingly inexpensive for its location. We freshened up and hit the beach for some local dinner specials that consisted of a variety of chaats and fish.
A stroll along the beach followed. The sea was very calm and it was pitch dark, with only a few people scattered around a campfire at a distance. It was as if the whole beach was for us. We had walked about 200 meters into the beach in hopes to wet our feet but that was not enough, the sea demanded more. To be honest, we were scared. It was just the two of us with no one around for as far as our eyes could sea, and the only sound we could hear was the waves. As much as we walked, it was as though the sea was running farther away from us. We returned and waited for company before our next attempt and this time we were successful. A thrilling end to a peaceful trip.
Editing Credits: Sharon Lewis