Dazed by the glitter of Mumbai, not many are acknowledged about an environment close to Mumbai where the sincere grandiosity of the bygone days stands imbibed within an awe-rising architecture. The reference here is to the serene Arnala Fort. Situated at a distance of just 8 miles from the townlet of Vasai, this citadel is the symbol of the less-remembered Maratha royalty. For being embraced by water on its four sides, the Arnala Fort is entitled as the ‘Jal Durg’.
Photo by madpai
Exploring the legacy of the Arnala Fort
For being all the more specific, it should be depicted that this fortress is located at the tiny Arnala port town which is a bear ten km drive from the Virar Railway Station of Maharashtra. As for the patron of the Arnala Fort, a little of close attention is required.
Predominantly, the Sultan of Gujrat Mahmood Begda patronized the construction of the Arnala Fort in the year 1516. In consequence of time, it came into the possession of the Portuguese in 1530, through their signed accord with Gujrat’s Bahadur Shah. They devised new installations at the fort and gave it the name of Ilha das vacas. From the year of acquiring, the tribe was to rule the castle for 200 years.
As time flew, the Jal Durg came under the ownership of the Marathas when they attacked Vasai. Local beliefs credit their ultimate hero Shivaji Maharaj as the true patron of the Arnala Fort. It is claimed that with the encouragement of his mentor Kanoji Agare, Shivaji acted as the benefactor behind the building of the fort.The citadel remained under the Marathas till the year of 1803. This was the fated era when the fort went into the hands of the British government for Peshwa Baji Rao II’s agreeing to the notorious Vasai Pact.
Delving a bit deep into the Arnala Fort
The Arnala Fort or ‘Janjire-Arnala’ as it is colloquially known of, exhibit a distinguished architectural texture which comes as a stun to the eyes and mind. The exquisite constructional aspects which should be highlighted are:
- The unique rectangular shape
- The enclosure by a continuing stretch of sturdy parapets; each of which has the dimension of 10 meters plus
- The broad and resolute walls furnished with three gates
- The main entry door by the northern side
- The two colossal bulwarks on the two sides of the door
- The engravings of the tiger and the elephant at the arc of the entry door; these upheld the fortitude of the king
- The lithograph at the entry way voicing out the enigma of the ‘Jal Durg.’
- The unique 8-sided lake at the front end of the ‘Tryambakeshwar’ shrine
- The Goddess Bhavani chapel
- Graves of Shahali and Hajjali
- The stand-alone bulwark with a tiny access door to it at the left front outside the Fort premises
- The range of government sponsored ‘Suru’ trees at the right end and the line of Coconut trees at the western fringes. These enrich the scenic appeal of the Fort
Precision with arnala fort timings
For being a popular destination, the arnala fort timings has been kept at a quite convenient range. The 9 A.M to 6 P.M schedule is fair-enough handy time, but the calculation for picking the arnala fort timings depend upon the availability of the ferry boat service. The boats connecting the castle to the main land commute within the phase of 6 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the noon and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at dusk. Therefore for deciding over the particular slot amidst the operating arnala fort timings, the boat time must be first assured of.
Pursuing the love for adventure by the arnala fort trek
For those who love going its expeditions, the arnala fort trek is a worthy one to get absorbed with. It may not involve the tough situations of the full-fledged expedition, but here the challenge is to discover the best of efforts. Like, typical tourists refuse to enter the tiny door of the stand-alone bulwark fearing the darkness and any infectious flora and fauna growths there. But the enthusiasts out on an arnala fort trek are sure to not to think in this way. Undoubtedly, they will avail the tree peaks to climb at and thereby have a view through the darkness. Similarly to pursue every door of the parapets and access the smaller to smallest rooms of the ‘Durg’ will be a must in the trekker’s wishlist. The 1-hour arnala fort trek is organized by many tour agencies and is undertaking.
While on the day out into the cradle of history, spending some time at the cheering arnala beach is also a thumbs-up gesture to enact. The view of the ocean is truly picture-perfect at the arnala beach, and so is the feel of the breeze there. Compared to the upscale commotions at the famous Mumbai sea-sides, this repose at the arnala beach is truly bliss. Some places around the arnala beach like the Space Apple, Jivdani Temple, Yazoo Park, Chinchoti Water Falls, Four Fountains De-Stress Spa, Lodha Dham, etc. are perfect to pursue during the journey and thereby get rejuvenated both physically and mentally.
The discussed citadel is separated from Mumbai by a meager distance of 50-55 km through the road. This is not much of a remoteness that cannot be traveled. Therefore for experiencing the arresting and pronounced historical silence, a visit to the ‘Janjire-Arnala’is the fitting move to make.