Kolaba Fort, also known as Alibaug Fort, is
located amidst the Arabian Sea and is surrounded by water on all sides. This
marvellous structure is located 2 km away from Alibaug beach and can be reached
by foot during low tides and by boat during high tides. The walk to this fort
is exciting and the scenic view of the sea is mesmerizing. This fortress is 300 years old and used to be
one of the most important naval stations during the reign of Shivaji Maharaj.
This military fortification houses many
interesting artefacts and remnants of the past including canons and weapons.
The walls of the fort are embellished with intricate carvings of birds and
animals. There are also ancient temples situated within the premises of this
fort including the famous Lord Ganesha Temple which was constructed in 1759 by
Raghoji Angre. This temple is still worshipped by the local fishermen for their
safety and business prosperity. One of the fascinating facts about this temple
is that despite being surrounded by salty water of the sea on all sides, there
is freshwater well within the fort premises.
Kolaba Fort is recognized as a monument of
historical significance by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and is one of
the most prominent forts in Maharashtra. In the past, the fort was used by the
Maratha Empire to launch attacks on the British army. The scenic beauty
combined with rich history makes this fort the most visited tourist spots in
the Konkan region.
More on Kolaba fort
Architecture of Kolaba
The Kolaba Fort is an architectural
masterpiece and is known for its grandiose and splendid architecture. Located
on the shore of Alibaug beach, this fort provides a pleasant view of Arabian
Sea. There are two entrances in the fort, one opens into the sea and the other
faces the shore of Alibaug beach.
The fort stands tall at a height if 25 feet
and has many Hindu temples within its complex. These temples are now used by
locals for worshipping and other religious purposes. Freshwater well is also
situated inside the fort and is still an important source of water supply.
British Invasion in Kolaba Fort
After the fort was annexed by Kanjhoji Agre,
who was the chief of Maratha Navy, it was widely used to attack the British
ships during the independence movement of 1700. Given its location, the fort
became strategically important to the Marathas to carry out attacks on the
During the year 1721, the British army formed
an alliance with the Portuguese troops to capture the fort. However, the
attacks were unsuccessful and the British army faced a massive defeat.
After the demise of Kanhoji in the year 1729,
a fire broke out in Pinjarra Bastion which burned down and scarred various
establishments within the fort. The fortress was later taken over by British in
the year 1842.
History of Kolaba Fort
The Kolaba Fort served as a military
fortification for many years for both Maratha Empire and western power
including East India Company and Portuguese. The fort was annexed by Shivaji in
the 17th century, right before his demise in 1680.
Various other monuments inside the fort were
constructed by Sambhaji Maharaja who was the son Shivaji. Two sardars of
Shivaji’s army namely Manik Bhandari and Darya Sagar were given the authority
to supervise the fort. The fortress was soon captured by the chief of Maratha
Navy, Kanhoji Angre in 1713. He took in-charge of the fort until his death in
The most interesting historical fact about
this fort is the battle of 1721 which was fought between the Marathas and the
British forces. The Portuguese and British armies conspired to launch an attack
on the fort but were met with defeat. The Kolaba Fort once housed gardens,
stables, treasuries and other buildings, most of which were destroyed during
fires that broke out in Pinjarra Bastion.
Things to See at Kolaba
Situated near to the shores of Alibaug, the Kolaba Fort offers a picturesque
view of the Arabian Sea over the Horizon. You can sit back and enjoy the
sunset. You will be mesmerized as the sky glows with different hues of orange
during the sunset. The cool sea breeze and the calm ambience with the
magnificent fort in the backdrop will leave you in awe. The grandeur structure
of the fort is indeed a perfect illustration of exceptional craftsmanship and
engineering of the bygone era.
Your attention will be grasped by the
beautiful wall carvings of peacock, tigers, birds, and elephants. The fort also
houses a few cannons that were used in the epic battles of the past. Despite
positioned in the middle of the sea, you
will be taken aback to witness a freshwater well here.
For those looking for religious places around,
the fort has few of Hindu temples within its premises. The famous Siddhivinayak
Temple which was built by Raghoji Angre in 1759, is also situated here. The
other notable temples in the fort are Padmavati Temple and Mahishasura. In
addition to the Hindu temples, there is also a dargah of Haji Kamaluddin Shah
within the fort complex.
Best Time To Visit Kolaba fort
The ideal time to visit Kolaba Fort is during
the months of November-July. The monsoon season brings a lot of rain and hence,
it might not be a wise decision to plan a trip to this fort around this season.
Tips for Visiting Kolaba fort
1. Kolaba Fort is situated at a walking
distance from the shore; however, the route gets submerged during high tides
and can be reached only via boat. Hence, it is advisable to plan your trip as
per the timings of high and low tides.
2. You can hire horse carts to explore the
beach in a fun-filled and unique way.
How to Reach Kolaba fort
The Kolaba Fort is easily accessible by ferry
services from Mumbai and is situated at a distance of 35 km. The ferry services
are available from Gateway of India in Mumbai. The nearest jetties in Alibaug
are in Rewas and Mandwa. It takes around 45 mins to reach Alibaug by ferry and
the services are operational throughout the day.
Mumbai is the nearest major city and is
approximately 100 kilometres by road. Alibaug is well-connected with both state
and private bus services from cities such as Pune, Mumbai, Kolhapur, and
Nashik. The nearest railway station is at Pen which is 30 kilometres away. The
local transport such as auto-rickshaws, taxis, etc is readily available in
Alibaug. Once you reach Alibaug beach, you can either walk to the fort during
low tides or hire a boat during high tides.