“Standing in the waves of time”
Murud Janjira! Something which I have always heard from my sisters. During their school picnics, this was one among the favourite spots and I still remember how they used to feel jealous with the exaggerated description of their trip. Sea has always fascinated me. I always used to figure out in my mind about this beautiful fort but never got a chance to visit this beauty. But, Jaha Chah hai waha rah hai!
One fine weekend, I called Rupesh and he was ready as always. Moving ahead from Chandani Chowk, via Pirangut we reached to Mulshi dam. we stopped at several places for short sojourns to simply enjoy nature. Sitting on the banks, listening to the soothing flow of water, chirping of unusual birds (which I badly miss in the city), what a peaceful and serene atmosphere it was.
As the road condition has improved, it makes the bike ride enjoyable and smooth. The single road cuts through the Sahyadri ranges where everywhere along the road you are deep within nature.
And we reached to Kundlika valley. I was told as it is a strange place with two huge mountain walls separated by a narrow valley. Savlya ghat descends to this beautiful place from Tamhini ghat. Adventure lovers have found a unique way of enjoying the release of the dam water with rafting. Surely, I have noted it down on my travel list.
Moving over Kolad, we could see many mango gardens around. Taking a halt at one of them, we decided to have a lunch. The proprietor welcomed us with sweet Panha, a peppy drink of raw mangoes sweetened with sugar and flavored with aromatic spices like cardamom and saffron peps up your taste buds with its tingling, tangy taste.
Roaming through the garden, I could see raw mangoes and cashew nuts in abundance. The lady was so kind that she cooked everything as per our request, that too on Chulah. Whenever you could see such small cottages during travel, always try to have a food as it is their only source of income.
Moving ahead, we passed Roha and was about to reach Murud We missed the road to fort twice and our excitement was increasing like anything. And, we saw the huge black thing standing in pride with small boats scattered everywhere. Oh yes, we reached my dream place!
Parking our bike at Rajapuri, we ran towards the jetty and got into a small boat. I still feel goosebumps while writing. The cool breezes, the sparkling water, the might fort, the slowly moving boat with small boats aside, somewhere far a dancing boat on the waves, everything was just awesome!
Our boatman was in the double role, yeah! He was rowing and at the same time, he was explaining the history of the fort, it’s current condition, what to see and many such intricate details. The word Janjira is not native to India and may have originated after the Arabic word Jazeera, which means an island.
As soon as we reached to the steps, we got a notice to return to the same place in an hour. What? Ek ghante mai kya hoga. But, there was not any other option. The best way was to hire a guide. He promised to show every possible thing and the journey of exploration started.
The fort was built by Malik Ambar who belonged to Nijhamshahi dynasty. The main gate of the fort faces Rajapuri on the shore and can be seen only when one is quite near to it. It has a small postern gate towards the open sea to escape. The fort has 26 rounded bastions, which are still intact. There are many cannons of native and European make rusting on the bastions. A special attraction of this fort is 3 gigantic canons named Kalalbangdi, Chavri and Landa Kasam. These cannons were said to be feared for their shooting range.
Now in ruins, the fort in its heyday was a full-fledged living fort with all the necessary facilities like palaces, quarters for officers, mosque, two small freshwater lakes. I wondered to know about the availability of fresh water despite being covered by a sea. Below the hall, there is a hidden pathway which leads to the seashore. Being submerged by the sea water, it is now abandoned to enter.
Onshore is a luxurious cliff-top mansion, the Palace of the Nawab. Built by the former Nawab of Janjira, it commands a panoramic view of the Arabian sea and small forts around.
The stormy wind at the top recharged us back. One can see a Kasa fort nearby which is currently used for military training. And it was the end of an hour, we rushed back to the ferry point.
On the return journey, we could see the beautifully decorated boats. Oh, Holi was approaching. The Koli community celebrates Holi in a very traditional manner even today. Foot-tapping cheeky Koli songs, a mixed social scent of fish and flowers enhance the mood of celebration. Relatives from distant places come to their village in beautifully decorated boats.
As we were at Revdanda, one of the biggest fish markets, my friend revived his love for fish and got down. I was reluctant to assist him. I haven’t seen such varieties in my lifetime. I died a little because of the pungent smell of dry fish and he was enjoying the ride as if roaming through a flower market. He made sure to buy enough fish so to survive over a year, LOL.
While returning, we decided to go back by the same route. In between, we had our dinner with tasty rice bhakari.
Around 9 pm, we droved towards Tamhini and it was such a nightmare! There was not a single person, a single sound except the roaring of a bullet in the pitch dark. A group of bats flying over us helped to make the experience a bit of horror. I could recollect the Aahat stories which we used to saw during our schools, Mind is such a cheater! After a terror of 3 hours, I was so happy to see a trail of lights down the hill. If you want to take a horror experience, do travel through Tamhini, lol. I spent Sunday in recollecting every small incidence on the previous day. Finally, my dream fort was inside my travel tales.
A castle resting near the coastal island Murud, an unconquerable structure which attracts millions of visitors till the present hour and resonates the rich history of ancient Maharashtra- a hub of culture, technology, and royalty. The fort’s architecture displays a blend of cultures followed by different religions and communities. It has witnessed mass bloodshed and wars between different kingdoms that fought over its kingship with Maratha, Dutch, and English East India Company armies. One can enjoy a solitude gifting ambiance; the adventure seekers can enjoy boat rides to nearby Kasa Fort or take a circumference ride of the ancient Janjira fort to end the day with a beautiful sunset on its highest point.