“Forts (Called ‘Killa’ in Hindi) are some of the historic monument of city Mumbai. Most of this Edifice are one of few old histories of Mumbai which most of today are not well maintained by authorities. Tourists, Historians and citizen too sometimes feels to explore few such remains of those big black rocked architectures when planning a day out casually to explore city, touch, feel, and try understanding the lifestyles of Marathas (Specially Raja Shivaji), Portuguese and Britishers on how they use to make use of such a huge structures and why most of these forts in Mumbai are coastal located at banks of Arabian Sea. The fact is that most of them are either Dilapidated and few are under renovation, remnants, very few be said as stable and many fort demolished. Below is some insights of some of those old forts in Mumbai which i feel every tourists should visit, if not all.”
Famous Forts Historically
Websites are full with information related to these structural icons of Mumbai and most of the forts are built by Britishers and Portuguese apart from Mahim fort which was originally built by and Indian called ‘Raja Bhimdev’ and Vasai Fort built by ‘Malik Tughan’ who was commander in chief to Sultan of Gujarat ‘Bahadur Shah’ in the early days of Mumbai (Which was then called ‘Bombay’ during British rule and Bumbai locally). The word bay in the name ‘Bombay’ gives some idea on why most of these forts are being on Coastal, Since it is a connected 7 island city when the technology was at its lowest, Sea route was the only major way to attack the current rulers and conquer the empire. So are the presence of watchtower inside these forts located on Hilly location to keep an eye on likely Invaders and be ready for a fight. Also that most of the arms and ammunition used in coastal fights were all kept inside these forts. Now lets have a looks at those few recommended forts which are major tourist attractions compared to others less visited.
Bandra Fort (Castella de Aguada)
Location : Bandstand, Bandra (West), Mumbai Suburb.
Distance : 10 Minutes via Auto, 30 Minutes Walking (Walking Not Recommended For Firt Time Tourists).
Nearest Station : Bandra (Western Railway Route).
Car Parking : Available Near Entrance.
Address : H K Bhabha Road, Bandstand, Bandra (West).
Other Attractions Around Bandra Fort : All connected in series one by one to explore in series are Rocky Beach which is also a famous promenade and lovers point of Bandra, Mount Mary Church, Residence of Famous Bollywood actors like Shahrukh Khan (Mannat) and Salman Khan (Galaxy Apartment), UTV Walk of Stars, Go towards station on Hill Road which is famous for street shopping, Joggers Park at just 10 to 15 minutes distance, Finally do visit Linking road 10 Minutes from Station and Fort as well.
About Bandra Fort : In few words if i want to define this fort of the ‘water point’ as named by the Portuguese who built it in 1640 for watchtower purpose. Its a Breezy heaven, A beautiful Sunset Point, A Paradise for Lovers, Famous Bollywood movies shooting location (Wanted, RHTDM, Raju Bangaya Gentleman, Jaane Tu Ya Jaane na, Rangeela, Purana Mandir and more..) and a leisure point with peaceful experience on weekdays.
If you want to explore multiple attractions in one day shortest time available, head towards Bandra fort and get all this fun experience. Historically the fort is called ‘Castella de Aguada’ and previous to it was called ‘Water Point’ by Portuguese which historically has about 7 canons and guns.
Located adjacent to Taj Lands End, Today are small remains of 1640’s iconic fortress which was built by Britishers at Bandra coast, not very far from the above listed worli fort. In fact if you see the Bandra Worli Sea link is just in between both.
During day times mostly couples are seen around and in evening during vacations, weekends and holidays the promenade is filled with families and groups of friends. The fort has a nice place to sit and enjoy those sea waves & breeze, a perfect location to capture some clicks and videos of Sea link and a beautiful sunset. Let me tell you monsoons are awesome here. Entry to Bandra fort is free but restricted till evening 7:00 Pm (Closing Time of entry gate) as whistles can be heard to vacant the location which opens to public early in morning at 6:30.
Washroom is available inside and also at Bus depot opposite Hotel Taj / Father Agnel ashram main gate. As soon you enter the main gate, On the left is lush green garden which is filled with couples and is the main lovers point of Bandra. So avoid visiting inside if you are with kids.
A separate entry is given to access the fort area on top and other to the view point which is recommended for family group.
A decade before exactly opposite this fort was a beautiful five star hotel called ‘Sea Rock’ which is completely demolished now. ‘Bandra Bandstand Residents Trust’ is a local body who has and is taking care of renovations & repairs to save those originality of collapsing rocks beneath. Bollywood celebrity ‘Shabana Azmi’ is one of those who funded and supported the mission to save this old fortress. This is one of the safest forts to visit in Mumbai.
Worli Village Fort
Location : Worli Koliwada (Fishing Village), South Mumbai.
Distance : 20 Minutes to Half Hour in Taxi Via Dadar (West).
Nearest Station : Dadar (Western Railway Route), Also accessible via Mahalaxmi – Worli naka location.
Car parking : Inside / Adjacent to village. Worli Car Parking.
Address : VB Worlikar Marg, Worli Tip, Worli, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400030.
Other Attractions Near Around : Sea Link, Nehru Science Center and Planetarium, Atria Mall, Fishing Village Adjacent to Fort, Worli Seaface. Latest attractions being Floating Hotel and adjacent attractions being Dadar Chowpatty, Haji Ali Dargah.
About Worli Fort : Wikipedia says worli fort was built by Britishers and few others says its was built in 1675 by Portuguese and was later captured by Britishers during a war with France. Currently under ‘Archaeological Survey Of India’ this fort was an important watchtower during war time. The Edifice is currently in bad state as no one to take care of now hardly visited by outsiders / tourists. Basically local villagers enjoy evening breeze and the fort is sometimes seen in Bollywood movies. See the link in above location tag which has a latest video too. This black stone marvel is most enjoyed by childrens and was expected to be more recognized and visited after the opening of beautiful sea link connecting worli. Worli koliwada village association had also tried connecting with authorities to restore the structure. When it comes to women safety etc, this fort is safe to be explored during day and evening times.
Location : Entrance of Jawaharlal Nehru Garden, Sion East (Central Railway Route).
Nearest Railway Station : Sion (East).
Distance : 5 Minutes from Sion Station in East.
Car parking : No Details available, Bus expected YES at entrance.
Address : Near Station, Jawaharlal Nehru Garden.
Other Attractions Around : Dharavi Fort, Riva (Riwa) Fort, Maharashtra Nature Park.
About Fort : Also called ‘Sion Hillock Fort’, Currently Dilapidated and under Archaeological Survey Of India, Sion fort is very much connected to station in central railway route inside Mumbai city and was another important watchtower under British rule since 1669. Located on Hills, it is comparatively less famous and frequently visited Tourists attraction, Still recommended to be seen once if around in location. Currently, remains of some old rocks mostly covered by trees shaded around with entrance from Jawaharlal Nehru Garden can be seen. Few years before in place of this garden was a firing range. If you like to see the old times footpaths and those huge rocky walls, you must visit this fort. Some unique structure are still among few remains inside.
Location : Near Colgate Palmolein factory (Industrial Location)
Nearest Station : Sewri (Harbour Railway Route)
Distance : Walking Distance, 5 to 10 minutes from station.
Car parking : Unmanned along side of Fort.
Other Attractions Near : The only other attraction for tourist is the Sewri Mudflat Flamingo Watching location.
About this Fort : Every historic fort in Mumbai has its own story, Likewise Sewri which was built in 1680 by Britishers was a much like picnic spot to them as this fort was surrounded by greenery and the age old bird watching location at Mudflat with silence for miles. But within 10 years of it been built, it was conquered by Aurangzebs territory. Upon next 80 to 100 years in late 1700’s the fort was converted into jail which was not found full proof and later after in 1970’s when Mumbai Port Trust took over, It was converted into go-down to keep goods and materials etc. Then gradually it was proposed by MPT to be converted as residential colony for their workers, But few local activist opposed and since then its been listed as Historic monument and stands still as one of the tourist attractions of Mumbai. Currently the fort is in dilapidated condition and possibly may upset you as nothing remains as to be worth a special visit. So a recommendation is to visit during time when migratory Flamingo birds visits in thousands.
Vasai (Bassein Fort)
Location : Vasai Gaon (Killa Bunder), Next to Vasai Court.
Nearest Station : Vasai Road (West), Mumbai’s Far North Suburb.
Distance : 35 to 40 Minutes Auto Ride (Share Autos Available, Rs.25 to 30 per Person), 50 to 60 km From South Mumbai.
Car Parking : Available Near Fort, Unmanned on your own Risk.
Address : Killa Bunder, Police Colony, Vasai West, Bassein, Maharashtra 401201.
Other Attractions Around Fort : Vasai Court, A Small Creek, Chimaji Appa Cricket Ground, As a tourist attraction, a village tour is worth its own ride experience.
About Vasai Fort : This historic old fort is at coastal location about 500 meter distance, Bassein fort was a pride for Raja Shivaji and was later won by Chimaji Appa. It was a Central base for Naval and Docks during Portuguese Rule in 17th Century. Restoration work is been taken care but at very slow pace as said by locals. Few of the immediate tourist attractions inside fort are Rounded Ladders with a beautiful view from Top which is still in good condition. Two temples, out of which one of Lord Shiva. Also an old idiol (statue) of Chimaji Appa which needs to be taken care of. It is said that this fort will be restored very soon as its just 1 of two forts in vasai taluka (Another being Arnala Beach Fort in Virar), to attract tourism in thane district, Restoration of Fort has been carried out, But as said still very slow. Yearly feast celebration is also done inside its premise, and one can also see Flora and Fauna here. This fort has also attracted Bollywood films in past, Few Khans films like ‘Khamoshi The Musical’ with Actor Salman Khan and ‘Josh’ with SRK were shot here.
Jivdani Fort Near Temple
Location : Near Goddess Jivdani Temple. Which also have a cave.
Nearest Station : Virar (East), Far North Suburb of Mumbai, Thane District.
Distance : 5 Minutes Auto Ride From Virar Station (East). Shared Auto Available at Rs.10 Per Person.
Car Parking : Near Foot Steps of temple.
Address : Adjacent to Near Jivdani Temple Mountain, Kuari, Old Stone Mining Area.
Other Attractions Around : Jivdani Temple, Arnala Beach, Arnala Fort. See Vasai Virar tourism for more aboput area.
About Fort : First and Foremost, This is not a tourist location to visit. Its just that a old fort structure is still not much explored and visible from anywhere inside Virar location, i thought of writing about this less known place. Only youngsters group (Boys Only) visit this small mountain ‘Kala Ghar’ sometimes. Since stone mining is done at this place, One can see a half remained of mountain with this Old Fort remains. Famously Known as ‘Kala Ghar’ by locals. No much of information about historic presence of same available with us right now.
Other Forts Around Mumbai
There are more forts inside and around Mumbai boundaries to be seen, Yet as said not all are worth the travel time and money spent. For your information, Below are the list of such old forts with basic descriptions.
- Arnala Fort Virar : Located at Arnala Beach, Nearest Railway station being Virar (West) on Western railway Route. Its a very small Island fort which needs a ferry ride from beach.
- Tandulwadi Fort at Saphale Road : 3rd Station Beyond Virar.
- Asheri Fort Palghar : Located on Western Railway Route station called Palghar which is outside Mumbai, Even beyond Virar station connecting Gujarat states. Some 3 hour train journey from Mumbai. Palghar also have another Shirgaon Fort.
- Bhavangad Fort : Nearest Station being Kelve (3 stations after Virar) in western route of Mumbai. Another fortress on same station being Danda.
- Mahim Fort : Inside heart of city, Very much connected to Worli Fort. A very less visited.
- Dahanu Fort : 1 Hour journey beyond Virar, One needs to catch Mumbai Dahanu Road Local Trains for same.
- Tarapur fort : Loacted at Boisar Station which is near Dahanu road and Beyond Virar.
- Madh Fort : Nearest station being Malad (Mumbai Suburb, Western Railway Route), See Madh Island beach for the location details.
- Belapur Fort : Nearest Railway Station being Belapur in Navi Mumbai location.
- Bombay Castle : A Rarely remains of this Fort located at CST, Mumbai. St George is another fort which is Demolished and unavailable now at CST.
- Durgadi Fort : At Kalyan in Central Mumbai.
- Thane Ghodbundar Fort : This location is in Thane West, Quite developed since last decade. Reaching via Borivali and Mira Road location is also possible.
- Karnala Fort : Inside karnala Bird Century.
See Also : Historic Structures of Mumbai.