|Location:||1–2 km from the shores of Alibag and 35 km south of Mumbai|
Situated amidst the sea and surrounded by waters of Arabian Sea from all sides, Kolaba fort or Alibag fort is one of the most important tourist attraction in Alibag.
It is a 300-year-old fort which was once chief naval stations during the reign of Shivaji Maharaj in Maharashtra. This isolated military fortification located amidst the Arabian Sea is a spectacular sight. It is easy to reach the fort by foot during low tides as the fort is not more than 2 kilometers from the Alibaug beach.
There are historical artifacts and vestiges inside the fort. Such as cannons and carvings of animals & birds on the fort walls. Old temple buildings are also present here.
Although the mighty fort is in the middle of the sea, a freshwater well is present in the fort premises. A temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha, built by Raghoji Angre in the year 1759, is also present in the premises. It is still worshiped by the fishermen from the area.
As one of the most prominent forts in Maharashtra, its strategic location to use it as a chief naval station and a stronghold for launching attacks on British troops.
The opulent fort is now a popular tourist destination and the primary attraction of the idyllic town. The Kolaba Fort is now nationally protected monument by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) because of its historical importance.
In 1662, Shivaji Maharaj strengthened and fortified Kolaba fort to make it one of his chief naval stations. The command of the fort was given to Darya Sarang and Mainak Bhandari under whom Kolaba fort became the center of the Maratha attacks on British ships.
Sambhaji Maharaj completed the fort after the death of Shivaji Maharaj in June 1681. In 1713 under a treaty with Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath, Kolaba along with several other forts was given over to Shrimant Kanhoji Raje Angre. He used it as his ain base from which to launch raids on British ships.
On 17 November 1721, the British incensed at Angre’s activities, joined the Portuguese in an expedition against Kolaba. A Portuguese land force of 6000 and three English ships of the line under Commodore Mathews co-operated but the attempt failed. The British blamed the failure to the “cowardice of the Portuguese”. On 4 July 1729 Shrimant Kanhoji Raje Angre died on the Kolaba Fort.
British sold the wooden structures of the fort in 1842 by Auction. Thereafter used the stones for Alibag waterworks.
Places to Visit on Fort:
The average height of the fort walls is 25 feet (7.62 m). It has two main entrances, one on the seaside and the other towards Alibag.
An interesting feature of this fort is that it has freshwater wells in its premises even though it is a seaside fort. In the monsoons, it is easy to reach the fort by wading through waist-deep water at low tide. However, at high tide, the fort can be reached by boats. There are houses of several people in the fort and they take care of that fort.
There is a Dargah of Haji Kamaluddin Shah on the fort. Near the northern wall of the fort lie, two English Cannons mounted on wheels. The inscription on the cannon is “Dowson Hardy Field, Low Moor Ironworks and Yorkshire, England”.Raghoji Angre in 1759 built the Siddhivinayak temple inside the fort.
How to reach:
The Fort is easily accessed from Mumbai. It is only 35 km in the south of Mumbai. Mumbai is one of the biggest cities of India and well-connected via Airways, Railways and Roadways to all the major cities in the country and abroad.
Kolaba Fort can also be approached by foot during low tides and by boat during high tides from the Alibag Beach.
Best time to visit:
November to July is the best time to visit the place. The fort is open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.