Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Forts Of Maharashtra.......ARNALA

The fort of Arnala overlooks the confluence of River Vaitarna and the Arabian Sea. Adroitly bulit on the Arnala island; the fort walls offers breathtaking views of the sea.

Distance from major cities:

Mumbai - 80 km
Pune -240 km
Villages at Foothills: Arnala, Virar

Altitude: Sea Level
Latitude: 19°27'57"N
Longitude: 72°43'56"E
Best time to visit: September to April

History: Sultan Mahmood Begda of Gujarat built the sea fort of Arnala in 1516. In 1530 Portuguese won this fort and built new structures on it. Portuguese ruled over the fort for more than 200 years. Later the Marathas conquered it.Bajirao-I reconstructed fort like the Portuguese. In 1817, like all the other forts, British captured this fort too.

Attractions: The fort is approximately rectangular in shape and is being protected by continuous and strong ramparts having a height of about 10 meters. The bastions are in good condition even today. There are three entrances to the fort out of which the main entrance is on the north side. Two lofty bastions guard the mighty entrance. Sharabha shilpa is carved at the entrance. A lithograph at the door indicates that Bajirao Peshwa reconstructed the fort. The fort houses temples of Tryambakeshwar, and Bhavani Mata. In front of Tryambakeshwar Mahadev, temple is a skillfully crafted octagonal cistern. Wells of portable water are in the fort. Near the entrance of the fort, that is the northern phase of the island is a temple of Kalikamata,From the fort walls a bastion is seen far off from the fortification. It was supposedly used as a watch tower. It offers a magnificent view of the surroundings.

Reaching there:
By Air - The nearest Airport is Mumbai. Mumbai is well connected by international and domestic flights from all over.
By Rail - Virar is the nearest railway station (barely 10 km away) from Arnala.
By Road - Arnala fort is just 10 km off the Virar railway station on the Western Railway route. Regular buses and six-seater autorickshaws ply between Virar and Arnala shore. The village on the Arnala island can be reached only after a boat rite.

The fishermen boats are available between 6 am and 12:30 pm in the morning and between 4 pm and 7 pm in the evening. It is barely a 10 minute ride to the island. The ST bus plies between Virar and Arnala every half an hour.

Accommodation: No accommodation in the fort. One will have to find accommodation in various hotels available at Virar

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