The Janjira Fort locally known as Murud-Janjira was built on an island near the coast of Murud in Raigad district. The word Janjira has been taken from the Arabic word Jazeera, meaning an island.
The Janjira Fort was initially made up of small wooden structure in the 15th Century. After it was captured by Malik Amber of the Siddi Dynasty, the fort was strengthened and stands still even today.
Even though the Portuguese and the British tried their best to capture the Janjira Fort, they were unable to defeat the Siddis. One of the reasons that this was possible was because the Siddis had Mughals as their ally.
The Maratha leader, Chatrapti Shivaji Maharaj tried conquering this fort on numerous occasions but failed each time. Sambhaji Maharaj, son of Shivaji, tried to enter the fort through a tunnel but was unsuccessful. In 1676, after being unable to capture the Janjira Fort, Sambhaji attempted to match the power of Janjira Fort by constructing the Padmadurg or the Kansa Fort. However, the Janjira Fort remained unbeaten and after independence from the British in 1947, it became a part of the Indian territory.
Instead of being the usual square or oblong shaped, the Janjira Fort is oval in shape. It was built in order to repel the oncoming enemies from the sea.
The fort had a strong armory consisting of 26 circular bastions that carried around 512 cannons. Some of these cannons can still be seen lying around on the fort. 3 large cannons named Kalal Bangadi- 3rd largest cannon in India, Chavri and Landa Kasam, feared for their impressive long firing range, are still present on the fort.
The fort was one of the best well-developed forts due to the presence of palaces, sculptures, a mosque and two natural fresh water lakes that were about 18 m deep. Even though the fort is surrounded by salty sea water, there is a deep well located on the fort that even today supplies fresh water. The Palace of Nawab situated on the cliff provides a panaromic view of the Arabian Sea.
The trail to Janjira Fort is easy and can be reached by the base village of Rajapur. To reach the fort, one has to take small boats to the main entrance. The main entrance of the fort has a direct view of Rajapur shore and an escape route towards the sea. The outer wall of the main gate has a sculpture of a tiger attacking an elephant.
How to reach
The base village, Murud is very well connected via roads and can be reached using public and private transport. There are regular ST buses plying towards Murud from Mumbai and Pune.
If one wants to travel by train, there are direct trains from Mumbai and Pune to Roha railway station. Roha is approximately 40 km from Murud.