|Fort Janjira/Jaldurg In The Middle Of The Arabian Sea. (Picture courtesy: |
Wiki says: Janjira is considered one of the strongest marine forts in India. The fort is approached by sail boats from Rajapuri jetty. (Murud is 165 Kms. south of Mumbai).
The fort has 26 rounded bastions, still intact. There are many cannons of native and European make rusting on the bastions. Now in ruins, the fort in its heyday was a full-fledged living fort with all the necessary facilities, e.g., palaces, quarters for officers, mosque, temple, two small 60-foot-deep (18 m) natural fresh water lakes.
A special attraction of this fort is, 3 gigantic cannons named Kalalbangdi, Chavri and Landa Kasam. These cannons were said to be feared for their shooting range.
This link says:
Janjira came into prominence in the late 15th or early 16th century when the Siddis became its virtual masters. After it had been ruled over by such historical greats as the Mauryas, Silharas, Chalukyas, and Yadavas, it fell into the hands of the Abyssinians or Siddis in 1490 A.D, by way of trickery against a Koli king. Malik Ambar, a powerful Abyssinian, subsequently constructed a strong stone fort there in 1567 A.D. Numerous wars were waged against the Siddis by the Marathas, Mughals, and Portuguese to wrest Janjira from them, but in vain. The Siddis proved fiercer soldiers and greater seafarers than them all. The Janjira state came to an end after 1947 with the merging of princely Indian states with the union.
Shivaji also waged a war against the Siddis but couldn't penetrate the fort. His son Sambhaji also tried. Built Padmadurg fort nearby and tried to come inside this fort via a tunnel under the sea, but in vain. Now also they say that there is a tunnel from the fort to the Rajapuri town.
They had an active market area inside the fort. They had a full-fledged town. The descendants have fled to Indore and Mumbai later, it seems. Some dark skinned people were seen in the town of Rajapuri here... the result of mixed marriages!
Our guide said that the Fort took 22 years to build and is spread over 22 acres of land. At the entrance is an inscription in Persian language and a stone carving depicting a tiger engulfed by six elephants which, is the emblem of the might of the Siddis, it seems.
He said that the queen had a 2 storied glass palace and bath with water channelled from streams. We saw the dry toilets for the queen.
The Siddis are the descendants of slaves, sailors, and maritime workers, forced and voluntary migrants from the East African countries of Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, and later Zanzibar. The forced migration of Africans for purposes of slavery is incontestably the major reason for the presence of Africans in India.
|The sleepy town of Murud from where we can reach the Fort.|
|This picture was taken by my son from the topmost point at the Janjira fort. Click on the picture to have a good view. You can see the sweet water pond on the left.|
|Sweet water pond inside the fort. The whole Janjira town people were using this water for drinking and cooking purposes. One more lake was on the other end of the Fort. Water was available throughout the year, it seems.|
|The inside of the fort..The weeds are removed during the peak tourist season, it seems. The ruined building had seven stories which was Siddi leaders' offices!|
A special attraction of this fort is, the 3 gigantic cannons named Kalalbangdi, Chavri and Landa Kasam. These cannons were said to be feared for their shooting range. They are in the picture shown above.
|The 40' high walls of the fort. The fort was made of stones bonded together by a mixture of lead, sand and gul. Wiki says so. What is gul? Or is it gud, jaggery? Anybody knows? It cannot be rose flower!|
|This picture was taken from the top of the fort. Stones can be seen near the wall. No other entrance anywhere else, except a small hole on the other side of the fort which was crude.|
|The small escape route on the opposite side of the main gate. Imagine Siddis going out via this tiny opening! Posted this picture on 5th April, '16|
|Shivaji's son, Sambhaji built another sea fort in 1676, known as Padmadurg or Kasa fort, to challenge Janjira and failed. This picture of the fort was taken from the Janjira fort.|
|Another picture of the oval shaped Janjira Fort|
We reached the fort by sail boat and while returning, a motor boat came and pulled our boat against the wind direction to the shore!
If anyone know more details of the place, please write in the comment section, please. Thank you!
Edited on 29th May, '16: Came across this article on 'African rulers in India'. Very interesting!