#MumbaiList: Forts In The City Of Islands

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Forts Of Mumbai

Surprised? Yes, there are many forts in Mumbai much to the amazement of many Mumbaikars. While not as massive or significant as their counterparts in Sahyadri, forts in Mumbai too have a rich history but today are mere remains of their glorious past. While some are used as a place to woo Bollywood actresses on screen, others provide a base for illegal hutments. In this post, I’m listing some forts in Mumbai which may not offer much adventure but are still worth a visit because they were and are a part of our city!

Worli Fort
Worli Fort

Worli Fort
This fort was built by the British in 1675 on Worli Hill facing Mahim Bay and was used to keep an eye on enemies’ ships and pirates. This fort was renovated in 2008-09 but sadly, that has changed its look drastically and it now looks like a new construction altogether. It is pretty tough to go up this fort, not because it is high but because the road going up is blocked by illegal slums that have mushroomed over the years. But once you do get on the top, you can view the entire Bandra Worli Sea Link from here.
Get There: To reach Worli Fort, you will have to get down at Worli Village bus stop and walk up. The village is also famous for Golfadevi temple.

Sewri Fort
Sewri Fort

Sewri (Shivdee) Fort
Sewri Fort was built in 1608 as a watchtower for Bombay harbour and was taken over by British from Portuguese. It has a nice pentagonal room along with a long domed corridor, and linear vaulted structures. Now it is declared as a grade I heritage structure and efforts are being undertaken to preserve it. You can also spot pink flamingoes from here during their visit to Mumbai.
Get There: This fort is pretty close to Sewri station and you can take a taxi from there to reach the fort. 

Exterior of Sion Fort
Exterior of Sion Fort

Sion Fort
The small hillock which you see near Sion while travelling in a local train is the one on which Sion Fort is located. It was built by a British Governor of Bombay, Gerard Aungier, on the conical hill in around 1669 to 1677. Sion was the boundary between British-held Parel Island and Portuguese held Salsette Island and the castle marked the northeast boundary of British possession. Sion Fort guarded the city’s entrance from island of Salsette. Its doors would open and close at the boom of cannons.Today, there is a garden at the base of the hillock and you can view a panoramic scene of the city and the salt pans near Thane creek.
Get There: Get down at Sion station and walk.

Mahim Fort, Door
Mahim Fort, Door

Mahim Fort
Mahim fort was built somewhere in 1500s and after the English gained control of the fort, it was strengthened by Sir Thomas Grantham in 1684. In spite of being declared as a grade I heritage structure, you will not believe it is one; the reason being encroachment of slums, poor maintenance and tidal erosion too!
Get There: Mahim fort is also very accessible but yet unnoticed. It is off Mahim causeway. Once you reach St. Michaels church, you have to walk straight towards the sea to reach the fort.

Bandra Fort, Castella De Aguada
Bandra Fort, Castella De Aguada

Bandra Fort
Bandra Fort is relatively more familiar to Mumbaikars, thanks to Bandstand and some Hindi movies. This fort was built in 1640 by Portuguese as a watchtower overlooking Mahim Bay to the south, Arabian Sea to the west, islands of Worli to the south and Mahim town to the south-west. This fort offers a breath-taking view of Bandra Worli Sea Link, especially during night. Did you know that real name of Bandra Fort is Castella De Aguada? (agua meaning water in Portuguese; hence, Watery Castle) It was named so because it had a fountain of fresh water which was used to provide potable water to the Portuguese ships passing by.
Get There:  This is perhaps the most easily accessible fort in city where you can take a bus till Bandstand and walk for a minute or two to reach the fort.

Madh Fort
Madh Fort

Madh Fort
Situated at Madh Island, a northern part of the city and also known as Versova Fort, Madh Fort was built by Portuguese and was won by Marathas in 1739. This too, was built as a watchtower. Though getting to this secluded fort seems easy, you need to take prior permission as now it is under control of the Indian Armed Forces and the Navy.
Get There: Catch bus no. 271 from Malad and get down at the last stop or take a ferry from Versova and come to Madh jetty to reach Madh Fort. Second option is exciting though.

So, which fort you will be marching to this weekend? Do share photos and stories of your visit with us at [email protected]

All images from Wikipedia

Post By Omkar Padwal (42 Posts)

Loves classical and rock music alike, passionate about painting, writing, photography, travelling and eating!

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Omkar Padwal

Omkar Padwal
Loves classical and rock music alike, passionate about painting, writing, photography, travelling and eating!