Forts in Mumbai

Historical & Heritage

Forts in Mumbai

Known for it's beaches and nightlife, Mumbai is also home to some significantly historic forts that have withstood the test of time. These forts in Mumbai have become popular heritage sites in the city and hold a lot of cultural significance with regard to the city.

Here is the list of 18 Forts in Mumbai

1. Sion Fort

Sion Fort was constructed by the Governor of Bombay, General Gerald Aungier in the interest of offering a passage from Bombay to the neighbouring island of Salsette. It held prime importance to the British as Salsette was in the hands of the Marathas. Currently, the gap between Salsette and the fort has been taken up by commercial Eastern Express Highway. The Archeological Society of India maintains this piece of heritage. The Fort has disintegrated and does not stand in its original beauty and structure. It is quite evident when you contrast it with a picture captured by James Wales in 1791-92 to its current outlook.

2. Vasai Fort, Pune

Located in the town of Vasai in the Palghar District of Maharashtra, Vasai fort in Mumbai is a majestic fort and a protected monument by the Archaeological Survey of India. Also known as Fort Bassein or Fort Bacaim, it overlooks the confluence of the River Ulhas in the background and is one of the top tourist destinations in the region. Considered to be a heritage site and a notable historical monument, the architectural marvel stands tall with it's chapels and fortifications intact.

3. Belapur Fort, Navi Mumbai

Belapur Fort is a sight that you can find in the Belapur Township of Navi Mumbai. It was constructed in the 16th century by the Siddhis of Janjira. Later the fort has been passed to the Portuguese as well as the British who were present in the area. The fort had great significance in the past after being inactive for a long time. It has now gone into ruins. But tourists can visit this site to see the spectacular architecture that goes back hundreds of years. The surrounding areas are pretty and peaceful as you get to be amongst a lot of greenery.

4. Bandra Fort, Mumbai

Also known as Castella de Aguada, Bandra Fort is an ancient Portuguese Fort that is situated in Land’s End in the Bandra neighborhood of Mumbai. The fort lies several feet high from the average sea level, at a height of 24 m. Besides being a major tourist spot in the region, the fort has also been featured in several Bollywood films like Dil Chahta Hai and Buddha Mil Gaya. It is also frequented by couples and love birds who come here for photo and video shoots, pre wedding shoots etc.

5. Worli Fort

Located in the Worli neighborhood of Mumbai, Worli fort in Mumbai is an ancient defence fort that was built in around 1675. It is often mistaken to have been constructed by the Portuguese. But in reality, it was built by the British as a defence fort as their strategy to lookout for enemy ships and pirates. Overlooking the Mahim Bay, the fort offers some of the best views in the city and is visited by locals and tourists alike. In addition to that, the monument has a built-in well, a temple and ample viewpoints overlooking the vast sea.

6. Gorakhgad

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Gorakhgad is a hill fort in Maharashtra. Gorakhgad and Machindragad are twin forts in the Thane district of Maharashtra. Gorakhgad is situated at an elevation higher than its twin fort.

7. Makarandgad

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Makarandgad (or Madhumakarandgad) is a hill fort in the state of Maharashtra. Believed to be comprised of twin peaks, Madhu and Makarandgad, the fort has thus derived its name.

8. Sri Malang Gad

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Sri Malang gad is a fort in Mumbai near Kalyan in the Raigad district of Maharashtra. It is known popularly as Haji Malang, which is one of the most famous among the three sufi shrines located on the hill. The structure of the fort is three-storeyed, and each tier has a specific name.

9. Mahuli

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Mahuli is a hill fort in Maharashtra. Located in the district of Thane, the peak of the fort rises to an elevation of 2700 feet from the ground. The summit is actually a collection of 2-3 hills, all having typical names.

10. Jivdhan

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Jivdhan is a hill fort in the state of Maharashtra. It is a part of the 'famous five' fort in the Sahyadri mountain range. The other forts which are a part of the famous five include Naneghat, Shivneri, Chavand and Hadsar.

11. Mahipatagad

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Mahipatagad is a hill fort in Mumbai. Mahipatagad is a twin fort of Rasalgad, located in the Ratnagiri district.

12. Cross Island Fort

Colloquially known as Chinal Tekdi, Cross Island is located on the Mumbai Harbour in India. Sandwiched between Dockyard Road and Elephanta Island, Cross Island boasts of immense beauty and sparse population. Among the few structures located on the island, you can find an oil refinery, several large gas holders and gorgeous remains of a ruined fort. Cross Island is located around 400 m from Ferry Wharf and can be reached in a speed boat or ferry.

13. Sewri Fort

Built by the British in 1680 to serve as a watchtower, the Sewri Fort holds historic importance in the trading world of British-India. Overlooking the Mumbai harbor, the fort was primarily built for defense with high border walls and an inner ring for additional protection. The fort sits pretty on top of a 60-meter cliff, landlocked from three sides with the main entrance being a stone doorway, leading into a courtyard. The Archaeology department of Maharashtra is making efforts to revive the fort to ts od glory and also develop a museum in its premises.

14. Dungaree Fort (Dongri Fort)

Locally known as the Irmitri fort, Dongri fort was built during the Maratha rule in 1739. Located right by the sea, you can take 360-degree views with Vasai Fort to the North, Borivali National Park to the East, Essel World and the Water Kingdom to the South. The fort is maintained by the locals in Dongri and a church located nearby.

15. Fort George

Currently located in the neighbourhood of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), Fort George was an extension of the fortified walls of then Bombay, in 1769. The fort was built near the hill where Fort Dongri is present. It was a mile (1.6 kilometres) long and about one-third of a mile (500 meters) wide. The fort was demolished in 1862 and now very little of the fort’s remnants are leftover in the present-day Fort area.

16. Riwa Fort

Also known as Kala Qilla or Black fort, the Riwa fort is hidden in the Dharavi area of Mumbai. Back in the day, the Mithi river flowed by the fort where the Dharavi bus depot currently stands. The fort is currently in a dilapidated condition with a few patches of grass around it. It was built for the purpose of defence and it was believed that the fort had secret passages to Sion fort and Mahim Fort but locals who tried could find a small room that looked like a place to take refuge.

17. Mahim Fort

Built by the then Governor of Bombay - Gerald Aungier in 1669 to strengthen the defense of British-ruled Bombay, the Mahim fort was a place of strategic importance. It attracted many Gujarati Traders and Parsi Shipbuilders making the fort and the city more populous. It looks over Worli to the South, Bandra to the North and Mahim to the East. The fort is currently in a state of disrepair due to tidal erosion and administrative negligence.

18. Mazagaon fort

This fort has been there since the late seventeenth century and it was built as a defense by the British to prevent attacks from the Mughals. It was located atop Bhandarwada which is present-day Joseph Baptista Gardens outside Dockyard Road Railway Station.  In 1884, the Bhandarwada hill was developed by the British as a major water reservoir. However, the fort was attacked by the Muslim Koli general, Yakut Khan and razed it in 1890.

Have you visited any of these forts in Mumbai? If so share your experience with us in the comment section.

This post was published by Harshitha

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