The first webinar session of the Konkan webinar series concluded successfully
Mumbai: The first webinar session of the ‘Webinar series on Konkan Tourism’, organised by Maharashtra Tourism, was conducted successfully on Friday, April 23, 2021, on the official Facebook page of Konkan Tourism Regional office – DoT. The session was hosted by Mr. Raghuji Raje Angre, who shared valuable insights on the subject of ‘Sea Forts’ in Konkan and it was moderated by Mr. Hanumant Hede, Deputy Director (Tourism) Regional Office, Konkan Division, Navi Mumbai. It was attended by 78 participants from different parts of the State.
Mr. Raghuji Raje Angre, a descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s Chief of Army Staff Kanhoji Angre, has been studying forts of Konkan for many years. During his session, he stated that there are 63 forts in the Konkan region but out of these only 12-15 are well-known and attract tourists. He said if one decides to visit all the forts in the Konkan region, it will take at least 104 weekends. He added that the forts in the region are of great historical significance as they were built by many prominent rulers such as Shilahar Raje, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj among others about 800-1000 years ago.
He mentioned that the Konkan coast from Vasai to Vengurla is endowed with rich bio-diversity and the 720 km stretch has everything from a metropolitan city i.e. Mumbai to a small village like Vengurla. The belt has many beaches, forts, harbours and waterfalls which are great tourist attractions.
Mr. Angre shared valuable information on some of the lesser-known forts in the region including Karnala Fort which is located inside the Karnala Bird Sanctuary, and Sagargad Fort which is surrounded by lush green hills and about 150 years ago, a British Colonel Meland built retreat homes here. He said that the nearby Siddheshwar Falls is a great place to visit during monsoon. He then spoke about the ramparts of Kolaba fort which have stood the test of times and was the main station of Maratha Navy. He added that the construction of this Fort was different from the construction style during this era. It was built by stacking medium sized rocks on one another with no cementing material. Gaps between the rock slabs were left open so that when a wave hits the wall, water enters inside through these gaps, reducing the force of the wave. Towards the west of the fort, one can see Yashwant Darwaja which opens to the sea. He then shared information about Khanderi fort which was recently renamed as Kanhoji Angre Island. The main attraction here is the Kanhoji Angre lighthouse. One can see an amazing rock here which is when struck with another stone, emits metallic musical notes, like Hampi musical pillars. Underi is a companion fort to Khanderi and has lesser tourism facilities.
Other forts he highlighted were:
· Korlai was an important fort for the Portuguese. The Portuguese used it to defend their province which stretched from Korlai to Bassein. Vestiges of the Portuguese occupation are manifested in the distinct dialect of the Korlai village’s inhabitants which is a Portuguese Creole.
· The Chaul and Padmadurg forts are the historical sea forts. The first European to have landed in Chaul was a Russian traveller called Athanasius Nikitin. One can witness the existence of a hitherto unknown rock-cut Buddhist cave at Agrav near Chaul. Situated near Murud-Janjira fort is the Padmadurg fort. It was built to counter Siddis. The shape of the fort resembles an open lotus, also known as Padma, substantiating its etymological significance. Numerous sculptures and motifs of the lotuses can be seen inside the fortress too.
· The Mandangad fort is described as one of the oldest fort in Ratnagiri and is tourist friendly.
· Suvarnadurg is a fort that is located on a small island in the Arabian Sea, near Harnai in Konkan. It was conquered by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in 1660 and was an important strategic point for the Marathas. Kanhoji Angre started his career here. The fort also includes another small land fort called the Kanakadurg and other land side forts such as Bankot fort, Fategad fort and Gova fort.
· The Ratnagiri or Bhagawati fort is situated near the Ratnagiri docks and is famous for the Goddess Bhagawati temple. Jaigad fort is a historical landmark and Jaigad harbour near the fort is one of the best harbours. The palace of Kanhoji Angre lies in the middle of the fort along with temples of Lord Ganesh and Hanuman in the premises. Ganpatipule, Kolisare, Lakshmikeshav, and Malgund are the places you can visit around Jaigad. Also, the huge Chougule shipyard and Jindal power plant are located in the vicinity.
· Vijaydurg fort is known as the Gibraltar of Asia and is a masterpiece of ancient architecture. It was a prominent location for the Maratha warship. It was constructed during the regime of Raja Bhoja II of the Shilahar dynasty and restructured by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. It served as a strong naval base for Admiral Kanhoji Angre.
· Devgad Fort is an important fort in Sindhudurg district. It was under the control of Kanhoji Angre for a long period. The beauty of the fort enthrals the tourists and offers a panoramic view of the sea.
Mr. Angre shared comprehensive information about the features of each place, such as the fish market at Harnai, the rock-climbing sidewalks, beautiful sandy beaches, the renovation of the sites, and the history of many sites. His in-depth knowledge of Konkan history, geography and adventure sports was very evident throughout the session. Overall, this webinar was a treasure trove of knowledge for tourism and trekking enthusiasts.
At the end of the webinar, Mr. Hanumant Hede thanked the audience and the speaker. He also sought for valuable suggestions from the participants that would be useful in the development of tourism in Konkan.
The webinar series on Konkan Tourism is open to all and can be viewed on the official Facebook page of the Konkan Tourism Regional Department every Friday at 4.30 pm. Next Friday’s (30th April) webinar is based on turtle tourism. Speaker Bhau Katdare will share his valuable knowledge in the field of turtle conservation and tourism.
It is requested by Mr. Hanumant Hede, Deputy Director (Tourism) Konkan Region, Navi Mumbai that people working in the tourism industry as well as the tourists must attend the webinar series to gain insightful information on various tourism related developments that are being undertaken in the region.
Maharashtra Tourism has organised this webinar series in order to drive awareness and share relevant information of the Konkan region’s rich history, heritage and culture. It will be held from 23rd April 2021 to 28th May’2021, every Friday at 4:30 pm.