History of Belapur Fort
The construction of Belapur Fort began in the year 1560 and ended in 1570. It was built by the Siddis of Janjira after they seized control of the region from the Portuguese. It is located near the mouth of the Panvel Creek. Later the Portuguese forces again occupied the fort in 1682. However in 1733, the forces of the Maratha Empire, under the leadership of Chimnaji Appa, took over the fort and the region by defeating the Portuguese. He had made a vow that if it was successfully recaptured from the Portuguese, he would place a garland of beli leaves in the Amruthaishwar temple. After the victory the fort was christened as Belapur Fort. The Maratha Empire reigned over the region of Belapur till June 1817. Afterwards, the territory and the fort were occupied by the army of the British East India Company, under the command of Captain Charles Gray. The British forces dismantled and demolished the structure to some extent because of their military policy of destroying any Maratha stronghold. The British partially destroyed the fort. A tunnel is also supposed to exist, which according to locals, connects it to Gharapuri Island, the site of the Elephanta Caves.
Restoration of Belapur Fort
At present, Belapur Fort lies in a deplorable condition. It is under the jurisdiction of City and Industrial Development Corporation. Residents have utilized the Right to Information Act to save the fort from becoming a debris site. A pond in the vicinity that supplies water to the area is also in danger of being blocked. The Government of India is currently taking several steps to renovate the entire fort and develop the site as a tourist destination.
Importance of Belapur Fort
The Belapur Fort is a symbol of the history of Navi Mumbai since 1550. The strategically located fort is an excellent example of sea-fort architecture under both the Siddis and the Portuguese.The fort had great significance in the past, however it was deemed to be inactive for a long time. Although in ruins now, tourists visit this site to see the marvelous architecture that predates hundreds of years. The surrounding areas are extremely peaceful and full of greenery. This gives peace to the eyes of travel lovers.