Location of Kolaba Fort
Kolaba Fort is located in the Arabian Sea around 2 km from the shores of Alibaug and 35 km towards the south of Mumbai.
History of Kolaba Fort
During the rule of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Kolaba Fort was fortified after the forces of Maratha Empire conquered the entire south Konkan. The structure was renovated and strengthened in 1662 and it served as one of the main naval posts of Shivaji’s army. Manik Bhandari and Darya Sagar were entrusted with the command of Kolaba Fort. During this period, the fortress was used to attack the ships of the British East India Company. Its construction was completed during the reign of Sambhuji Maharaj in 1681.
In 1713, Kolaba Fort along with various other fortresses was handed over to Kanhoji Angre, a chief of the Maratha Navy, under the treaty with Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath. The military post was utilized as the chief base for the army of Kanhoji Angre. They launched attacks on British ships from the fortification. In 1721, British and Portuguese came together to seize the fort. Approximately 3000 Portuguese soldiers and 3 English ships attacked the fort but failed. But ultimately, it lost its charm to a fire accident that destroyed the fort in 1729. In 1787 another major fire incident took place in which the Angre Wada was destroyed. In 1842 the British sold the wooden structures in the fort by Auction and used the stones for the construction of Alibaug water works.
Architecture of Kolaba Fort
Kolaba Fort consists of strong fortified walls that are 25 feet high. There are 2 main gateways into the fortress; one entrance is situated on the sea side and the second entrance is towards Alibaug. There are several wells inside the premise that supplied fresh water to the residents. The area within the fort itself is dotted with historical artefacts and vestiges such as cannons and carvings of animals and birds on the fort walls. There is also Siddhivinayak Temple located inside the structure. The shrine was established in 1759 by Raghoji Angre.
Present Condition of Kolaba Fort
At present, the ancient fortress lies in a ruined and dilapidated state. The site is currently maintained by the Government of India and has been declared as a protected monument. Kolaba Fort is now open to all tourists and visitors throughout the year.