Kolaba Fort, located on Alibag Beach in Alibaug, Konkan, India, is an old fortified maritime base. It is located in the sea, 1-2 kilometres from the shores of Alibag, 35 kilometres south of Mumbai, in the Konkan region of Maharashtra, India. It is a popular tourist attraction as well as a protected monument.
The first mention of Kulaba Fort is when Shivaji chose it to be fortified after the entire South Konkan was liberated. The fort's construction began on March 19, 1680. In 1662, he fortified and strengthened Kolaba Fort to make it one of his main naval bases. Darya Sarang and Mainak Bhandari were given command of the regiment, and Kolaba Fort became the focal point of Maratha attacks on British ships. Chatrapati Shivaji conquered Kolaba Fort.
After Shivaji died in 1680, Chatrapati Sambhaji Raje completed the fort in June 1681. Kolaba and several other regiments were ceded to Sarkhel Kanhoji Angre in 1713 as part of a treaty with Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath. He used it as his primary base for raids on British ships. In response to Angre's actions, the British joined the Portuguese in an expedition against Kolaba on November 17, 1721. A Portuguese land force of 6000 men and three English line ships led by Commodore Mathews assisted, but the attempt failed.
The British blamed the failure on "Portuguese cowardice." Hamilton describes Kolaba around this time as a fort built on a rock, a little way from the mainland and, at high tide, an island. Kanhoji Raje Angre died at the Kolaba Fort on July 4, 1729. Many buildings were destroyed in 1729 due to a major fire near the Pinjara Bastion. Another major fire incident occurred in 1787, killing the Angre Wada. The British auctioned off the wooden structures in the fort in 1842 and used the stones to build the Alibag waterworks.
The fort walls are 25 feet tall on average. It has two main entrances, one on the seafront and one towards Alibag. Despite being a seaside fort, this fort has freshwater wells on its grounds, which is an interesting feature. During the monsoon season, the defence is accessible by wading through waist-deep water at low tide. At high tide, however, boats must be used to get there. There are temples in that fort. Kolaba Fort attracts a large number of visitors. There are houses in the defence where several people live to look after it.
The Ganesh festival is celebrated. This festival draws a large crowd. The fort should be visited when the sea level is low. On the defence, there is a Dargah of Haji Kamaluddin Shah. Two English cannons mounted on wheels are near the fort's northern wall. The cannon bears the inscription "Dawson Hardy Field, Low Moor Ironworks, Yorkshire, England." From around 1790, Dawson, Hardy, and Field were the directors of this major ironworks. Raghoji Angre built the Siddhivinayak temple inside the fort in 1759.
The Kolaba Fort in Alibag is the best option for those on a short visit to Mumbai who want to see one of Maharashtra's famous sea forts. At low tide, the water recedes, exposing the sea bed. Then you can walk up to the island fort two kilometres inside the sea. If you don't want to get your feet wet, hire a pony cart for the back and forth.
Over 300 years old, the fort contains ruins of palaces and other structures. A few temples are inside, including one dedicated to Siddhivinayak (Ganesh). The annual Maghi Ganesh Chaturthi festival and fair (usually held in February) is popular. By road, Alibag is about 96 kilometres from Mumbai. There is a regular ferry service (except during the monsoon season) between Mumbai and Mandwa jetty, from which Alibag is 20 kilometres by road.
Alibaug Beach is a popular tourist spot located near Kolaba Fort. It is a picturesque beach with black sand and offers a serene and relaxing atmosphere. You can enjoy beach walks, water sports and beautiful sunset views.
Kashid Beach is another beautiful beach located approximately 30 kilometres from Kolaba Fort. It is known for its pristine white sand and clear turquoise waters. You can relax on the beach, swim, and indulge in water activities like jet skiing and banana boat rides.
Murud Janjira Fort is a historical fort about 50 kilometres from Kolaba Fort. It is situated on an island in the Arabian Sea and is known for its impressive architecture and strategic location. You can take a boat ride to the fort and explore its intriguing history and panoramic views.
Nagaon Beach is a tranquil beach located around 10 kilometres from Kolaba Fort. It is less crowded than other popular beaches in the region and offers a peaceful environment. You can engage in swimming, beach volleyball, and horse riding.