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Bankot Fort aka Himmatgad aka Victoria Fort in Ratnagiri district in Masharashtra

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Bankot Fort is located at the mouth of Bankot Creek, where River Savitri (which originated from Mahableshwar) meets the Arabian Sea. Bankot Fort is located in  Ratnagiri district in Maharashtra.  
Chicken Thali at Mandangad

 After having a spicy chicken thali at a local restaurant at Mandangad (market place near the ST bus stand) we decided to go visit the Bankot Fort. Here is a photo of the Chicken Thali. The Veg Thali photo is not available, as it is bad manners looking into other's food plate. LOL. 

The time was now 2:30 PM on my watch. We didn't want to waste any time travelling on the wrong roads so we decided to ask the locals for direction to reach the fort as fast as we can, as we had to board a ferry to cross over to visit Shrivardhan Beach. 
Entrance to Bankot Fort
Again the roads are not in the best condition, so one needs to drive slowly on the narrow roads. The roads offer a wonderful view of the hill ranges around. It took us around an hour's time to reach the Bankot Fort. One can reach by car to the entrance of the fort. So no climbing or trekking is needed here. 
Manohar, Neha and Me near Bankot Fort
The time was around 3:35 PM on my watch now. We decided to explore the fort. The fortification of the fort was intact. This is a very small fort in comparison to the many forts that I have seen. The Main Entrance or Maha Darwaza has two bastions surrounding it apart from other bastions. It also has a chor darwaza. We climbed over the walls of the fort to explore the fort from within and outside. 
Inside Bankot Fort
History doesn't mention as to who built Bankot Fort. But the fort has conquered by many. The latest rulers were the British who had named it Fort Victoria. They had conquered it from The Marathas, who had conquered it from the Portuguese and named it Himmatgad. The Portuguese had conquered it from Adil Shah.  
Fortification of Bankot Fort
Nothing much to see in the inside of the fort. There is a temple and water body. The entire fort can be surveyed in 20 minutes time. This fort might have been built as a watchtower offering a good defensive view of the creek, land and sea around.  
Shinning waters at Bankot
The fort offers a wonderful view of the Bankot Creek. As the sun was shinning, it appeared like the land was covered in a sheet of gold. Good I was wearing googles, else I would have been blinded with the glitter. 
Fortification at Bankot Fort
We then hurried away to the Bankot Jetty to board a ferry to cross the creek, to reach Shrivardhan Beach.  
Directions to Bankot Fort from Mandangad

Mandangad Fort aka Chitradurga Fort in Ratnagiri district in Maharashtra

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

I had explored Alibag, Murud Janjira and Malvan on the coast of Maharashtra. But this time I wanted to explore the remaining beaches. We decided to explore Harnai Beach and its surroundings. 
View from atop Mandangad Fort
 After our successful Wai trip, I decided to do a overnight trip at Harnai too. BTW it is around 230 KM away from Mumbai so it is best to stay overnight here. 

I had planned the Light House at Kanak Durga, Fattegad, Goa Fort and Suvarnadurg at Harnai on Day 1 of our trip and Panhalekaji Caves and Unavare hot water springs on Day 2 of our trip on my itinerary. I shared the same with Manohar and Neha, who had accompanied me to Jawahar and Zenith Waterfalls and they agreed to accompany me. Three's Co. it was. 
Ganesh Temple atop Mandangad Fort
How do we travel was the question, Public transport i.e ST bus and Tum Tum or take the car. I was not in favor of taking the car along as Manohar would have to drive all the way, and the journey, was for sure tiresome for him. End of Day I had to give in and we decided to travel by car, when Neha told me that there is not proper transportation to take us to our destination in two days time. 
400 year old cannon atop Mandangad Fort
As decided we meet up at Ghatkopar Railway station on the Eastern Side and boarded the Swift to go to Harnai Beach. Now Harnai Beach is located around 230 KM away from Mumbai. So it would take us around 5 to 6 hours to reach there (taking into consideration breakfast and pullover breaks). 

Like always we switched on the GPS and followed instructions on Google Maps. We usually take the most trodden path not realizing that it can sometimes be the longest one. We exited out of Panvel, moved to Khopoli and then to Mangaon. 
View from atop Mandangad Fort
It is at Mangaon, that the itinerary changed after we was a signboard with distances to Mandangad, Harihareshwar and Shrivardhan. 

Neha told us that there are forts at Mandangad and Bankot, which are nearby. We immediately decided to visit them. As we love visiting forts. 
Artifacts atop Mandangad Fort
Switched of the unreliable GPS and started asking locals for directions to reach Mandangad in Ratnagiri district. ST depot in Mandangad is located in the market area from where buses and tum tum are available to travel around Mandangad.  Irrespective of the signboards we still decided to ask the locals to visit the Mandangad Fort as we didn't want to waste time nor waste fuel driving on wrong roads. 

We soon started climbing over the narrow and curvy roads surrounded with thick vegetation on either side. To reach the top. There is a white gate under lock and key. Car can't go inside but humans can.  
Road leading to Mandangad Fort
History states that Mandangad Fort aka Chitradurga Fort was captured by Shivaji from Adil Shah. 

The hill offers a wonderful view of the other hill ranges around us. The weather was just right, not sunny but breezy so it felt really good standing atop the hillock and seeing the narrow roads leading. to the top of the fort. 
Directions to Mandangad Fort from ST Bus Stand at Mandangad
Greenery was soothing to my eyes. Thanks to the rains that it is green all over. But it hasn't rained here in the last couple of days time. We were hoping rains on this trip :(

There is no fortification remaining on the fort. There is a Ganesh temple, a orange colored cannon which is said to be around 400 years old, two water tanks or ponds, a dilapidated house and a podium atop the fort. It took us around 30 minutes to explore the fort, we then headed off to have some lunch post that we were to explore Bankot Fort.  
Directions from Ghatkopar East to Mandangad ST Bus Stand

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