Alibag is the a small town on the coast of the Arabian Sea, with a vast seashore stretching from Rewas to Revdanda. Alibag is famous for coconut and betelnut plantations and a large number of historic places to visit. Lately Alibag has become a preferred weekend holiday destination for people from Mumbai looking for an beautiful getaway from the hustle and bustle of urban Mumbai. Alibag used to be the headquarters the great Maratha Admiral, Kanhoji Angre and has the famous Kolaba fort in the sea.
Kanhoji Angre created the town of Alibag towards end of 17th century. Legend has it that a wealthy Muslim named Ali Owned many plantations, which gave the town the name Alibag. Alibag is the seat of District Administration of Raigad (formerly Kolaba) district since 1852. The name Kolaba is attributed to a Sea Fort Kolaba built by Shivaji the great, in 1680 to fight the mighty naval prowess of the Siddis' (Abyssenians) of Janjira and the British of Mumbai. Kolaba fort is famous for many battles, between Siddis and Kanhoji Angre, the British and the Portugese.
The Kolaba Fort is accessible only at low ebb through a 1 km long land strip that is covered during high tide. The fort has a sweet water well in the middle, temples, fortifications and guns facing the sea. Being on the fort gives you a taste if the history of Alibag.
Alibag is surrounded by beautiful pristine beaches such as Aakshi, Nagaon, Kihim, Kashid (white sand beaches)etc. Other places of interest are the Vikram Vinayaka temple, Revdanda, Vikram Ispat factory, Kanakeshwar, temples of Sri Datta, Shitala Devi, Hingulja Devi, Sri Rameshwar,
Alibag produces classic local products like seasonal white onions, tamrind balls, tender coconut, dried fish of tremendous variety, water melons, palm fruit (Tadgola) Jamun, Mangoes of local and Alphonso variety, Flowers with intense fragnance like Sonchampa, Bakul etc. Fresh fish such as Pomfret, Surmai, Ghol, Saranga are also available in the Alibag fish market and can be ordered at our cottage. Alibag provides an excellent holiday destination as well as a great place to visit historical landmarks.
PLACES TO VISIT
It is located 1 km across from Alibag beach. The Great Maratha-warrior Shivaji started the construction of this sea fort in 1680 A.D. The fort is 900 ft. long, 350 ft. wide and has 25 ft. high walls which have 17 bastions (burj) on all sides. The fort has been standing for over 300 years. The fort can only be accessed during ebb tide through a narrow strip of land which goes underwater during high tide. The huge front entrance arch has tigers, peacocks, elephants sculpted on it. Beyond that comes another small gate. Next to that gate are the shrines of Mahishasura and Padmavathi, Kanifnath, Sri Ganesh and the fort-deity. Next to them comes the sourthern gate which is variously known as Darya/Yeshwant Darwaja. Raghoji Angre built a beautiful temple of Shri Ganesh in front of the sweet water tank in 1759. The inner sanctum sanctorum includes images of Sri Ashtabhuja Devi, Shiv, Vishnu, Surya. The collection of the pantheon lends it the name 'Shri Ganesh Panchayatan'. Within the premises, you will find a well and a tank of sweet water in the midst of sea! On one of the 17 bastions, two cannons in intact condition can be seen. The Archaeological Survey of India charges a token entry Fee for the visitors.
It is situated just on the outskirts of Alibag. It is relatively less visited site and as a result is a quiet beach with sparkling white sand and cleaner seawater. Varsoli is a small satellite village across Alibag, complete with thick vegetation of coconut and Casuarina.
This historic Port is the last destination in Alibag Taluka, situated 17 kms from Alibag. The creek, which meets the Arabian sea, separates Alibag and Murud Talukas. The creek is busy with sand and fish carrying vessels. To the right across the creek, is Vikram Ispat jetty for unloading the iron ore and to the left is the Ispat factory.
Revdanda is 17 kms to the south of Alibag where remnants of huge outer walls of this fort, built by the Portugese in 1558, can be seen. The thick outer walls are hollow from within and these clandestine routes are interconnected. A structure, in dilapidated state today, known as 'Saat Khani Buruj (bastion) was constructed in 1534. These walls run 5-6 kms in length.
Three to four kilometers into the sea from Thai beach, which is 5 kms from Alibag, this fort was built in 1678 on a small island. Later, a light house was erected. This fort was for long under the Angre's control. Today it is under Bombay port trust administration. With their permission, you can visit the fort in local boats.
Just 374th of a Kilometer away from Khanderi, this is another island fort built by Siddi Qasam in 1680. Supremacy over this fort kept shifting between the Siddis, Peshwas, Angres and later the British. One can visit this fort with permission from the Bombay port trust. Local fishing boats can be hired for a visit.
This hill-fort, 7kms from Alibag is an old fort of Shivaji's times at 1357ft from sea-level. A dirt-track road to this fort begins at Khandala on Alibag-Pen road to the East. Half-way to the fort is Siddheshwar temple and an Ashram, where you can rest a while. During rainy season, one finds a cascading waterfall at this spot. To the left just before the Ashram, the trek-route to Sagargad begins. In an hour's time, one can reach the fort. The main gate is in completely desolate state while the two bastions are partially dilapidated. Inside, a temple and a small tank are in a disused state. Another tank is known as Pandav Kund. On the fort proper, one finds nine tombs of Satis. The place is called Sati Plateau. Besides this plateau a thumb-like erect land mass is known as Wanartok. The fort is totally uninhabited.
In the heart of Alibag town, this fort was built by the Angres in 1720. Its imposing black Bassalt high walls are indicative of the significance of this fort. Legend has it that the Angre treasure used to be housed in it. Today, it is used as District Jail.
TOMB OF KAlNHOJI ANGRE:
Just five-minute walk from Alibag ST stand, on way to market, is this tomb. The structure has 8 faces and the pillars are exquisitely sculpted. Though in dilapidated state today, it stands in sacred memory of the great Maratha Admiral Konhoji Angre.
Two minutes distance from Alibag bus station stands this mansion in renovated form. The seat of Angre dynasty, some historic artefacts are kept in the first floor hall.
Chatri is tomb in Marathi. Here, one finds stone tombs of Angre rulers with artistic carvings on them.
Established in 1904, this observatory is the only one of its kind in Asia and one of 13 in the whole world, with whom data is exchanged every 12 minutes. The British period building that houses rare valuable instruments like a magnatograph is built only in stone, with no steel used. The observatory records magnetic movement in the earth's' crust and also magnetic storms caused by solar storms.
NIKITIN MEMORIAL, REVDANDA:
The first ever Russian to land on Indian soil was Afnasi Nikitin, some 500 years back. In memory of this historic event, a mounument is erected in the premises of SRT High School, Revdanda. The memorial also symbolizes Indo-Russian friendship
SHRI KANAKESHWAR SHRINE:
13 Kms from Alibag in Northeast direction is this very famous Shiv temple on a 900 ft. high hill. Its' a 5000 ft. long climb on well paved stairs, which takes around one hour landmarks along the route are tombs of MohanGiri and Balgiri, Nagoba Rest, Jambhali Plateau, God's stair, Gaymandi etc. The fatigue of the uphill climb vanishes the moment one enters the scenic temple premises . It comprises various small temples of Sri Paleshwar, Sri Hanuman, Sri Balram Krishna and Lord Shiv. The special attraction is an ancient sweet water tank enclosed in traditional structure of black stone. The ancient temple was built by Raja Ramdeorai yadav. The height of the Shiv temple is 54 ft. The front gate has Lion sculpture on both sides with traditional lamp-pillar(deepmaal) in front. The 4 ft. long 'Pindi' of Lord Shiv is Silver plated. The premises also include Nagaar-khana, Bheem Kunda, a garden for flowers to be offered to the Lord, Sri Ram Ganesh temple and Gomukha. Every year, Kartik Poornima in Hindu calender is the day of fair. On this hill, variety of herbs are found.
SRI DATTA TEMPLE, BHOVALEl (CHAUL):
18 kms from Alibag on Alibag-Revdanda road, this is another very famous hill shrine. One has to climb around 700 stairs to reach this shrine surrounded by vegatation. Important landmarks are Swami Samartha Mutt, Sadhana Kutir, HareRam retiring room, Hare Ram Baba Dhuni Mandir, Audumbar Mutt, Mai Jankibai Mutt.
SRI RAMAESHWAR MANDIR, CHAUL:
This ancient shrine of Shiv looks like built in 'Hemadpant' style of Architecture, though, when it was built is not known. Angre history references say that it was renovated many times. The structure comprises of prayer hall (sabhamandap), sanctum sanctorum and 7.62 meter high summit shaped dome. In front of the prayer hall, there are three tanks (kund) namely Parjanya Kund, Agni kund and Vayoo kund.
SHITALADEVI TEMPLE (CHAUL):
On Alibag-Revdanda Road, 14kms away from Alibag is Chaul and from there one can hire on autorickshaw to reach this ancient temple-Originally it was built with a tiled roof and wooden structure. In 1990, it was renovated into a modern structure. It is a greatly revered shrine.
KARMARKAR SHILPALAYA (Sasawane):
18 kms from Alibag on Aliba Rewas Road, 150 works of art of the famous sculptor Late Mr. Nanasaheb Karmarkar are displayed in his own bunglow. The exhibition is open the whole day, all days of a week and entry fee is Rs.5/- per head. Filming the sculptures on camera is charged Rs. 10/- while video-shooting is charged Rs. 50/-
RAIGAD ZILLA PARISHAD, ALIBAG:
This central building of Raigad Z.P. on the sea shore is artistically designed. Known as Shivtirtha it houses all the department of the Z.P, The main entrance and internal walls are adorned with murals and paintaings depicting historic events in the life of Shivaji the Great and meaningful couplets from writings of Marathi saint-poets. The auditoriums in the building are well-equipped.
VIKRAM VINAYAK MANDIR [SALAV):
20kms from Alibag, across Revdanda Bridge, to the left is this beautiful temple within the Vikram Ispat premises. The towering dome in exquisite white granite is visible from a long distance. Situated on a small hillock, you can walk up to the temple over well-paved stairs. The surroundings of the temple are made up of a well-planned garden and colourful fountains. The prayer hall is open on all sides and the roof is made of transparent Polycorp sheet. The temple has idols of Shree Radha-Krishnna, Shree Shiv-Parvati, Goddess Druga and Lord Surya. Life-size statue of Late Aditya Birla Stands in the garden. The pooja and prayer can be attended at 9am and 7.15pm every day. Entry into the temple premises is open from 6am to 11.30am and 4.30pm to 9.pm only. ST buses, 3 or 6 seaters are available from Alibag and 3 or 6 seaters can be hired from Revdanda Bus Station.
Just as we cross the bridge, to the right there is Korlai fort within the sea and attached to the mainland by a narrow land strip through the Korlao fort through the Korlai Village. It is supposed to have been built by the portugese in 1521. The main gate has an inscription which means 'no entry without a fight'. The fort has seven gates, a sweet water well, a church in disuse, a Hindu timple and a Lighthouse.
The famous Kashid beach is located 18 kms from Murud. The specialty of this beach is the beautiful slivery white sand. literally dazzling silveri on this clean beach. It's a favorite spot for advertising, TV serial and film shoots. The beach is complete with small-food stalls. If you are travelling from Alibag to Murud, the last U-turn in the Ghat section of the road that descends on the Kashid beach is simply mesmerizing'!
This village was know as Nandigram in ancient times. Believers feel that a 'Darshan' of Lord Ganesh here lends finale to the 'Asthtavinayak' pilgrimage. A grand festival takes place every year on 'Maghi Chaturthi' day and another traditionally auspicious day for 'Darshan' is 'sankashti chaturthi' every month.
PHANSAD SANCTUARY (52.71 sq kms):
Before Nandgaon, on way to Murud comes Borli village, 7kms to the left is this 'Game' reserved forest for the erstwhile Nawab of Murud. Today, this is a Government Sanctuary for rabbits, wolves, tigers etc. There is an information center, an exhibition, trekking facilities are made available by the government near Supegaon. These facilities are approachable on Murud-Roha road via. Supegaon at Usroli, 7 kms from Murud.
NAWAB'S PALACE (MURUD):
When you are about to enter Murund town, this palace is situated on the right side on a plateau with the sea for a backdrop. One appreciates the choice of location. Built in 1885, it is a private property of the royal family and prohibited for outsider. The architecture is a mix of Mughal and Gothic styles.
SRI DATTA SHRINE:
To the north of Murud, on a beautiful hill this temple was built by Sri Brahmendra Swami-Kjanhoji Angres' spiritual Guru. Watching the sun setting in the sea from this place is an unforgettable experience. To the south, Alkapuri is a picnic spot. From there, a motorable road leads upto the shrine. Some distance from there, trekkers would love to visit another ancient Lord Shiv temple, 'Kshetra Pal'.
1 1/2 kms away from the Datta temple, on a still higher location is the Nawabi Idgah. With thick vegetation, tall mountains around, this place lends a spiritual experience of natures beauty and absolute peace! This is another site best suited for watching sunset.
These are tombs of siddis spiritual Gurus Sayyad Ali Nazeer and Nawabs Siddi Sirul Khan Siddi Khairiyat khan siddi khairiyat khan, Siddi Yakoot khan. The structures in Indo-Islamic style are works of beauty. The place is 6 kms from Murud on Murud-Aagardanda (jetty) road. The place is 6 kms from Murud on Murud-Aagardanda (jetty) road.
Progressively-minded Nawab of recent past, Sir Siddi Ahmed Khan dedicated this Dam to Queen Victoria's memory. Source of water supply to the town even today, this place is where Nature is at her best! Chirping of birds and music of running water on the backdrop of thick vegetation, a scenic valley.
On way to Garambi, we pass through village Shighre. During rainy season, we can approach this fall via. Saygaon. It's a 30 minute walk through fields with beautiful mountains on one side
From Murud on way to Janjira, we pass through a small hamlet Ekdara, on the hill slope. To the west of this hill, this is a small but ancient temple of Lord Shiva Devotees believe that the 'pindi' of shiva at Harihareshwar near Shrivardhan was originally here.
This jetty provides a link between Murud Taluka and Shrivardhan Taluka by sea route. On the other side is Dighi port of Shrivardhan Taluka. Aagardanda is 9 kms from Murud. Launches for Dighi are also available from Rajpuri jetty near here.
Murud beach is surrounedd on three sides by mountains. The water here is clear blue and the sand is slivery white. The sunset from this beach is also fabulous.
CARVINGS AT KUDE MANDAD:
These Buddha period carvings are 25 kms south of Murud via. Bhalgaon. A Saatwahana Dynasty Aristocrat named Mahabhoj, ruled from Rajpuri near Murud around 100 B.C. He got these carvings carried out in the hill rock for Buddhist monks as their lodging/resting place. 200 feet above sea level there are 26 compartments in two tiers-15 in the lower and 11 in the upper tier. They comprise 5 Chaityas, 21 Vihars, a huge Stoopa and water tanks. The pillars are exquisitely decorated. One also finds inscriptions in Brahmi script. To the west of this group of carvings, is vast expanse of Arabian sea, scenic hilly region of Tala taluka to the east and Ghosala hill fort to the north.
KASA (PADMADURGA) FORT:
When Shivaji the Great decidied to take on the Siddis of Janjira, his admiral, Daulat Khan, built this fort on an island next to Janjira. The rock, on which the fort was built, was called Kasa and the fort was named Padmadurg. The fort has six bastions, some of them devastated by Gun attack from the famous 'kalal bangdi' gun in Janjira. Kasa was soon overpowered by Siddis and used as a Jail. Private boat can be hired to visit this fort.
This overwhelming guardian of the Siddi naval prowess over the Arabian sea, can be approached in sail boats, which leave from Rajpuri jetty, 5 kms from Murud. As we land at the front gate of the fort, two formidable bastions. can be seen guarding the huge gate. Here is a sculpture in stone depicting a Lion that has overpowered six elephants. The main gate is followed by another gate where 3 lungers/anchors are clearly visible in front of shrine of 5 Peers(peerpanchayatan). Opposite of that is a big sweet water tank. Around that stand Khasha Siddi Masjid and ruins of houses. Next comes Surul Khan's mansion(wada). In the backyard, remnants of Hindu sculptures are visible. During archaeological excavations in 1985, temple ruins and a 'Shivaling' was found. On the background, fortified bulwarks with guns positioned, are unmistakable. There are 24 bastions in all, having their separate names. Special attraction of this fort is 3 Gigantic Cannons named Kalalbangdi, Chavri and Landa Kasam. Another gate to the west is sea- facing,called'Darya Darwaza'.
HOW TO GET HERE
By Road :
One can reach Alibag via Pen (30 km), located on the Mumbai-Goa Road. If you are travelling from Mumbai, you can reach Alibag by NH 17. The distance is approximately 95.3 kms from Mumbai.
By Rail :
The nearest railway station is located at Pen. The railway station is connection to Panvel in Mumbai through the Central Railway station. One can then reach Alibag by local transport (buses, taxis, auto-rickshaws).
The nearest jetty is located at Mandawa from where ferry services are available to the Gateway of India. Another port around Alibag is in the district of Rewas.
The nearest airport is of Mumbai, 93 km from Alibag. By taxi the travel costs about Rs 1,500. Mumbai airport is well connected to all important cities in India and abroad.