Murud Janjira Chronicles: Discover the Enchantment Within!

Murud Janjira is a hidden gem nestled on the western coast of Maharashtra, India. This picturesque coastal town boasts a rich history, magnificent architectural wonders, and breathtaking natural beauty. A journey to Murud Janjira is not just a visit to a tourist destination; it’s a journey through time and nature, where you can immerse yourself in the enchanting tales of the past and revel in the awe-inspiring beauty that surrounds you.Murud Janjira Chronicles: Discover the Enchantment Within!

Majestic Murud Janjira: A Coastal Haven of History and Beauty

Murud Janjira is located in the Raigad district and is situated on an island off the Arabian Sea. This small town is renowned for its majestic sea fort, Murud Janjira Fort, which stands tall as a testament to the region’s glorious history. Beyond the fort, Murud Janjira offers a kaleidoscope of experiences, from its pristine beaches and lush green landscapes to its vibrant local culture and mouthwatering coastal cuisine.

The History of Murud Janjira

Murud Janjira Chronicles: Discover the Enchantment Within!

India was ruled by various foreign rulers like Turks, Afghans, Mughals, Dutch, French, Portuguese, and English for many years. They ruled over different geographical regions of the Indian Peninsula. Most of the territory was under the control of the Mughals and the British, while the Portuguese established establishments in Diu, Daman, and Goa, and the French in scattered places such as Pondicherry and Chandarnagar. The least known of all these foreign rulers are the Sidis of Africa! Although some areas of India have been under the rule of Sidi rulers, people do not know much about Sidi.

The Enigmatic Legacy: Exploring the Sidi Connection and the Majestic Murud Janjira Fort

Murud Janjira Chronicles: Discover the Enchantment Within!

The connection of the Sidi, or Negroes, with India is legendary. It is known in history that the kings-maharajas of India took the help of Sidi warriors in their armies. On the other hand, there was a Sidi rule in our country at one time, and that too for three centuries. It will not be surprising when it is known. Now, of course, there are historical buildings reminiscent of the Sidi regime; a visit to those places inspires a unique thrill. A fort named Murud Janjira in Raigarh district of Maharashtra still stands in the middle of the sea as a reminder of the bygone era of Sidi rule. The history of this fort is very interesting, and after knowing about it, the visit becomes more interesting.



Konkan Chronicles: Exploring the Diverse Terrain and Coastal Wonders of Western India

Murud Janjira Chronicles: Discover the Enchantment Within!

The Konkan region in the west of India has a diverse topography of igneous rock highlands, plains, and coasts. At present, it touches parts of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, and Kerala. It has the Arabian Sea on one side and the Western Ghats on the other. It rains heavily in the monsoons, so the climate is extremely humid. The routes built between the Western Ghats are of strategic as well as commercial importance. Konkan’s coastline is unique, with many bays. Many springs in this area flow into the Arabian Sea.

Janjira Fort: Unraveling the Unique Tapestry of History, Geography, and Culture

Murud Janjira Chronicles: Discover the Enchantment Within!

The fort of Janjira, located in a region with such a unique topography, was also becoming unique in many ways. The total area of Janjira is only 981.61 square kilometers. It had state status before independence, and its population in 1941 AD was around 11 million. The Janjira kingdom consisted of Murud and Srivardhan, and Murud Janjira was the capital of that kingdom. The word ‘Janjira’ is a corruption of the original Arabic word ‘Jazira’, which means ‘island’. Murud is the name of the village. It once meant ‘negroes’ in Marathi. Thus, the name Murud Janjira is composed of Marathi and Arabic words.

Ancient Konkan: A Tapestry of Trade and Dynasties

Konkan’s trade relations with Egypt and Babylon (Iraq) are centuries old. Konkan became part of the Magadha Empire during the reigns of the Bimbisara and Ajatashatru kings. It was then ruled by the Nanda dynasty, the Maurya dynasty, Satavahana, Trikutaka, Kalachuri, Chalukya, Rashtrakuta, Kadamba, and lastly, the Yadava dynasty of Devgiri. Abyssinia (Ethiopia) in Africa was a major contributor to the maritime trade between Africa and India. The people of this province, as well as the nobles, used to come to South India for trade.

Rising from the Waves: The Tale of Rajaram Patil and the Coastal Fortress Amidst Invasions

Murud Janjira Chronicles: Discover the Enchantment Within!

The Konkan coast was restless due to frequent invasions by Arabs, Turks, and sea pirates. These invaders looted, killed, and set property on fire during their invasions. In the fifteenth century, a local fisherman named Rajaram Patil built a wooden fort on the island (then known as Medhekot). Rajaram was originally the naval commander of Ahmadnagar and built the fort only with the permission of Malik Ahmad Shah, the ruler of Ahmadnagar. In no time, Rajaram Patil became the master of the fort. His political dominance began to increase, and he refused to accept the Nizam’s rule.





The Treacherous Turn: The Fall of Janjira and the Ascendancy of the Sidis

Murud Janjira Chronicles: Discover the Enchantment Within!

For this gesture, Malik Ahmad Shah decided to take away the fort of Janjira from Rajaram. He assigned this task to his Abyssinian general, Piram Khan. Although Piram Khan had marched from Surat, he found defeat certain in attacking Janjira. So he took another path. Disguised as a merchant. He requested to be kept safe three hundred boxes full of silk and liquor on the Janjira. With Rajaram’s permission, Piram Khan put the boxes on the island. One night, Rajaram and his soldiers were properly served liquor. They all became drunk, so Piram Khan attacked the fort with his soldiers. Patil was captured and later killed. Abyssinian Sidi Piram Khan became Subedar of Janjira. After some time, his successor, Burhan Khan, built a fortified fort here. This construction was completed in 1571 AD. The fort was named ‘Janjira Mehrub’ meaning moon-shaped island. Thus ended the rule of the Patils over Janjira and the beginning of the rule of the Sidis, descendants of Piram Khan, which was to last for about 300 years.

Unyielding Janjira: The Indomitable Fortress and the Unsuccessful Maratha Assaults

Murud Janjira Chronicles: Discover the Enchantment Within!

During this long period, there were several invasions to gain control of Janjira, but the Sidis did not allow them to succeed. Chhatrapati Shivaji attacked this fort thirteen times but failed in each one. After conquering the forts of Khalegarh, Ghosalgarh, and Raigad, Shivaji attacked the fort of Janjira. In 1659, he sent two of his generals, Shamraj Pant and Bhaji Golap, to conquer Janjira, but they were unsuccessful. After that, for the second time, Nilopant Raghunath Majmudar and Mayaji Bhatkar managed to lay siege to the fort but failed to capture it. In 1670 AD, it was invaded once again, but the Sidis defeated this invasion with the help of the Mughal soldiers, and the Marathas suffered a heavy loss.

Many such invasions over the next eight years yielded no results, and even Shivaji’s son Sambhaji is said to have attempted. Instead of attacking, he decided to dig a way to the fort. In this attempt, during the excavation, so much sand was produced that the sand was used in the construction of Padma durg (castle of Kasa) on the opposite bank, at a distance of four kilometers in the south-west direction.

Janjira’s Evolution: From Unconquered Fortress to Princely State Under British Rule

Murud Janjira Chronicles: Discover the Enchantment Within!

Besides the Marathas, the British, the Portuguese, and the Dutch made massive attacks on the fort of Janjira, but it remained unconquered. After the British expanded their rule in India, Maratha attacks on Janjira stopped. In 1733 AD, the British signed a peace treaty with the Sidi rulers of Janjira. Six decades later, Janjira became a part of the ‘Bombay Presidency‘ and further in 1834 AD, the British rulers declared Janjira under their rule. The Sidi ruler Nawab Sidi Muhammad Khan (II) came under the rule of the British. Janjira currency was abolished by the British. Janjira Mehrub and its surrounding areas came to be known as Janjira State.Murud Janjira Chronicles: Discover the Enchantment Within! It was given the status of a princely state and was allotted a separate flag, which had a crescent and star insignia on the right. Like many princely states in India, Janjira also had its own coat of arms, with a fort in the center (shield). Beside it (the supporter) are two Sidi soldiers armed with swords. At the top is the symbol of the helm, and above it is a sailing boat. In the lower part (scroll), it is written ‘Manjoor Nazr Hazrat Panjatan‘ as the goal mantra. The British gave this state the status of an 11-gun salute.


The Strategic Marvel: Janjira Fort’s Unique Architecture and Defense Tactics

The structure of Janjira Fort, which is situated in the Arabian Ocean, four kilometers from the south-west corner of Konkan, is oval in structure.Murud Janjira Chronicles: Discover the Enchantment Within! Rectangular stones cut from black rocks are used in its construction. The construction of the fort is very strategic. The main entrance is built diagonally between the two towers in such a way that it is not visible from any angle when viewed from outside. The entrance also faces east, is relatively narrow, and can be seen from barely 200 meters of brick. Due to this, it becomes difficult for the enemy forces to enter the fort, and the soldiers inside the fort remain accessible for attack. Above the entrance, a marble stone is inscribed in Persian script. There are two towers around the entrance, and above them is the ‘Nagarkhana’. The dholis (men with kettledrums) would be sitting at this place, playing kettledrums on various occasions.

Tiger and Elephants: Symbolism in Janjira Fort’s Sculpture

Murud Janjira Chronicles: Discover the Enchantment Within!

A sculpture is seen on the wall while going up the steps. The sculpture shows a tiger holding four elephants. This structure is symbolic, suggesting that even if the enemy is as powerful as four elephants, the Janjira fort (or its rulers) is able to hold the enemy in check. On the left is a place known as ‘Pir Panchayat’, which houses the tombs of five holy persons. Beyond that, there is a multi-storied building known as ‘Sarul Khan Wada’. The court was held in this palace. The original building of the palace was five storeyed, but today only three and a half floors remain.


Janjira’s Water Oases: Sheeshmahal and Sidi Kheriat Khan Wada

Murud Janjira Chronicles: Discover the Enchantment Within!

There are two freshwater reservoirs on both sides of the ‘Sarul Khan Wada’ palace. The northern reservoir is twenty meters wide. Above it was a multicolored dome, which looked like a rainbow. Hence its name, Sheeshmahal. The reservoir on the south side is situated near the stables, and a mosque is situated next to it. The fort behind the palace is the highest point on the island.




Murud Janjira Chronicles: Discover the Enchantment Within! A raised, stone platform for hoisting the flag is built here. Apart from this is the palace of Sidi Kheriat Khan, known as ‘Kheriyat Khan Wada’. Now only its dilapidated walls can be seen standing, in which grayish granite has been used. There is also a ‘watch tower’ here.



Janjira Fort: Sea-facing Gateway and Architectural MarvelsMurud Janjira Chronicles: Discover the Enchantment Within!

To the west of the fort wall is an entrance known as the ‘Daria Darwaza’, which opens directly into the sea. It would be used as an exit in times of extreme emergency. Due to being in the middle of the sea and its main purpose being security, the fort has scattered pieces of art. There are mainly three styles of arch found at the various entrances of the fort: OG, Tuder, and multi-cusped.

Fortress of Vigilance: Janjira’s Bastions and Protective Walls

Murud Janjira Chronicles: Discover the Enchantment Within!

Janjira Fort has 22 bastions in total. Two bastions are also facing inward. The wall is approximately 40 feet in height and 12 feet in width. In some places, it is 15 feet. The walls are plastered with a mixture of lime, glass, and jaggery, which protects against the ravages of time. As in every fort, there are openings in the walls that were used for firing arrows or guns. At some places, there are openings to accommodate the barrel of a cannon. The cannon became the most important weapon for the defense of this sea fort. These apertures have an ‘OG arch’ (English ‘S’ shaped arch) on the inside.

Cannons of Janjira: Guardians of Invincibility

Murud Janjira Chronicles: Discover the Enchantment Within!

The wall and tower of the fort have three floors, which were built together. As the lowest floor was cool, ammunition was stored there. The middle floor was used as a watch tower, while the uppermost floor housed the cannon. The security of this fort can be estimated from the fact that in 1669 AD, a total of 572 cannons were reported here. Even today, there are as many cannons as 75, three of which are the main attraction. It is said to be the largest of the cannons across India, named after ‘Kalal Bangdi’, ‘Chavari’ and ‘Landa Kasam’. They are made from panchadhatu (5 metals). The weight of ‘Kalal Bangdi’ is 22 tons. As itsMurud Janjira Chronicles: Discover the Enchantment Within! name suggests, it has five rings (Bangdi/Bangdi). ‘Chavari’ weighs 3.32 tonnes, while ‘Landa Kasam’ weighs 7.45 tonnes. It is said that these cannons can hit the ball up to 12 kilometers. That striking range may seem a bit excessive, but one thing is certain: the combination of the firepower of over six hundred cannons and the skillful tactics of the Sidis kept Janjira invincible for three centuries.

Today, it stands as a continent in the Arabian Sea. Janjira Fort is a silent witness to an unknown chapter of history. The chapter that was written by the Sidis of Africa—that too for about 300 years!


The Indian Connection of SiddhisMurud Janjira Chronicles: Discover the Enchantment Within!

As soon as we say the word Habsi (negro), a figure of a tall, shadowy, black man like a cloudless night stands before our eyes. However, there are different opinions about the origin of this word. The country of Ethiopia in the eastern part of the African continent was once also known as Abyssinia. Slaves were brought to India on Abyssinian ships. These slaves were known as ‘Abyss’. There is a view that ‘Abyss’ is a corruption of ‘Habsi’. Abyssinia is known as ‘Al Habs’ in Arabic. The Abyssinian captain of the ship that brought the slaves was called ‘Habsi’.

Murud Janjira Chronicles: Discover the Enchantment Within!

Therefore, there is another opinion that this address has become popular. Negroes are also called ‘Sidi’. Of course, the word ‘Sidi’ is more honorific than ‘Negro’. The word ‘Sidi’ is said to be derived from the Arabic word ‘Sahibi’ (respect). The address ‘Saeed’ or ‘Sidi’ was used for captains who brought Negroes on Arab ships. Settlement of Sidis in many parts of India even today, like Karnataka, Gujarat, and Telangana is hundreds of years old. It is theMurud Janjira Chronicles: Discover the Enchantment Within! personal opinion of the author of this blog that such sayings should not be used if the feelings of the Negro/Sidi community are hurt.

A very popular character of a sidi appeared in the 1983 Kamal Amarohi-directed movie ‘Razia Sultan‘. A negro slave named Yakut (Jamal ud-Din Yakut) and Razia’s love story was at the center of the film. The negro character was played by actor Dharmendra.

Exploring the Fort

Murud Janjira Chronicles: Discover the Enchantment Within!

Stepping into the Murud Janjira Fort feels like entering a time capsule. As you wander through its ancient stone corridors, you can’t help but be captivated by the architectural marvels and the stories they hold. The fort boasts intricate carvings, secret passages, and cannons that once defended the kingdom against enemy invasions. Climb to the top of the fort and soak in the panoramic views of the Arabian Sea, the surrounding landscapes, and the quaint town of Murud.






The Natural Beauty of Murud Janjira

Murud Janjira Chronicles: Discover the Enchantment Within!

While the fort may steal the limelight, the natural beauty of Murud Janjira is equally mesmerizing. The town is blessed with pristine beaches that stretch as far as the eye can see. Dive into the crystal-clear waters and witness the vibrant marine life, or simply unwind on the sandy shores while soaking up the warm sun. If you’re lucky, you might even spot dolphins frolicking in the waves.




Murud Janjira Chronicles: Discover the Enchantment Within!

But it’s not just the beaches that make Murud Janjira a nature lover’s paradise. The region is also home to dense forests, lush green hills, and a variety of flora and fauna. Embark on a trek through the hills and immerse yourself in the serenity of nature. Keep an eye out for exotic bird species and wildlife that call this place their home.




Activities and Attractions

Murud Janjira Chronicles: Discover the Enchantment Within!

Apart from exploring the fort and basking in the natural beauty, Murud Janjira offers a plethora of activities to keep visitors engaged and entertained. Experience the thrill of water sports such as jet skiing, banana boat rides, or parasailing. Take a boat ride to the nearby village of Kashid, known for its pristine white-sand beaches. Marvel at the architectural brilliance of the Datta Mandir, a sacred Hindu temple situated in the heart of the town. Or simply wander through the local markets, savoring the flavors of the region through its street food and handicrafts.


Good to know for perfect planning of your Trip:

Perfect Timing:

Murud Janjira Chronicles: Discover the Enchantment Within!

October to February is the ideal time to visit. The temperature in summer is tolerable as compared to other places, but it can get hot due to the lack of shadows in the fort. Avoid visiting during the monsoons, as the Konkan region receives extremely heavy rainfall. The gates up to the fort are then closed.




Murud Janjira Chronicles: Discover the Enchantment Within!

The nearest railway station from Murud Janjira is Roha. The distance from Roha to Murud Janjira by road is about 34 km. A bus is available from Roha. Similarly, Murud Janjira can be reached by bus from Mumbai Central, Pune, Thane, Borivali, or Dadar. One has to reach Rajpuri Jetty by rickshaw or taxi from the Murud bus stand. Ferry boats will be available from Rajpuri to the fort.


A one-day program of Murud Janjira is enough. However, if one wishes to stay, there are various budget hotels available in the coastal area. For more details, visit the website:

Plus Know:

Padma Durg (Fort of Kasa) is also located near Janjira. Garambi Dam and Garambi Falls can also be visited.

  • Many beaches in the Konkan region are very clean and less crowded. For example, Harihareshwar Beach is fifty kilometers to the south.
  • Konkan is famous for its special dishes. Food lovers should enjoy them.



Murud Janjira is a destination that seamlessly blends history, nature, and adventure. It’s a place where you can lose yourself in the tales of the past, immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, and indulge in a plethora of activities. Whether you’re a history lover, a nature enthusiast, or simply seeking a tranquil getaway, Murud Janjira has something to offer everyone. So pack your bags, step into a world of wonder, and embark on a journey through time and nature that will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.

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  1. Captivating read on Murud Janjira! The author’s narrative prowess beautifully unfolded the charm and history of this coastal gem. Skillfully crafted with vivid descriptions, the article made me feel like I was right there. A big shoutout to the author for a truly immersive travel experience!

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