Murud-Janjira is the local name for a fort situated on an island just off the coastal village of Murud, in the Raigad district of Maharashtra, India. It was occupied by the Siddis and is famous for being the only fort along India’s Western coast that remained undefeated despite Dutch, Maratha and English East India Company attacks. This place is easily accessible from Mumbai, and it took me around 4 hours of driving time from my home town Thane. I visited the fort in afternoon, which presented some challenges as the main entrance to the fort, as well as some of the structures ended up being back-lit. I had no choice but to shoot into the sun. The reward, on the other hand was the opportunity to take some sunset pictures, and also the village lit in the evening golden light.
The fort is approached by sailboats from Rajapuri jetty. You have to pay a nominal charge at the jetty which covers your to-and-fro journey. You can return by any boat, which gives you the freedom to spend as much time as you want inside the fort. There are no additional charges to enter the fort. The boatmen do pester you offering their services as a guide, and also spew nonsense like you have to return by the same boat. They usually budget 45 minutes, and if you do end up taking their services, you will not do justice to photographing the fort. On holidays, one has to wait a bit to disembark from the boat, and, as you can see from the photographs, the boats themselves are quite crowded. Definitely not for the faint-hearted especially in light of the recent tragedies in Thekaday and Andaman. The boat ride from the fort to the jetty at Rajapuri is pretty smooth though. We also spotted a pair of Dolphins, but your luck might vary.
The fort is well spread out and you can easily spend 90- 120 minutes to cover the same at a leisurely pace- including exploring multiple angles, waiting for a while for a group of tourists to move away from your frame etc. The fort is unkempt, with trash & empty plastic bottles strewn all over the place. There is no provision to buy water or snacks inside, so please ensure that you have adequately stocked up at Murud or Rajapuri. There is a rest room near the entrance, I think, but I do not know how usable that is.
The boat ride back to the jetty provides with interesting photo-opportunities, especially in evening when you can utilize the golden hour. You do not have to limit yourself to taking pictures of the shoreline or the fort, even the sails of the boat can become a subject.
If you plan to stay overnight, there are multiple options at Murud- ranging from basic to exorbitant. We stayed at a place on the beach that offered “huts” with basic facilities at very reasonable rates. An early morning walk on the beach provided an opportunity to take some landscapes around sunrise. In a few pictures, you can see the palace of the Nawabs of Janjira, overlooking the beach. This palace is still in good shape, but not open to the general public.
Murud is a nice place to spend a weekend away from the hustle-bustle of Mumbai or Pune. If you haven’ been there yet, I would absolutely recommend that you visit the place at-least once. Traveling by sitting in those boats is an experience in itself.