Sunday, May 8, 2011

Belapur Fort & Gadeshwar Lake

Belapur Fort 

A change in plan gave me an opportunity to visit the nearby Belapur fort. Thanks to the book by Harish Kapadia where I first came across the existence of this place. Surprisingly, its not at all difficult to locate - stands right on the Palm Beach road. Google Maps was sufficient to guide me to the place.

The forts stands in a severely dilapidated condition. Infact it it surrounded by several plush looking residential complexes. Theres no proper route to reach the top. Just wade your way through and you come across a massive Bastion( walking 15 or 20 mins from Palm Beach Road). This is the only structure which is identifiable as a fort. There are traces of other constructions on the fort. A wall marks the other end of the hillock on which this fort rests. Going ahead of this wall makes you enter a nearby society. There are 2 small water sources near the fort (but not atop).

Thankfully, this fort has very less number of names written over it. Also there are no traces of humans making this place into a public toilet.

History: (As per Wikipedia ), The fort was built in 1560–1570 by the Siddis, after they wrested control of the area from the Portuguese, In 1682, the fort was recaptured by the Portuguese, who had managed to annex the regions controlled by the Siddis, near Belapur (at that time known as Shabaz). In 1733, the Marathas, led by Chimnaji Appa, wrested control of the fort from the Portuguese. He had made a vow that if it were to be successfully recaptured from the Portuguese, he would place a garland of beli leaves in a nearby Amruthaishwar temple, and after the victory the fort was christened as Belapur Fort. The Marathas ruled the area until 23 June 1817, when it was captured by Captain Charles Gray of the British East India Company. The British partially destroyed the fort under their policy of razing any Maratha stronghold in the area. During its active days, the fort stationed four companies each of 180 men, and 14 guns ranging from 4–12 pounds (2–5 kg) in weight. An underground tunnel is also supposed to exist, which many locals believe connects it to Gharapuri Island, the site of the Elephanta Caves.

Gadeshwar Lake:

Going ahead from Belapur and having a little snacks, we reached Gadeshwar Lake, a very beautiful waterbody in the interiors of Panvel. It is a dam which lies in the centre of many well known peaks around the Badlapur- Karjat Area. The backdrop of Chanderi is the most inviting for any photography enthusiast. The lake was almost dried up with very little water, but with a lot of grassy flat lands. Grazing cattle looking curiously towards both of us was a little scary, but they were harmless.

It seems this place is crowded in the monsoons due to picnickers, obviously inviting tensions within the local police.

Panvel - Nere - Gadeshwar is almost a half an hour drive( approximately 15 - 20 kms).

A link to the complete Album is available below:

Belapur Fort, Gadeshwar
Belapur Fort & Gadeshwar Lake

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