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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Daman: Street walk




It all started at Kanheri Caves when I popped up the suggestion that I would be going for Daman exploration, Dr Ajay who like me is an avid traveler lapped up my offer and our program to visit was set.


I asked few of my friends to join but I got the standard reply " Arre pagal itna garmi me mar jayega Sunday hai ghar per rest kar" . Well the truth is my friends must be feeling restful chilling in front of TV on a lazy sunday but for me this scene would only make me restless. 

Our Journey:
Earlier we had planned to go by car to Daman but cost per head was coming close to Rs 1000 per head and that too only for travelling ! Perhaps that is the reason I blurted " Arre yaar itne me toh mai char bar Daman jakar aa jaonga" So sanity prevailed and we decided to go by train to Daman.

Let me inform you that there is no train which go to Daman, the nearest Railway station is Vapi and from there Daman is 12 kms away and can be reached by road.

There are many express trains going to Delhi or Ahmedabad which halts at Vapi station which one can catch and reach Vapi. However I prefer to go by Passenger train because though they are slow atleast I am assured of a seat. 

We decided to catch 7:40 am Virar-Surat Shuttle from Virar station. The train took around 3 hours to reach Vapi and from there we rushed to the Taxi Stand. 


Vapi Here we are
Taxi stand is just outside the Station on west side.
There are regular sharing taxis which go to Daman from Vapi. We paid Rs 30 per person and mind you 6 people sit in these Taxis.

A drive of 15 minutes and we were at Nani Daman Taxi Stand.


At Taxi stand :All set to go
After getting down from the Taxi we were all set for our street walk. Just opposite the Taxi stand is shopping center which local people call Dubai Market ! I personally felt it should be called Duplicate Market !(after all it contained only cheap imitation of foreign goods). However what got me interested was the construction date of the market.
1879 !


Duplicate Market ..oops Dubai Market
Constructed Year : 1879

Our first destination of interest was to explore Nani Daman Fort. Hence we started walking along this market and little ahead on the opposite side of the road was another blast from the past. Yes an old police station building with typical Arc structures. 


Nani Daman Police station


Walking through the streets of Nani Daman the old colourful buildings cannot be missed. Someday I will come again and do heritage walk here.

Colourful Houses


Colourful Old Gold

Daman is a typical coastal town where one can see major Portuguese influences in construction of houses, churches and forts.





After absorbing this Portuguese culture I was all the more excited to explore Daman Town.


1933 construction

I wanted to know more about its history and was all set for next stop.... Nani Daman Fort. 


Wait for my next blog on Nani Daman Fort soon
till then happy reading.







Sunday, April 2, 2017

Shirgaon Fort, Palghar




Another weekend was round the corner and nothing was planned for the weekend wanderer within me so I thought let me try out something nearby, hence Sunday Morning I took 7;40 am shuttle train from Virar Station  to Palghar because this weekend my destination will be Shirgaon Fort in Palghar,

Shirgaon Fort, I was given to understand is some 13 kms away from the Palghar Station. I took ST bus from Palghar Station to go to Shirgoan fort. The bus frequency I was told is quite good.One needs to catch buses going to Satpati to reach this fort.


ST bus to Satpati all set to go

A bus journey of half an hour and I was dropped at a coastal village,The Bus Conducter said "Aap Masjid ke stop per utar jana " actually this stop is before Satpati. I got down before Sarpati as I saw this huge Masjid along the road.

Masjid is the landmark to get down from ST bus

 After getting down the bus I took direction from the locals and  started walking for few minutes through the coastal village towards the Shirgaon Fort.


Sleepy coastal village


In few minutes I reached the main entrance of the Shirgaon Fort.

Shirgoan Fort Main Entrance


Before setting my foot on the fort let me brush up some history about the fort.

HISTORY:
Historical name of Shirgaon during Portuguese ruling was Sirg√£o. Locals told me that this fort was built by the Portuguese though I could not find much history about this fort except that this fort was later won by the Marathas in 1738 along with the Dahanu Fort, Tarapur, Kelve and Asherigad Fort under the able leadership of Chimaji Appa. However in 1818 the Britisher captured this Fort.





Fort in Ruins

This been a land fort hence no trekking is required, one can simply walk in from the road to reach the entrance of the fort. Standing in front of the fort we see Minar or tower on the right side and a gate next to that. Minar construction some how gives the impression of Mughal architecture Just at the entrance on the right side are inscriptions dating the origin of this fort to 1714 A.D.


 Frontal view of Fort from outside

As soon as we enter the fort from the door we immediately come across a big entrance door on the left side which leads into central courtyard of the fort.


Interesting architecture 


 The structure near the entrance lies in a ruined state today, tall walls and small windows atop them spells the historic tale unknown to us in today's time. I am sharing few pictures of lost glory .


Tall walls with windows

Tales of lost glory


Door leading to central courtyard

 The moment I entered through the door to central courtyard I saw a large ground with some ruined structure on the right side which looked like rooms probably for soldiers or for holding their rations.




Stairs leading to the rampart of the fort


Inside View of Large halls

I explored the inside, actually not much to see. I came out and as there was stairs which were leading to the top walls of the fort.This fort so reminded me of Arnala Fort ( You can click the link to read about Arnala fort here) near Virar.



These stone stairs going up ends on the ramparts of the fort which one can easily circumvent.I started to walk on the top. There are 5 Bastions on this fort.


View from the ramparts of the quarters,Rooms of soldiers


Walking on the ramparts of the fort just across from where I was standing I could see a white structure perched on the bastion so naturally started to move toward it to explore.



But before reaching this bastion I came across one more bastion. which has the usual windows and circular construction.





Moving forward from here I made my way to the white structure perched on the northern bastion.
The spiral stairs take you to the top.Its quite sad to see lots of graffiti on the walls, How I wish people start respecting their heritage.





Upon reaching the top of this bastion I could see the whole fort and the most prominent thing was the multi branch Palm tree...wow must be one of its kind.




Unique multi branch Palm tree
Bird's eye view from the Bastion.

After spending some time here I went on to explore the other bastion which we saw at the entrance door.

Bastion on the other end, waiting to be explored





Bastion from ground level


Exploration of these ancient forts is always an adventure because we often come across secret tunnels, caves etc. Shirgoan fort too has its quota of such historical mysteries.


Doors to unknown


The sun was hitting me hard and I think I have seen all that I can see so felt it was time to move on now back home. Shirgoan Fort is a small fort which you can explore in two hours. Do visit it if you are at Palghar.



Watch the video here for the Shirgoan Trek



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