Wednesday, 8 July 2015

A Lost & Depleted City Fort - Riwa Fort 2015

It’s fun sometimes, to pack your bags and head out exploring. To climb new mountains and visit unexplored places. I often look for places and research about lost forts and historical monuments. I look up places around me, that id never have had visited If I didn't know or have this interest in travelling. I recently came across this fort called as Riwa Fort, Google maps seemed to know where it was located. And Wikipedia had a paragraph or so about it. So I was like, what the hell. Let’s go check this out. So before I head out for my day filled with work, meetings and other not so fun things I decided to visit this fort.

I took a cab, but its easily accessible by train too as it is located very close to Sion Station. Took me 15-20 mins from Bandra, but could take lesser by train. So firstly, this is not an easy fort to find. Even though Google Maps has it marked down, it did take me quite some time to locate this fort. I went through circles, a slum, around the talav and finally near an Ayurvedic center is where I located a gate that had stairs going upwards. After being lost for a while, I finally began to ask people where is the god damn fort? I showed them the map too. A few suggested that it must be on the hill. And since nothing else seemed more likely. I started climbing up the stairs. I met this cleaner or chacha (Uncle) of some sort who had flashy red eyes and a stinge of the alcohol he was drinking and pointed towards no particular direction and said haan beta Killa Killa. (Hahahahah!). So the base layer has some plantation circles happening by the center. And the higher you climb (which is not very high.) you begin to see remains of the fort. It’s hardly even a fort. If you like big walls and a lot to see this is probably not for you as there wasn’t much to see at all. There's just a few stairs if at all they count as remains and a Bastian built with black rock which stands tall on the hill. Fort Riwa was built by Britishers after the attack of Siddi of Janjira on Mumbai in 1672 AD. After Siddi’s attack, Britishers constructed chains of new forts around Mumbai. This fort is one of them. It is located quite close to the Dharavi slums and Sion.

Mahim creek divided the main islands of Mumbai from Saashti Islands. Saashti Island was under the regime of Portugese. In those days trade was carried through the Mahim creek and Saashti islands. The main aim to build this fort was to keep an eye on the trade activities in the Mahim creek and also to protect themselves from the potential threat from Portuguese and Marathas from the north. The fort was built by Jerald Augier in 1672 A.D.

So this fort historically seemed to be used only to keep watch, and it being on a hill seems to make that seem feasible. There is a decent view that can be enjoyed from the hill too.

It was a fun getaway, to see whatever it is that remained of the place. I still felt that there was more to the fort. And that you know I was probably at the wrong place or not there yet. I tried going through different paths and realised that this is it. Sometimes even a little bit is a lot, in terms of memories of what is left of places or things. So I sat down then at the basitan and looked into the forest. It felt warm and good. The birds there made a lot of noise, and the peace and quiet really makes you feel like you are home. You can see a lot of the city from the hill, the roads, vehicles and people. Soon I began to head back towards work, leaving the hill, stairs and greenery behind. I could claim that this is a scam for a fort. And probably google and everyone else shouldn’t really call it a fort. But you know what? I don’t really feel that bad. It is what it is. Expectations and how majestic or well kept other forts are shouldn’t come in the way of a new experience. I loved that is so long lost, yet so close to home and how people don’t seem to care for it and yet it stands tall to be loved, seen and explored by people. Would surely love to visit again soon, maybe this time with a group or more people.

Pictures of the Fort  (Riwa Fort 2015):

This is Happy (Or you can call me Al) signing off, until next time.

Have a great day, and an adventurous weekend! :)                      

The Happy Getaway:
Twitter: @thehappygetaway

Thank You

Alvin Anthony

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