Korlai Fort Overview

Rich in history and heritage, Korlai Fort is one of the most majestic destinations in Goa. The fort overlooks the vast blue expanse of the Arabian Sea, and offers a stunning view of the gorgeous scenery all around. A haven for nature lovers and history buffs, this fort is an unmissable tourist spot in the state of Goa. The Korlai fort once used to be an elaborate military fortification, and it was occupied by the Portuguese during the 16th century.

It was originally built as an extension of the island in 1521, and it was used as a shield against the Revdanda creek inlet. In those times, this small piece of land was known as Morro De Chaul. The name comes from Morro, which refers to a small hill, and Chaul which was then used to refer to a village nearby whose residents spoke Portuguese-Creolo (also known as the Kristi dialect).

The fort is now in ruins mostly, but once it was considered a majestic property. Nonetheless, the history and heritage of the Korlai Fort still stands untarnished. In its golden era, the fort was rumoured to have the capacity to house nearly 7000 horses and just as many men. The fort enjoyed a strategic location during invasion primarily due to its geography.

There are many reasons why the enemy forces found it difficult to penetrate this fort - for one, it is located on the slopes of a hill which would require the enemy soldiers to climb a steep slope. Second, the fort houses a tall lighthouse which allowed the residents to see any enemies approaching. Lastly, it has 11, huge gates which were all heavily guarded. 
Spread over a length of 2828 feet and the breadth of 89 feet, the fort almost looks like a community of its own now, and offers some of the most magnificent glimpses of the creek. Whether you are a history nerd or simply appreciate nature in all its wild forms, Korlai Fort is definitely worth checking out.

How To Reach

Korlai Fort  is connected by road with all the major cities nearby. It is located 111 km from Mumbai, and 160 km from Pune. Local buses can be taken from either of these places to Alibaug, and then you can take an auto or taxi to the fort. 

If you are visiting Korlai Fort from Alibaug, you have to take the first right after you have just crossed the Kundalika River. Once you reach the little hamlet, you can ask any native to guide you to the fort and they will happily point out the directions. The road that connects the fort to the rest of the village is narrow and bumpy, so be careful if you are driving on your own.

You can also take a train from Mumbai or Pune to Pen, which is the nearest railway station. It is about 50 km from Korlai, and you can easily take a local bus from Pen to Korlai. Also, the nearest airport is in Mumbai, so you will have to take a bus or train to reach the village.

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit the fort is during the winter, that is, between the months of October and March. This is because the weather is quite cool and pleasant during this time, and is also ideal for sightseeing. You can also visit the fort during monsoon months, that is, between July and September. Due to the rains, the weather is quite breezy, and the lush greenery around the fort is in full bloom.

It is extremely serene and tranquil on the hill of the fort, with just the sound of birds and the crashing of the waves breaking the pristine silence. 
However, it is not recommended to visit the fort during summer. This is because it gets quite hot during the months of April to June, and the temperatures often touch the 40-degree mark. It is way too hot outside to go sightseeing in these parts of the country, and you may even get a sunburn. So, it is not advised to visit the fort during summers.

Other Essential Information

- Location:
Korlai, Maharashtra 402202, India

- Timing: 9 am to 5 pm

- Entry fee: there is no entrance fee to visit the fort. However, if you want to get a guide to the lighthouse, you may have to pay a minimal fee. Similarly, the charge for entering the lighthouse is also nominal, that is, INR 10.

History of Korlai Fort 

Earlier, the fort was known as Ceul Rock, and in its heyday, the fort witnessed many combats between the Muslims and the Portuguese. The construction of this place was aided and commissioned by the Ahmednagar Sultanate, and it was completed in 1521. Initially, the fort was used mutually by both regimes, but in 1549, there were certain tensions between the two factions, and eventually, the Abranches took over the fort with nearly 1500 soldiers and 1500 local residents. The legend says that the soldiers camped near the fort to prevent surrender, and they placed a dead horse and elephant at the inner gate to prevent entry by the enemy.

Unfortunately, even though the fort was taken over by the Portuguese, they did not have high enough numbers to protect the fort. As a result, they destroyed most of the building, and only the central watchtower was left. The Marathas tried to capture the fort again in the late 17
th century, when Shivaji Maharaja’s son, Shambhaji Maharaja attacked the fort on December 6th, 1687. However, he failed at the attempt and backed out.

The fort was finally captured by the Marathas in 1739 and was under their rule till 1818. 
After 1818, the fort remained under the reign of the East India Company. Once the company was dissolved and the british took control of India, it was taken over by the British Raj. The British repaired some of the areas of the fort, like the church, and used it during the weekends and other holidays.

Architecture of Korlai Fort 

The primary architectural elements of the fort are inspired by European style of architecture. the fort itself was designed by Dom Filipe Mascarenhas, who was a Portuguese architect. 
The primary construction material of the fort is granite and sea sand, and mortar has been used as a bonding material. The fort has a defensive structure, and that is why there is a deep moat around it. The only way to enter the fort is through drawbridges, which ensured maximum safety of the fort.

The fort has 2 main ramparts. The outer one has four passages, and the inner one has seven gates. Although the fort has a very strong bastion, the ramparts themselves are very irregular in shape. The area inside the fort has been divided into a total of three sections by the two lines of these bastioned fortifications. Additionally, there is a wide space for keeping artilleries as well. 

The fort is spread over quite a wide area, and stands at a towering height of 2828 feet. The main entrance of the fort features a majestic statue of a bronze lion, and there is a bronze eagle that overlooks the entire grounds from the highest watchtower of the fort. 
The doorway to the fort also has an inscription which is located under a coat of arms. The coat of arms has 2 Portuguese stars that are located in the middle of a total of seven castles. However, the inscription itself is not understandable, as it is very worn out. There are two more inscriptions over the altars in the church, but it is also not decipherable.

Tips for visiting Korlai Fort 

Here are some helpful tips to make your journey to the fort easier and more comfortable:

1. Make sure you plan your journey well in advance, especially if you want to travel here during monsoons. If the rains are torrential, it might get too risky to travel.

2. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes and clothes, as the fort is located on top of the hill, and you may have to do a bit of trekking to reach here.

3. You should carry a water bottle and some snacks when going to the fort, just in case you get hungry or thirsty. Although there is a small shop selling snacks near the lighthouse, it is best to carry something for the journey.

4. It is best to enter the fort from the entry gate located near the lighthouse, as this gate is nearest to the bus route.

5. You can get a local guide within the fort complex. He will guide you towards the lighthouse, and will also tell you the history of the fort.

6. If you are visiting the fort during summers, be careful of snakes.
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Korlai Fort FAQs

Who built Korlai fort?

The Sultan of Ahmednagar granted the permission for building the fort in the late 16th century to the Portuguese. The cost of this permission was 150 Arabian horses, which were gifted to the Sultan in exchange for it.

What things should be carried while visiting Korlai Fort?

Here are some things you must carry when visiting the fort:

- It is important to carry some water and snacks with you when you visit the fort. You should also have some basic medications in case you get sick.
- In addition, you should carry some sunscreen, hat and sunglasses if you are going to visit the fort during summers.
-  On the other hand, carry an umbrella if you go during monsoons, and a jacket or sweater if you are going in winter. To capture the brilliant landscapes of the sea from the fort, don’t forget to take a camera along with you.

Is photography allowed in Korlai Fort?

Yes, photography is allowed at the fort. The scenic location is so breathtaking that you won’t be able to stop yourself from capturing some snapshots. This is why this place is also famous among photography enthusiasts.

Is there any lighthouse at Korlai Fort?

Yes, one of the most important pieces of architecture at the fort is the lighthouse. It reflects the rich heritage, history and overall importance of the fort. There is a delicate road that goes up to the lighthouse, and the lighthouse itself is surrounded by a lovely garden.

You can also go to the top of the lighthouse to catch a glimpse of the mesmerizing views of the sea.

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