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PICS: Rs 1 Cr sanctioned to beautify Portuguese-era 15th century Ghodbunder Fort near Thane

Thane: The revival of the dilapidated Ghodbunder Fort, which dates back to the 15th century, is now one step closer to reality as the Thane district administration has sanctioned the first installment of Rs 1 crore for its restoration and beautification. Over the past few years, the fort, which is one of the few historic and heritage structures in the district, had been left ignored and was in ruins.

While the greenery around it has been replaced by plastic and other waste, the open spaces have been occupied by hutments.


In an attempt to revive the historic memories attached to the fort and transform it into a tourist spot, a team of historians in the city and Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik, who sought permission for the restoration of the fort from the Archaeological Survey of India four years ago, pleaded with the government to sanction the required funds for the same.

“There are many heritage sites in Thane, which reflect the various eras the district has seen right from the Portuguese rule, through the Maratha rule, followed by the British right up to the present. We have been trying to safeguard these relics for years so that we can share our historic past with the next generation. In addition to restoring the fort, we are also planning to set up a museum (Shivshrushti) in the open space near it to educate tourists of its history,” said MLA Sarnaik.

While the Archaeological Survey of India sent in their approval for the restoration work of the fort a few years ago, the land where the fort lies was handed over to the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation Ltd from the revenue department earlier this year.

Thane collector Mahendra Kalyankar sanctioned the fund of Rs 1 crore for the project earlier this week. The entire project is estimated to cost a total of Rs 1.80 crore. The process of inviting tenders is yet to start.

“The restoration of the fort will be done according to the guidelines of the Archaeological Survey of India that have been kept in place to maintain the historical essence of the structure. While the collector has sanctioned the first installment for the project, the remaining will be given by the Mira-Bhayandar Municipal Corporation, under whose jurisdiction the fort area falls,” said an official from the district administration. He added that the remaining funds for the setting up of the museum and other tourism infrastructure will be given by the collector at a later date and the tenders for the beautification project will be invited soon.

“We have been requesting for the beautification and restoration project for years and are glad that it is finally materialising. The Ghodbunder Fort site will soon be a must visit monument and a popular tourist attraction,” said Sarnaik.

The restoration of the fort will be done according to the guidelines of the Archaeological Survey of India that have been kept in place to maintain the historical essence of the structure. While the collector has sanctioned the first instalment for the project, the remaining will be given by the Mira-Bhayandar Municipal Corporation, under whose jurisdiction the fort area falls. the remaining funds for the setting up of the museum and other tourism infrastructure will be given by the collector at a later date and the tenders for the project will be invited soon.

SOURCE & CREDITS: TIMES OF INDIA

More about the Ghodbunder Fort:

Ghodbunder Fort is a fort located in Ghodbunder Village, Thane, Maharashtra, India, on the hill just south of the Ulhas River. It was built by the Portuguese, occupied by the Maratha Empire, and became the East India Company’s district headquarters. The place was called Ghodbunder because it was where the Portuguese used to trade for ghode (horses) with the Arabs. Hence the name Ghodbunder: ghode (horses) & bunder (port).

In 1530 the Portuguese came to Thane, and they began fortifying the hill area about 1550, but completion of the fort in its current form was in 1730. The Portuguese name for the fort was Cacabe de Tanna. It was under Portuguese rule until 1737. The Portuguese built a church in the fort that still stands, and is now used as a hotel. Two angels engraved on the inside wall of the church still remains. The old church can be seen clearly in the background of the courtyard photo.

There are many old maps and texts which mention continual attempts by the Marathas to capture this fort. The Portuguese were able to defend Ghodbunder Fort from these attacks successfully for many years, including the attack in 1672 by the forces of Shivaji. However, the Marathas under Chimnaji Appa successfully besieged the fort and took it over from the Portuguese in 1737. Following its capture, Sambhaji ordered the strengthening of the fortifications, initiating the construction of the tower.

In 1818, the British occupied the fort and made it the headquarters of the district administration for the East Indian Company, with a district collector stationed in Thane.

Currently the fort lies in ruins, but there has been some renovation work started by the Government to preserve it. The fort itself is under the control of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

About Flynn Remedios

Flynn Remedios is the Editor and Publisher of IndiaScribes.com, IndiaNewsInfo.com, IndiaNewsNetwork.in and several other news and entertainment websites. A senior journalist, he has covered Business, Politics, Crime, Entertainment and Technology extensively, over a span of 26 years. He earlier worked with the Times of India, the Economic Times, The Asian Age, The Indian Express, The Afternoon Dispatch & Courier, The Sunday Observer, Island Magazine (Magna Group), Current Magazine and several other publications in Mumbai and Delhi. You can contact us on indianewsnet.in AT gmail.com for editorial purpose. For any complaints or grievances please write to us at editor.indianewsnet AT gmail.com. Press Releases may be sent to mypressreleases AT gmail.com. In case of urgency, Flynn Remedios may be contacted on SMS only (between 2 pm and 7 pm) on +917045101433 via text messaging ONLY.
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