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Ghodbunder Fort is a historical site in Thane, Maharashtra. The place is located at a distance of about 24. 4 km from the Thane railway station.
Located in Thane’s Ghodbunder village, the fort is a living testimony to the colonial past of the area. The fort was constructed by the Portuguese around 1550, and was used for trading, administrative and residential purposes for the next 187 years. The fort faced many attacks by the Marathas, including the army of Shivaji. It was finally occupied by the Marathas in 1737, after a successful campaign led by Chimnaji Appa. The fort was later taken over the British East India Company in 1818, and turned into the headquarters for the district. The fort fell under the control of the Government of India post Independence, and is currently protected by the Archaeological Survey of India. Many believe that a part of the mountain where the place is located is shaped as a horse, thus earning it the name of Ghodbunder, since ‘ghoda’ means a horse and ‘bunder’ a port. Alternatively, the name could have also been a result of the Portuguese trade of horses done with the Arabs here. In Portuguese, the fort was called Cacabe de Tanna.
The fort currently rests in ruins, but its architecture can still be made out pretty well. Built completely with locally sourced stone blocks, the fort stands on a hilltop, by the side of the River Ulhas. The fort has a big entrance, followed by a mansion. There is a large hall and a giant rampart with many bastions along the walls. These are mounted with cannonades. One of the bastions also has a peculiar sliding door with no hinges or locks. There are several other structures inside the fort, like an open courtyard with pillars and verandas, old living quarters, storage rooms, granaries and weapon houses.
The Ghodbunder Fort compound also has two churches inside, one of which still stands in great condition and is used as a hotel. Portions of the engravings and other design elements from the original structure can still be observed in the interiors. The fort also contains remnants of a large garden it once housed, with ancient roots and other parts still available in places. The surrounding area and the Ulhas creek can be seen from the watchtowers. One can even spot the suburbs of Mumbai from the top of the fort. The grandeur of the fort and the gorgeous views beyond its walls make it an ideal spot for amateur photographers. The trek uphill to the fort also often attracts a lot of adventurers and hiking enthusiasts.
The Ghodbunder Fort is a beautiful heritage site which speaks of the district’s colonial past. The cooler months after summer, between August and April, should be a good time to visit the place. Visitors can expect to spend around 1-2 hours at the least, exploring the fort and its nooks and crannies.
Ghodbunder Fort is a brilliant option for people interested in history, hiking and photography or for those simply looking for a quick getaway. The best time to visit it is early during the day or evening. The place is open to the public on all days, at all hours – there are no rigid timings. Entry to the fort is free.