Devgad Fort Sindhudurg

Devgad (160 23′ N, 730 21′ E; p. 2,493), the head-quarters of Devgad taluka and a minor port, lies on a flat rocky peninsula about twelve miles south of Vijaydurg and 180 miles from Bombay. The nearest railway station is Kolhapur,
80 miles to the north-east. The beautiful and land-locked harbour of Devgad is at all times perfectly smooth. The cliffs, steep on the north, fall on the harbour side in steps with a slope varying from twenty-five to forty degrees. The entrance
is broad, but the passage into the harbour, only three cables wide, lies close to the fort point. Here, in eighteen feet water, ships may lie sheltered during the south-west monsoon.1 In 18751 the head-quarters of the sub-division were moved here from Kharepatan. In 1538, Devgad under the name Tamar, is mentioned as nineteen leagues from Goa and three south of Khareratan. It was a beautiful round bay and good
harbour with a clear entrance. Galleys could enter at low tide.2 When taken by the British in 1819, it was a fine harbour, but a place of little consequences
The fort on the south side, with an area of about 120 acres was built by Dattajirav Angre in the year 1729 A.D. The fort was then surrounded by water and hence was described as Janjira in Marathi records. The fort taken by a British
force under Colonel Imlack in April 1818,4 protects the harbour, but perhaps because there was no place of importance up the creek, only slightly commands the entrance. At present the ditch joining the waters of the sea and the creek is filled up by mud.
After the conquest of this fort by the British, the fort was left to winds completely uncared for. However, the walls of the inner fort are as sound as before. Besides, there are many bastions especially on the eastern portion of this fort in sound condition and there are at present three old guns thereon. Other three old guns
were removed under the orders of the British Government at the close of the Second World War’ and are now lying before the chavadi of the town.
The plateau of this fort was rightly utilised by the British Government for a light-house and an observatory. A new light-house of latest model and five small buildings for housing the staff under the Director of the Light-houses am
constructed recently by the Government at a cost of about two lakhs of rupees. Besides, there is a small building for the observatory. This fort is a living monument of postMaratha glory. There seem to have been two forts, on the north and
south ends of the hill between the harbour and the sea, joined by three or four round towers.1 The walls are in a ruined state.
Devgad is the only sheltered port on the western coast; right from Karvar to Jaygad This important factor was fully recognised by the British Government which built a small jetty as a fuel base for submarines during the Second World
War at a cost of about two lakhs of rupees. Recently Government has erected a spacious jetty for steamer passengers at a total cost of Rs. 5,05,000. The work was completed in 1958.
The possibility of this fine sheltered harbour being selected for a naval base or a naval school, is not far off. Devgad Alphonso Mangoes of the world fame are exported every year from this harbour. Devgad hemp of high repute is also exported to foreign markets like Manchester etc. The export of hemp is not encouraged recently and hence its production has suffered a great set-back. Good quality fish is also exported. Devgad is joined by a highway via Phonda Ghat to Kolhapur. Mango parcels from Devgad are carried to Bombay by motor trucks and by steamers. Devgad has been the taluka headquarters since 1875 A.D. and the British Government built two spacious buildings, one accommodating the office of the Mamlatdar with the treasury and prison and the other housing the Civil Court. There is one fully equipped Travellers’ Bungalow, (B. & C.D.) built on a fine plateau of the hill
about the year 1875. Besides there axe two dharmashalas at Devgad. The town is situated around a fine semi-circular bay of the Devgad creek and further development of this town covers a fine, spacious plateau of a small hill.
Devgad has got a comparatively fine, cool, temperate and bracing climate all throughout the year and inspite of the rather heavy coastal rainfall it remains comparatively dry owing to its special natural situation whereby all the rain water:
is drained off to the creek very quickly. Hence Devgad is free from constant epidemics.

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