Arnala fort was built on Arnala Island, approximately 8 miles North of Vasai. It is surrounded on all sides by water and so is also known as "Jaldurg" or "Janjire Arnala".
The main structure is on the north side of this longish
island. The fort has broad and strong high walls with three gates - the
main entrance being in the north. It has a lone tower (bastion) in the
south end. The entry to this is through a small square opening - it is
dark inside and the undergrowth makes it difficult to explore further.
However there are trees on the outside walls, which have been used by the
enthusiasts to climb on the top to get a peek inside.
There are steps leading to the ramparts (walls), and one can take a walk around the entire boundary wall. The ramparts also have number of small openings in its broad walls to allow entry in the small rooms and store houses below. Some of these storehouses are used by the villages to store their paddy crop. Along with some remains of the weapons used from this fort, one comes across a canon ball, still stuck on the inner side of the west side of the wall near the temple.
The fort was under the Portuguese rule after the Portuguese signed a treaty with Bahadurshah of Gujarat . It was later captured by the Marathas during their invasion of Vasai. There is some record of renovation of this fort by Peshwa Bajirao I after its capture by the Marathas. Many of the villagers believe that Shivaji built this fort under the leadership of Kanoji Agare. The fort came under the British control in 1803 after Bajirao II Peshwa had signed the infamous Treaty of Vasai.
Today Arnala Island has a population of over 3000 people
who live in the villages outside the fort. The fort also has a "Shankar
Temple" and a Mosque where religious festivals are celebrated every
year. Arnala Island has few wells with potable water, one of the well is
right inside the fort. The villagers grow vegetables on plots inside the
fort, as well as on the western side out side the fort.
To the right of the Arnala Fort are government-planted "Suru" trees and to the west are coconut tree plantations, hence making it very picturesque from outside. This place has always been a favourite of tourists.
The Arnala fort is visible from the Arnala village but is in ruins and disrepair.
Boat: Vasai is a
beautiful spot located about 50-km away from
Mumbai city and 20-km
away from Borivali. To reach Arnala, there is a regular ferry service for
the villagers and visitors to the fort, but since there is no jetty or
quay, one has to wade through knee deep water to reach the boats from the
shore and vice versa. A 10 minutes journey by a rowboat is an exciting
Accommodation is available at the hotels in Vasai as well as in Mumbai