Mirjan Fort is located few meters away from the banks of River Aganashini and is at a distance of about 22 km from Gokarna. Mirjan fort is known for its architectural elegance. The fort is spread across 10 acres of land between the River and the national highway. The fort has thick high double walls, and is brilliantly built using red bricks that can resist high humid temperatures (which is very common in this region).
The fort has a total of four entrances: one of which is considered the main entrance, and the others were rarely or selectively used. As you enter the main entrance, you can see that there are wide steps with few turns to eventually enter inside the fort. The fort also has several watch towers that are strategically placed and is at a height. The view from the watch tower gives a birds’ eye view of the surrounding areas, and in the historic times, it could have given the view to quite some distance.
The fort also has several wells that were used to store water. As there is river nearby, there was always water in these wells. There are huge steps that were laid to get to the base of the well. This was particularly useful during summers, when the water levels used to be very low, and people had to get down to the water level to fetch it. The entrance to the wells are now closed for visitors. The rusted iron gates are now locked, and the water is also not stored here anymore.
Steps that lead to another well
The fort in its current form is mostly ruined. There have been efforts to restore them but only to a certain extent. As you enter deep inside the fort, you can realize the various sections of the fort. There are few ruined buildings which give an impression that few rooms/palaces existed at some point. If you walk further inside, you can see a large open space. I could imagine this to be a market place during those time when the fort was inhabited. It is believed that during the 16th Century, this fort was used by “Pepper Queen” Chennabyradevi to run her pepper business, where she used to export the pepper that is grown locally. Mirjan also had a sea port from where the pepper was being traded.
As the fort is not very well known, you can rarely find any visitors. Unfortunately, this also means that there are no guides available to whom we can ask about some history or stories involving this fort. The actual history of the fort is still unknown, although there are few different legends, some of which dates back to 12th century. To my much surprise, when I entered the fort, the rusted iron gate at the main entrance was latched (but not locked). I had to open it to enter the fort. I had spent around an hour to visit all corners of the fort, and during that whole time, I could not spot anyone else visiting it! At the end, as I left the fort, I had to latch the gate to its original position and leave! Wow, even if it is just for an hour, I can now say that I had a whole fort for myself! 🙂
Though the fort is completely in ruined form, it is still worth a visit. The view from the watch towers and the top of the peripheral wall provides a nice view of the fort inside it. The surrounding areas of the fort are now owned by local agriculturists. You can see the different types of vegetation that are grown in this area from the top of the wall.
Where to stay?
- Gokarna (22 km)
- Murudeshwar (60 km)
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