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A Brief History Of Mumbai’s Worli Fort

Qihul/Flickr
Qihul/Flickr
Set at the very tip of Worli, past a dense and historic fishing village, is the iconic Worli Fort – a lesser known historic landmark in Mumbai. The centuries-old fort is very rarely frequented by tourists owing to its inconvenient location, and has accordingly been mostly neglected by the government as well. Yet the fort – which still stands tall and majestic – and its surrounding neighborhood are gratifying sites to visit.

The Worli Fort is considered to have been built by the British around the 17th century as a lookout for enemy ships and pirates. Alternate accounts suggest that it was built by the Portuguese during the 16th century. Regardless, overlooking the Mahim Bay at a time when Mumbai was just a group of islands, the fort was of great strategic importance to the British Navy guarding the western coast of the country.

The fort has a built in well, a temple and plenty of space to soak in views of Mahim, Bandra. And the iconic Bandra-Worli Sea link outside the fort are platforms for cannons, a reminder of its military significance in the past. This fort is among the three that overlook the Mahim Bay on Mumbai’s western coast, with Mahim Fort and Bandra Fort to its north. All three forts were adapted by the British to boost defense along the coast, even though only Worli Fort is considered to have been built by them.

© Siddworli, WikiCommons © Qihul, Flickr | © Rudolph.A.furtado, WikiCommons

As historic as the fort is, it has been largely omitted from tourist itineraries primarily due to the dynamic and very crowded Worli Fishing Village, which cuts it off from mainstream Worli. The centuries-old village is home to one of the oldest communities of fisherfolk still existing in Mumbai. It was after the construction of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link – which offers a spectacular view of Worli Village – that the fort and the deplorable state it was in started getting due attention.

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