Mirjan Fort near Gokarna: The Great Arabian Sea Drive Day 20

Mirjan Fort, Karnataka
Mirjan Fort, Karnataka

Left Gokarna finally – could have stayed on much longer. Especially when you are at Swaswara, a CGH Hotels property.

First stop was Mirjan Fort – and a 15 minute halt turned out to be a comedy of Indian bureaucracy. First I couldn’t find the entrance gate – I went all around till I spotted it, all secured.

Eventually found the caretaker who gladly opened it – but on seeing my cameras, he said I could not use them. Why? Because he did not have tickets for use of camera. Some monuments charge for cameras.

I offered the money for the camera ticket, and told him he could issue me one on a later date. I did not need a receipt. No, he said, he will lose his job.

I have come all the way from Delhi to shoot this fort, how could he do this to me, I persisted.

Sympathetically, he called up his senior officer and explained the situation to him. I could just imagine an exasperated official at the other end giving his consent to the bumpkin of a character.

Smilingly, he said he has secured permission and I could shoot. But not too many. I felt like throwing the guy over the ramparts. But better sense prevailed.

And then the caretaker was all talk. He wanted to know who I was, where I lived in Delhi etc. He was in the Armed Forces himself, posted in Delhi for many years. Peeling potatoes I assumed. Now please leave me alone.

Sketchy historical records credit the construction of the fort to Queen Chennabhairadevi of Gersoppa under the Vijayanagar empire from 1608-1640 A.D. The fort may have been witness to many a battle, changing hands amongst various rulers including the Marathas and the British.

Excavations in 2001-01 revealed a number of laterite structures belonging to the medieval period spread over 10 acres (4 hectares).

Antiquities discovered during the excavations include a unique gold coin issued in A.D. 1652 by the Portuguese Viceroy Conde De Sarzedas besides cannon balls, Chinese Porcelain, clay tablets with Islamic inscriptions.

Mirjan also served as an important trading port, principal trading items being pepper, wild nutmeg and saltpetre (also spelled saltpeter).

It is beautifully set along the Aganashini river, a tributary of the Sharavathi river. Do make a stop if you happen to be passing by.

The fort is located south of Gokarna town, 21 kms (13 miles) away, half a mile off the National Highway 17. It is well signposted.

Mirjan Fort, Karnataka: A view of the fields and river around
Mirjan Fort, Karnataka: A view of the fields and river around
Mirjan Fort, Karnataka
Mirjan Fort, Karnataka
Mirjan Fort, Karnataka: Steps leading to one of the many wells
Mirjan Fort, Karnataka: Steps leading to one of the many wells
Mirjan Fort, Karnataka: A temple under a tree; the idols are believed to have been unearthed during the excavations
Mirjan Fort, Karnataka: A temple under a tree; the idols are believed to have been unearthed during the excavations
Mirjan Fort, Karnataka: Watch tower also used for flag hoising by local officials and politicians on national occasions
Mirjan Fort, Karnataka: Watch tower also used for flag hoising by local officials and politicians on national occasions
Mirjan Fort, Karnataka
Mirjan Fort, Karnataka
Mirjan Fort, Karnataka: A view of walls from the outside
Mirjan Fort, Karnataka: A view of walls from the outside
Mirjan Fort, Karnataka: A silhouetted wide angle view
Mirjan Fort, Karnataka: A silhouetted wide angle view

Ajay Jain is currently on the Great Arabian Sea Drive, starting from Delhi and following the coastline all the way from Gujarat down to Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Follow all updates on:
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6 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Ajay,
    I enjoyed reading your traveblog, immensely! You write beautifully, with clarity and simplicity. The pictures are awesome too. You have inspired me to consider driving the coast of Gujarat( I have done the rest, to tip of the South). Enjoy your sojourn. Thanks for sharing your pics and thoughts. Stay safe.

  2. Hai, My home town is a place called "Apsarakonda", near Honnavar Taluk. It is very close to Mirjan. It is a beautiful place. The beach and Apsarakond water falls are pleasant to see. The view of Sharavati river joining the Sea is also worth seeing. There are lot of other places which you can visit. If you want more details, you may contact me.

  3. Our amazing country never ceases to surprise me with the amount of unknown & beautiful forts we have…another Fort I have missed even though I was so close to it during my 2009 NH-17 Bike Ride but Inshallah one day I would be here…

    Cheers…
    Nishant

  4. Hi Shanthala,

    Thanks for your feedback. Appreciate it. And all the best for your drives too – do share some of your travelogues with us.

    Would you like to join us on some of our future journeys? Sign up for FREE at Club Kunzum: http://www.kunzum.com/club.

    Look forward to seeing you on Kunzum more often. Cheers…Ajay

  5. I visited the Fort this afternoon.Simply beyond compare.While talking to some people of the ASI,I was told that they are repairing it in their efforts to put it on Karnataka’s Tourist Map.The Fort has a great history.The entire place is simply out of this world.Hope,the ASI does a good & professional job!

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