Arnala Fort is built on a small island of the port town of Arnala, located around 8 miles north of Vasai, Maharastra, India. Being an island fort, it is also called Jaldurg or Janjire-Arnala. The Portuguese, who owned this fort rebuilt and gave it the name Ilha das vocas.There is a large hexagonal fresh water reservoir inside the fort. Inside the fort are the temples of Ambakeshwar, Goddess Bhavani, Lord Shiva, and the tombs of Shahali and Hajjali. The 'paduka' or sacred sandals of Shrinityanand Maharaj are housed in a dome on the eastern face of the fort. The solid stone doorway is adorned with pictures of tigers and elephants. The external ramparts are in a fairly good condition, and a roughly 3-meter-wide path exists along the outer walls.Arnala is a small fishing village about 17 kms from Virar. The Arnala fort is on a small island. The island houses a village, fort and a private resort.A mosque and a temple peacefully co-exists inside, without any qualms. The watch tower at the tip of the island, is a source of mysterious stories.

Location info:

Address:8 miles north of Vasai
District: Thane
Nearest City: Mumbai City
Best time to visit: October to April.



In 1516, a local chieftain in Gujarat, Sultan Mahmud Begda originally constructed the fort on the island, strategically located at the mouth of the Vaitarna river. In the 1530s, the Portuguese had established their operations in the coastal area headquartered at Fort Bassein and soon gained control of the island. The Portuguese captain of Bassein donated the island to a Portuguese nobleman who tore down the old fort and began construction of 700x700 foot fort. Though fort was never completed by the nobleman, it remained under Portuguese control for 2 centuries, who used it to control shipping and navigation along the northern Konkan coast.

During the late 1600s and early 1700s, after a long struggle with the Mughal Empire, the Maratha Confederacy came to dominate present day Maharastra. In 1737 the then Peshwa Baji Rao I sent his brother, Chimaji Appa, to take the Bassein Fort from the Portuguese. After winning the Battle of Vasai, his general, Shankarji Pant, persuaded Chimaji to launch an assault on Fort Arnala, for its strategic importance to the Maratha navy in assaulting Portuguese interests. Their first assault, coordinated with a Maratha naval force commanded by Manaji Agre, was routed by a superior Portuguese naval force. A second assault on the fort on March 28, 1737, caught the Portuguese by surprise and forced them to abandon the fort. The victory was commemorated by a plaque installed on the northern wall of the fort and is still visible today. Marathas then rebuilt the fort, constructing three bastions Bahirav, Bhavani and Bava.

The Marathas controlled the fort until 1817 when, during the third British-Maratha war, despite successfully defending the fort, they were forced to surrender the fort to the British due to their superior naval power. The Arnala and Bassien forts were returned to the Marathas by the British in the treaty of Salabai, but the forts again changed hands under the treaty of Pune. Today the fort is in a state of disrepair.

Once you hit Arnala beach you turn towards the right side where you see the fishing boats in the distance.But this landmine-laden area soon passes and you reach the ferry. There's a ferry which takes you across to the island. Be sure to time your arrival because the ferries are at hourly intervals or even more. There is one at 12 noon which is quite convenient if you are planning a trip.

A 5-10 minute walk through the village takes you to the fort entrance. The fort walls are in a fairly good condition even today. Once you enter the fort to the right, there are stairs which take you up on the fort wall itself. There is a 8-10 feet wide route all along the fort wall. The best part about this island is that its so small that you see the sea up close from wherever you are standing on the fort wall.

Interesting things to do:

Can snap a lot of photos

Can play some games on the beach

Interesting things to Visit:

Towards the southern tip of the island there is a very interesting watch-tower standing in quiet isolation. As you approach it you intuitively look for an entrance. But even when you are done going round it it will leave you puzzled because there simply is not any entrance. There is a small opening at the base though which goes 4 feet in and then there is a circular passageway through which one would need to crawl to go ahead. According to the locals, there are cannonballs stored inside.

Arnala Lighthouse is about 10 km West by road from Virar Railway station (Mumbai-Surat Trunk Route). Regular transport is available from Virar for proceeding to Arnala. There is a pucca road up to the lighthouse. The coast is about 300 m away from the lighthouse.

Mobile range info:

How to reach?

Nearest Railway Station:Mumbai
Nearest Airport:Mumbai International Airport
Transport: After reaching the beach from Arnala village you can reach fort by commuter boat only. The boat service is available from 6 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. It takes about 5 to 10 minutes to reach fort through the boat.

Nearest Visiting places:

  • Ahmadnagar Fort
  • Ajinkyatara Fort
  • Arnala Fort
  • Bassein Fort
  • Chakan Fort
  • Daulatabad Fort

Nearest Petrol Pump:


  • Grand Sarovar Premiere Mumbai (in Mumbai, distanced approximately 140 km)
  • Grand Hometel Malad Mumbai (in Mumbai, distanced approximately 140 km)
  • Benzy Palace (in Mumbai, distanced approximately 150 km)
  • Hotel Suncity Residency (in Mumbai, distanced approximately 150 km)
  • The Grand Imperial (in Agra, distanced approximately 150 km)
  • Hotel Metro International (in Mumbai, distanced approximately 150 km)
  • Ramee Guestline Hotel, Juhu (in Mumbai, distanced approximately 150 km)
  • Lots of other Resorts are there at Arnala

Things to carry:

Mineral water bottles, food, first aid kit, some extra clothes and so on.

Tips & Suggestions:

Help Line/Phone Number:

Police Station:100

Nearest Hospital:Aastha Children/ Hospital Balaji/ Clinic Sahyog Hospital

Society/Community Phone Number