With my work complete, I look for a fulfilling way to spend the rest of the day. While a pristine palm-line beach is under my feet, beckoning with the calls of a lazy afternoon sipping rum drinks by the shore, I don’t waste my time relaxing but rather take the motorcycle to the nearby ruins of Janjira Fortress; an impregnable castle sitting in the Arabian Sea. Its steep, twelve-meter walls literally rise out of the ocean and have been effective enough to keep it safe from invaders over the last thousand years. Since the fortress is no longer necessary it has fallen into a state of ruins, but the only way to reach it is still via sailboat from the nearby shore.
A short hop across the waves leaves me inside the fortress, free to explore the massive ruins currently overwhelmed by the forces of nature. All around are stone blocks crumbling into dust as great vines and creepers scale the remaining walls. Countless rusty cannons rest on heaps of rumble as they still aim their barrels out of fortified portholes. As I climb through the ruins, I’m reminded of the movie Willow and feel a bit like Madmartigan vigilantly evading the trolls of Tir Asleen. Pure magic and exploration are found everywhere in this castle of the sea!
I never tire of wandering the ruins, but before sunset I get back to the bike and rush towards a special invitation to meet one of Guido’s friends. I arrive at Amedganji Palace and meet Zafar, cousin to the Nawub Prince and manager of the royal estate. This complex of stately, yet derelict buildings sits on the cliff overlooking Murud, where an unobstructed view of the hazy sunset over the Arabian Sea silhouettes the ruins of an old Portuguese fort in the sea. The grounds are off-limits to visitors because the royal family is still in residence, but thanks to my contact via Guido and the Nawub’s current vacation I am given a private tour of the compound and insightful education about the royal family’s move from Janjira Fortress a little more than a century ago.
The long day of photo-shoots and exploration finally concludes with an evening at the beach, pounding pegs of rum under the palms. But tomorrow is a long day of travel to make it back to Mumbai in time for the New Years celebrations.
Tags: - Photography, - Transport & Travel, - Transport: Motorcycle, Asia, India, India: Maharashtra, Konkan Coast, Maharshtra, Ruins