Cycling to Dongri Fort - also called Dharavi Fort at Uttan

Cycling Jun 9, 2013

Having created a map of the forts in Mumbai and Thane, I wanted to add one more fort to the list I have already cycled to. For I had to fly to Germany on Sunday, I decided to cycle on Saturday. I selected Dongri Fort, which is also called Dharavi Fort.

It is located at the tip of the Dongri peninsula off Uttan on the coast lined with fishing boats and coconut trees.

The shortest way to get to the fort is by taking a ferry from Gorai and then riding north towards Uttan. However, I took a longer route around the creek via Mira Road, and then took a diversion towards the coast in Dongri village. The road winds through small houses belonging to the local fishing and farming community. The weather was great, thanks to the monsoon that was just setting in.

Uttan Fort 1 As you come closer to the end of the Dongri peninsula, you get to the Dharavi Devi Mandir snuggled among the forests of the Dongri hills, and facing the sea

Uttan Fort 2 Still ahead along the coast, you come across this a small bastion at river-level whichwas rebuilt by the British after 1774. Next to the bastion is a well where local villagers were washing and filling up fresh water

Uttan Fort 4 As you come to the end of the Dongri peninsula, you see this imposing rock face of the Dongri hills

Uttan Fort 3 Next to the bastion lies a well and this temple carved into a large rock, which contains the holy wooden slippers – or paduka – of a holy saint

Uttan Fort 5 The last section is a steep climb up Uttan hill

Uttan Fort 6 The climb up Dongri Hill is steep, and but to my satisfaction, I managed to climb it with much less effort than the last time I had come here with a group of cyclists in the early days of my cycling – was glad of the improvement

Uttan Fort 7 Top view of the fishing village

Uttan Fort 17 Where the old Dongri Fort stood, there is now a public garden with parts of the old fort reconstructed with modern materials

Uttan Fort 9 These are few of the surviving rampart structures of the original fort. Most of the structures have been mutilated by reconstruction with modern materials

Uttan Fort 12 This is the view towards the north from the fort, looking down on the mangroves and fishing boats that line the shore of Dongri

Uttan Fort 11 This round structure with a weird shaped ramp adjoining it is a reconstruction of a structure of the original fort. Unfortunately the quality of reconstruction is pathetic, with all modern materials and completely spoiling the historical value of the place

Uttan Fort 14 This ramp abuts the reconstructed bastion and it is also similarly reconstructed with modern materials. But the view from on top of it is breathtaking

Uttan Fort 15 What you see in the background behind is the bay of Dongri

Uttan Fort 16 Standing on top of the bastion and looking out, one can see the vast expanse of the sea stretching in all directions, and the monsoon clouds gathering above, with the sun desperately trying to shine through

Uttan Fort 18 As you climb down the hill towards the south, you can see the brightly colored village houses line the shore of the bay

Uttan Fort 19 Also on the slopes of Dongri Hill, overlooking all the houses in the village is a giant statue of St. Peter

Uttan Fort 20 Around the statue, there is a small balcony with a few wooden benches. A great way to spend a Sunday is to just sit here and watch the boats floating in the bay below

Altar of Our Lady of Bethlehem Church Dongri Our Lady of Bethlehem Church Dongri is at the southern tip of the bay of Dongri. The church celebrated it’s 400th anniversary this year in January 2013

Uttan Fort 21 Altar of Our Lady of Bethlehem Church Dongri

Uttan Fort 24 This old abandoned old house in Uttan caught my attention while riding past. It was locked up and nobody seemed to be living there any more. A large grinding wheel in the foreground completed the picture!

Uttan Fort 26 A climb over Uttan hill and down towards Gorai and I realized was famished! Stopped for breakfast at aunty’s kitchen at Gorai. Hot chai and kanda poha was welcome!

Uttan Fort 25 Gorai beach, with the tire marks of vehicles that tourists bring on weekends

Uttan Fort 28 As I rode towards Gorai jetty, noticed these straw huts to protect the cattle. Behind them, there was a large tree with a swing where the village kids were enjoying their day off from school

Uttan Fort 30 After arriving at Gorai jetty, I watched the fishermen get their day’s catch out from their boats while I waited for the ferry to arrive and take me back to civilization

Uttan Fort 29 Fresh catch of the day!

Uttan Fort 31 Ferry across Gorai creek with Global Vipassana Pagoda shining behind

The rock formations around Uttan hill are called stacks. A stack is a geological landform consisting of a steep and often vertical column or columns of rock in the sea near a coast, isolated by erosion. Stacks are formed through processes of coastal geomorphology, which are entirely natural. Time, wind, and water are the only factors involved in the formation of a stack (ref. Similar formations are also found at Gilbert Hill, Andheri.

The ride back to Andheri from Gorai was uneventful, and I was back home at 11 am after 5 hours with a total riding distance of just under 70 km. My last pre-monsoon ride this year. Looking forward to more monsoon rides.

Here is the route map:


Ashutosh Bijoor

Adventurer, mathematician, software architect, cyclist, musician, aspiring wood worker