Situated in Bagmandala close to Diveagar Beach about 40 km away, is an ancient fort situated at Bankot village in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra. Bankot Fort is the place for history buffs. Overlooking Bankot Creek is one of the historical forts in Maharashtra and among the best places to visit during the Harihareshwar tour.
Also known as Himmatgad, the Bankot Fort is situated at the highest point on the junction where river Savitri meets the sea. It is believed that this fort, which is situated on the rocky terrain of the sea, was built in the Shilahara dynasty. As the area of the fort is small, a moat was dug around the fort to keep it protected. It is one of the best tourist places in Harihareshwar.
History of Bankot Fort
In the first century, a Greek philosopher named Pliny mentioned this fort as ‘Mangir’. The Chinese traveler Hieun Tsang is supposed to have embarked in Bankot in 640 AD. After this fort was passed down from the hands of the Portuguese from Adil Shah in 1548 and was later acquired by Maratha Koli Admiral Kanhoji Angre in 1700 and it was renamed ‘Himmatgad’. When the British army took this fort from Aangre, it was again renamed ‘Victoria’.
The beautiful view of the enormous backwaters and the Harihareshwar Mountain can be seen from the fort.
Bankot Fort is a square-shaped fort surrounded by moats dug up in the red laterite. The main entrance faces north and is decorated with stone carvings. There is a secret entrance near this bastion.
The fort’s protective fortifications and bastions have been preserved to date.
Savitri River flows near this fort. This river is famous as Bankot’s backwaters also.
There is a Gajanan Temple also featured by the fort located just at its entrance called Mahadarwaja and is adorned with an ornamented balcony displaying arches. One can also see a graveyard lying in the outer regions of the fort. The graves comprise vertical pillars such as headstones and marble inscriptions.
Ferries can be hired to reach the Bankot Fort through Bankot creek and the ride is a pleasant one. The ferries even take four-wheelers across the creek.