Years after biting dust at various government offices, the proposal to beautify the vast 9-acre surroundings of the historic Ghodbunder Fort in Kashimira has finally received an official nod from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)- Ratnagiri and the Directorate of Archaeology & Museums-Mumbai.
Both the agencies issued their No Objection Certificates (NOC) to the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) for the beautification work which will be undertaken under the ambitious “Shiv-Srushti” project mooted by Shiv Sena legislator- Pratap Sarnaik. The fort had been adopted by the civic administration under the government’s ‘Maharashtra Vaibhav Protected Monuments Adoption Scheme’ to help protect and preserve historical monuments.
Notably, the state department of cultural affairs had granted heritage structure status to eight monuments in the state, including the Ghodbunder Fort, paving the way for their adoptions by the respective civic bodies. However, the heritage structure and its surroundings had become one the worst examples of utter neglect and apathy.
Realizing their duty of upkeep, the MBMC had chalked out an elaborate roadmap for the project which carries an estimated price tag of around Rs 50 crore towards the restoration, conservation and beautification of the fort and its precincts. However, clarity eludes the funding pattern of the multi-crore project.
Originally named as Cacabe de Tanna, the Ghodbunder Fort, was built in 1730 by the Portuguese who had settled in this region in 1530. The territory and fort remained under the rule of the Portuguese until 1737. Despite several attempts, the Maratha warriors failed to capture the fortress, but eventually besieged the Fort and successfully occupied it by defeating the Portuguese army in the year 1737. There is also an ancient church in the vicinity of the fort which was founded by the Portuguese.