Route and the location
Mirjan fort is around 58 km from Murdeshwar. We left Murdeshwar at around 11:15 and reached the place at 12 noon. Luckily it was cloudy that day and it saved us from the scorching heat. To reach the fort one needs to travel in NH 66 towards Karwar from Murdeshwara and take a left diversion at Mirjan and drive further half km in the pothole-filled road to reach the fort. There is sufficient parking for vehicles near the fort.
Mirjan fort of Uttara Kannada district in Karnataka is one of the rarest forts situated in the coastal part of Karnataka. It is 157 Kms from Udupi, 120 Kms from Kundapura, 12 Kms From Kumta and 21 Kms from Gokarna. Fort is open to the public from 8 AM to 6 PM.
Photo shoot hub
Mirjan fort is often visited by the young crowd and is a hotspot for photoshoots. When we visited there was a gentleman dressed up in a suit and was making friendly gestures. After a while, we realized it was a prewedding photoshoot. As we entered inside the fort we witnessed more of such cases. It wouldn’t be wrong to say visitors enjoyed the fort and the couples doing the photoshoots equally.
A bridge over the moat which surrounds the fort connects the gate of the fort with the outer land. This octagonal-shaped fort has 4 entrances and many wells, which are interlinked and with access channels leading to the circular moat surrounding the fort. The main entrance to the fort goes through the wide steps. Fort is built of laterite stones and spread across 11.8 acres. the fort has 11 circular bastions that provide a good view of the surroundings. Above the walls are series of merlons and gun holes (100 holes) are provided in between. The top of the wall has a small path enough for a man to walk over.
Mirjana Fort is a fine blend of Islamic and Portuguese architecture and technology. Inside the fort one can identify the ruins of darbar hall, market place, few secret passages and wells. Stone images of Hindu gods and goddesses are also seen under a large tree.
History and the legend
Even though there is no firm evidence on the construction period of the fort, it is believed that Ruler of Pond, Shareeff-Ul-Mulk (1608-1640 CE) under the command of the Adil Shahi Sultan of Bijapur constructed this fort. Another version of history suggests that the Mirjan Fort was built initially by Tuluva-Saluva clan Queen Chennabhairadevi (queen of Gersoppa ) between 1552 to 1606 CE.
Queen Chennabhairadevi ruled for 54 years under the protection of the Vijayanagara Empire During her rule, pepper, betel nut, and nutmeg were shipped to Europe and the Middle East from the ports of Malpe, Bidnoor, Mirjan, Honnavar, Ankola and Karwar. She was given the name, “The Pepper Queen or Raina da Pimenta’ by Portuguese. She is believed to have lived in the fort for a considerable amount of time.
If you are familiar with the kannada song ‘minchaagi neenu baralu’ from Kannada movie ‘Gaalipata’, you have already seen a good portion of the fort as the song was shot here. Best time to visit the fort would be from July to September as whole fort will be wearing green grass blanket during the season. We spent around 45 mins in Mirjan fort and left the place at 12:45 pm. Drove back to Kumta where we had booked our stay.
Route we took
Live the experience!
Best way to explore the place is watching it yourself.