Mirjan Fort
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One of the not so well known places in the Uttara Kannada district is the Mirjan Fort. What seems to be a peaceful (and slight neglected) place today was once a busy port. It is located about 20 kilometers from Gokarna and 12 kilometers from Kumta.

There are many version of the origins of this fort. According to one version, the fort was built in 16th century by Chennabhairav Devi, Queen of Gersoppa, a subordinate of Vijayanagar kings. Rani Chennabhairav Devi was also known as the Pepper Queen. Spices such as pepper, nutmeg, saltpetre and betel nut were the major exports of this region. The Pepper Queens’s reign between 1552 – 1606 is considered to be the longest in the history of female domination in Indian history. The strong hold of her territory was centered on Uttara Kannada, Udupi, Dakshina Kannada districts and south Goa. After the battle of Tallikota in 1565, the territory was attacked by the Bijapur Sultans. Soon after the Pepper Queen shifted her base from Mirjan Fort to a safe location in an island in the middle of the Sharavathi River. While she was ousted she converted to Jainism and constructed many Jain basadis. In 1757, the Marathas gained control of the fort and later in 1784 it was seized by the British. It was handed back to the Government of India when the British departed from India.


The fort is primarily constructed using laterite stones and mud. One can see the influence of both the Mughal and Deccan architecture in its construction. The double high walls surround the fort and it also has turrets and weapon platforms on its bastions. Large canons also used to be positioned on these bastions for use against the enemy in range. It has three minor gateways and four main-gateways all of which have stairways leading away from the building.

Legend has it that this fort has witnessed some spectacular battles over the course of its lifetime. The entire fort is surrounded by a circular moat. Enemies could be kept away from the fort by filling up the moat which is internally connected with several wells.One can also traces of the drawbridge across the moat which was pulled up to keep the insiders secure.

25 km
Our rating
1.5 hour
Visit time

Getting there

Mirjan fort is around a half-hour drive from our villa. It takes you through the Sanikatta salt manufacturing plant and Madangeri. You will reach the Panvel-Kanyakumari highway where you would take the right. Drive around 10 kilometers and take the right to Mirjan. The Mirjan Fort is around a kilometer away from the highway. The views are quite beautiful from the fort, so do not forget to carry a camera.

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