Soon on itinerary: Experience a maharaja’s life in fort hotels

KING OF GOOD TIMES: State plans to bid out yashwantgad fort for a hotel

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Soon on itinerary: Experience a maharaja’s life in fort hotels
Currently, the Yashwantgad fort is lying in a state of decrepit disrepair as the state has little funds for conservation


Fancy the idea of relieving the days of yore in a Maratha-era fort? While heritage tourism is already big in Rajasthan and Goa, it may soon make its way to Maharashtra with the state government setting out on an experimental tourism plan. In a first, it intends to bid out the Yashwantgad fort in Sindhudurg district — a state protected fort — to private parties for developing residential and hospitality facilities in lieu of conserving the fortress.

If successful, it will pave way for more of these monuments to be financially self-sustaining as the cash-strapped state government is unable to conserve them and prevent vandalism.

“Based on the success, we plan to bid out nine more forts for this experimental tourism. However, the private party will have to develop hospitality and tourism facilities without compromising on heritage and aesthetic values,” a senior official from the state department of culture told DNA.


  • The Yashwantgad fort has a history dating to the Adilshah of Bijapur, Khem Sawants of Sawantwadi, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Portuguese and British. Shivaji Maharaj captured it from the Adilshah and named it 'Yashwantgad.'
  • The fort can be developed as a residential heritage tourism site considering its heritage value, proximity to Goa, and presence of foreign tourists. It is close to the Redi and Aronda beaches, Ganesh and Navadurga temples and Tiracol fort.
  • In Goa, heritage hotels have been developed at the Tiracol and Aguada forts. Rajasthan is known for such heritage hotels.

Vinita Ved Singhal, principal secretary, tourism, confirmed they were working on a niche policy to protect forts and develop tourism. The policy is expected to be approved soon and the plan for the Yashwantgad fort, which has “immense possibilities”, will be rolled out in around two months. She added that in its new avatar, the fort would attract premium tourists, especially after the launch of commercial flights at the nearby Parule- Chipi airport.

The culture department official estimates that the heritage conservation of this sea fort, captured by Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj from the Adilshah of Bijapur and renamed Yashwantgad, will require around Rs 42 crore. “Since the development has to conform with CRZ norms, the proposed hotel will have to opt for log houses, bamboo huts and tents as residential units, apart from restaurants and an amphitheater. This will cost around Rs 20 crore. So, the total package is worth around Rs 62 crore,” he explained.

For this project, the directorate of museums and archaeology is working in collaboration with the state tourism department and weighing between two options of development, one of which requires purchasing of non-protected areas from private parties. 

Meanwhile, the directorate has agreed to relinquish around one-acre land in the peripheral area of the fort. The tourism department will float an expression of interest (EOI) to invite private developers soon.

Barring the development of the private 300-year old Fort Jadhavgad in Pune district as a museum fort hotel by the Kamat Group, few forts have been converted into resorts in Maharashtra. Meanwhile, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the state government have recognised just 100 of the 353 forts in Maharashtra as protected monuments; others are crumbling due to a lack of preservation.

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