Mirjan Fort Home > Karnataka > Attractions > Forts > Mirjan Fort

Mirjan Fort

Mirjan Fort is known for its amazing architecture and its strategic location. Located in the Uttara Kannada district, this fort is just half a kilometre away from the National Highway No.7 and about 11km away from the famous Hindu worship site of Gokarna. The history of the fort can be traced back to 16th century. It is believed that Queen Chennabhairava Devi ruled over this place for 54 years and that she constructed the fort during this time. Mirjan became an important trading hub for transporting items like pepper, betel nut, salt etc. to Surat, under the Queen’s rule. Hence, she came to be fondly remembered as “The Pepper Queen”.


There are several theories that are in practice today, relating to the history of this magnificent fort. It was first believed that the fort was constructed in 1200 by the Sultanates of Nawayth and that the Vijayanagara clan took over control of the fort from them. However, the ASI then conducted a research here and stated that the history can only be traced up to the period between 1608 and 1640 and not 1200.

The most popular belief is that the Mirjan Fort was constructed by Queen Chennabhairava Devi, during her rein that lasted between 1552 and 1606. She belonged to the famous Tuluva- Saluva dynasty and ruled over this place effectively for 54 years with the able support of the Vijayanagara rulers. It was during her rule that the port of Mirjan started flourishing phenomenally. It became a huge trading destination and it started sending large quantities of pepper, salt, betel nut etc. to Surat. As trade started developing, the economy of the port too started witnessing major developments. Due to this, the Queen was given the nickname of “Pepper Queen”. During her rule, the fort witnesses many powerful battles as well. Eventually, during the Talikota War, the Queen suffered defeat and hence she moved her base to another island in the Sharavati River.

Another version also suggests that the Mirjan fort was constructed by a wisely person from Bijapur, Sherif-ul-Mulk, in order to ensure that the fort and town of Kumta were given maximum protection possible. It is also believed that the fort was under the control of the Vijayanagar kings initially. When these kings suffered defeat, the control of the fort was shifted to the Bijapur sultans. Sherif-ul-Mulk was Goa’s Governor then, renovated the fort to increase his and his kingdom’s security. A war broke out in 1757 between the local kings of Mirjan and the Maratha rulers, in which the latter succeeded. Due to this, the fort came under the control of the Maratha rulers.


Laterite stones were used to build the fort that has been constructed over an area of 4.1 hectares. There are four entrances to the fort, out of which one is primary and the others are small. One can find many interlinked wells within the premises of the fort that lead to a moat which once encircled the fort fully. Many wide steps are constructed at each entrance and these steps open into the main area of the fort. The fort had double-walled protection and very high bastions. These are in a very dilapidated condition today and the ASI is doing its bit to restore the fort to its original structure. Recent excavations conducted here revealed many entry doors, darbar hall, secret passage and images of quite a few Gods and Goddesses of Hinduism religion.

During the pre-independence period, the fort was maintained and managed through funds given by the British authorities. After India achieved independence, the costs of maintaining the fort are borne by the ASI. Excavations carried out in 2001 revealed a soakage pit in the form of a circle, water tank, gold coin that was minted during 1652, porcelain (Chinese), tablets made of clay containing inscriptions in Islamic patterns, carved earthen pots, dumb bells, iron bullets and other coins.

Best Time to Visit

The period between November and March, is the most apt for visiting the Mirjan fort. This is because the climate is very pleasant and cool during this time.

Timings & Tickets

The Mirjan fort is open from 9AM to 5PM all through the week, including Sundays. This fort doesn’t charge any entry fee for its visitors.

How to Reach


Goa’s Dabolim Airport is the closest to the Mirjan Fort and it is located at a distance of about 156km away.


Kumta railway station, at a distance of about 10 km away from the fort, is the nearest railhead. There are lots of trains connecting with Kumta with important cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore etc.


There are lots of government and private sector buses that connect important places like Bangalore, Kumta, Mangalore, Karwar and others with the Mirjan Fort, on a daily basis.

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