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Khanderi And Underi Islands

Get an adventurous twin trek trip to the rare fort islands of Khanderi and Underi in Arabian Sea, located in Thal, about 7km from Alibaug district that is 5km off the coast of Maharashtra, 20km to the south of Mumbai. Khanderi and its sister fort Underi also called Jaidurg formed the major fortification along the coast of Maharashtra. This fort was built by Portuguese and occupied by Maratha Shivaji in 1660 to keep a check on the Siddis at Murud-Janjira fort. Khanderi falls under the control of Shivaji and the Underi Island used to come under the control of Siddis, who were the opponents of Shivaji.

Underi lies near the mouth of Mumbai’s harbor south of Prong’s Lighthouse. It currently lies in Raigad district. These two twin islands served as one of the landmarks for ships entering Mumbai harbor. Underi is smaller in size and is circular in shape whereas Khanderi is dome shaped. Underi was built by Kahim of Siddis in 1680. Underiisland has one cave with some carvings on its walls. The fort has underground chamber which was used to keep prisoners. There are 15-16 cannons on the fort. Its walls are still strong.

In 1998, Khanderi Island was renamed as Kanhoji Angre Island in honor of the Maratha General Kanhoji Angre as he was admiral of Maratha navy.

In September 2013, The Indian Ministry of tourism and Ministry of shipping drew plans to develop Khanderi Island and its light house as a tourist destination.


These island sea forts were first found in 1538 by the Portuguese Viceroy Dorn Joao da Castro and after that these were referred as the uninhabited islands by John Fryer in 1674.

Later in August 1679, Shivaji and his forces occupied the islands and overtook the construction of a fortification, wall. The British, Janjira and Siddistried to claim the islands for the crown but all failed till 1750 when these twin forts were ceded to the British in 1818 as a part of their Peshwa Territory.

At present, Khanderi fort comes under the Bombay Port Trust Administration. To visit the fort the permission has to be taken by Bombay Port Trust.
It was in 1687, a Light house was built by the British.

How to Reach

By Ferry

An early morning ferry around 6 am can be taken from Gateway of India to Mandwa that can take around 1.5 hr. From Mandwa, Alibaug can be reached by bus that takes about 30 minutes. Thal can be reached by tum-tum, a type of rickshaw. From Thal village, again a boat can be taken to reach Khanderi fort that takes around 30 minutes to reach the fort.

By Road

Alibaug is 35km from Mumbai. Then a “tum tum” (type of auto rickshaw) can be taken to reach Thal that is 7 km from Alibaug.

Fort Attraction

Khanderi fort has a jetty so that tourist can land safely. Underi lies on the way and is smaller in size as compared to Khanderi fort. The walls of Underi are still in very good condition. Best way to see the fort is by walking along the walls of the fort.

Temple of Vetal

This Hindu temple is made of huge white heart shaped stone. It was built back then in 17th century. This temple is worshipped by local fishermen community.

Tomb of Daud Pir

This tomb is dedicated to a saint Daud. Local fishermen worship here.

Water Tank

There are 2 water tanks on this fort that supplies fresh drinking water to the caretakers of lighthouse.


The fort has complete cannon mounted on wheels still intact. It has about 14-15 cannons that can be seen and captured in pictures.


It was built by British in 1852. It is located at the top of the island. The lighthouse is 17m high octagonal tower with an elevation of 47m and is used to provide signals to distant ships in the ocean. The lamp looks amazing once seen from the top. A sphere of mirrors surrounds the actual light that is a hollow hexagon narrowing to an oval top. The crystal sphere weighing about 2 ton revolves smoothly and allow light to blink every 10 seconds. The lighthouse mechanism was imported from Germany back then. Now it has been replaced by the modern mechanism few years back. The lighthouse works at a speed of 3 RPM (revolutions per minute).

Stone with Metallic Properties

A huge stone with metallic properties can be seen on this island. It makes a loud sound like bell once hit with pebbles. It was used to intimate the inmates of the fort about the attack by enemy.


A heli-pad can also be found at one of the bastions of the fort where helicopters of Navy, Army and Airforce personnel can be landed.
Ministry of Shipping & Ministry of Tourism have in a joint venture planned to develop the following tourism components.

  • Conservation of lighthouse tower
  • Jetty for tourist ferry
  • Landscape enhancement of island
  • On board audio visual show on fort
  • Motor boats
  • Tent sites/camping

People can go for a day trek to both the forts and enjoy the beautiful sites in the mid of the ocean. Both the forts are important from the heritage point of view as well. Many tourist groups take trekking trips from Gateway of India. Ferry starts daily from Gateway of India to Mandwa jetty.

Places Nearby

Few beaches are located near Alibaug coastal region like Awas beach, Kihim Beach, Navgaon (Thal), North Drain (RCF) and Ash Pond (RCF), Varsoli Bandara Beach and Mandwa beach etc.

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