Sion Fort: The Fort in the Midst of Mumbai (2021)
The Sion Hillock Fort is in Sion, a suburb of Mumbai. Tourists, students, and anyone interested in history and the architecture of Mumbai flock here. Since Sion Fort is right within the city limits of Mumbai, it always has someone or the other exploring the fort. If you plan to visit this fort, here is some information that will be useful for you.
Historical Importance of Sion Fort
The East India Company built the Sion Fort to demarcate its land from the Portuguese controlled areas of Salsette Island and beyond. It is one of the few forts that the British or the Portuguese built and did not capture. So, the now forlorn fort was the guardian of the Mumbai city. The authorities have tried to rebuild and refortify the fort, but it has not come to fruition yet.
Structures Inside the Sion Fort
The entry to the Sion Fort is via a wide staircase that consists of about 200 stairs. They are wide and comfortable enough, but even so, the elderly should not consider climbing up. The fort today has few props or even structures from the bygone era. But you will see a cannon on the ground. Once you climb up the stairs, you will reach a watchtower, the top of which gives you a magnificent view of the city and the nearby area. Little remains of what the fort would have been in previous times, but you can still marvel at the strength of the fort, something that has remained unnerved for hundreds of years.
Today though, there is not much to look at inside the fort. Apart from a few props like the cannon and the watchtower that makes sense, you will not be able to decide which wall is of which building and what a structure is all about.
There is a large garden inside the fort premises. The garden usually has students of nature and photography enthusiasts looking to click exotic insects and birds and look at the flowers as well. Experts maintain that almost every fort in the Konkan area had secret tunnels that either led to the village or another fort. Some experts maintain that the Sion fort has an underground tunnel to the nearby Riwa Fort. At the foot of the hill, you will find the city bustling with commercial activity.
At the entrance of the fort, you see a maze, and there is no explanation as to why it exists. All you can do is marvel at the beauty and geometry of this perfect maze.
You will also see a contemporary water tank at the top. These forts, like the Vasai fort, are usually a photographer’s domain nowadays. You will see several amateurs and even professional photographers carry out their photoshoots here.
Tourist Experience of Sion Fort
Sion fort is a unique experience for tourists accustomed to traveling hours and trekking continuously to reach a fort. The Sion fort is by far the nearest to any commercial activity. Even the other Mumbai forts like Arnala is on an island, and the Bassein fort is deep into the forest area. The only other fort that is so close to the urban land is the Bandra Fort, also in Mumbai. This unique aspect of a fort being almost in the center of a commercial hub makes Sion fort a unique part of fort tourism in Maharashtra.
All over the park that is at the foot and the fort, you will find green patches that are hard to come by in Mumbai. If you plan to visit this fort, you must know that the Government had plans to connect the garden to the actual fort and make it a theme park. Those plans did not happen, as some say it was because of a lack of funds. Some say that the authorities wanted to keep the fort a fort.
Places Near Sion Fort
Sion is in Mumbai, so there is a lot of nightlife and eat-out options in this place. After spending an afternoon at the Sion fort, it makes sense to chill out in any of the restaurants that you might like. Here is a list:
The Peninsula Restaurant is quite famous for its lip-smacking food taste and variety in its menu. It is a fine-dine place that offers Jain, Mughlai, and South Indian cuisine.
Sion Lunch Home
The Sion Lunch Home is synonymous with value for money and mouth-watering dishes, even though it was a basic sounding name. You will love the seafood here.
Apart from these, there are other bars, restaurants in Sion that have an authentic taste, not found in the urban side of Mumbai.
How to Reach Sion?
Sion is in Mumbai. Once you reach Mumbai, you can take a local train, bus, or a cab to Sion. The cheapest route is the train. You need to take a ticket till CST station, get down at Bandra, board a train towards CST and get down at Sion.