I was itching for a trek to avoid all the Ganpati noise in and around my area but due to all the tamasha and security, thanks to the Delhi blasts, i settled on seeing some Ganpatis in the matunga east – king circle area and settled for a walk to the nearby Sion fort.
Situated in the heart of Sion, a central suburb of Mumbai, the Sion hillock fort is a castle/ watch tower built by the British that marked the boundary between the British-held Parel island and Purtuguese-held Salsette island. The fort offers a panoramic view of the eastern side, overlooking the salt pans in the Thane Creek (which are rapidly shutting down.) Reaching the place is a bit tricky as not many locals know about it.
Directions: This fort is situated very close to Sion station (Centrail railway). Simply walk eastwards, cross under the Eastern express flyover and you will reach the place. There is a school, the branch office of the Archaeological Survey of India, and a big oil factory VVF oil company nearby, and the whole fort is situated atop a hillock inside the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Udyan.
Difficulty : Easy – Its like a walk in the park but there is a bit of a climb involved.
The park is a throwback to a bygone Nehruvian Socialist era with those typical planned gardens with waterholes and bridges, a boat and a maze for children (which serves as a shitzone ) and many such rustic charms. But it has fallen to disrepair and the faced its share of vandalism. The toilet is a nightmare and should be best avoided.
The fort is dilapidated and a collection of broken stone steps, scattered walls and ruins, overrun by trees and ground cover and lots of graffiti. It is frequented by the young men and couples and ladies with bright orange vermilion and vivid saris (mostly bhaiyas and nepalis from nearby shantys)
It’s a great place for students to study – its relatively calm surroundings offer a quick break from the noises of the city. There have been some talks about restoring this place, but this could well end up being just another project. I really hope that ASI upgrades the fort and removes illegal encroachments from the area. We really need more open spaces and attend to the historical past of our city.
Unfortunately just like most historical structures in the country, this place is covered by graffiti. Did you know that Amit loves Pooja?
Note: All the images are taken from my 1.3 mp cellphone camera. Some References: Wikipedia
This Post is a collaborative effort with Priyank who did most of the writeup and was edging me on to do more posts on treks.