The Mirjan Fort is renowned for its architectural beauty and rich history. It is located in Uttara Kannada just about 22 kms away from Gokarna in Uttara Kannada. Its serves as the perfect weekend destination.
The fort has many origin stories. According to some, it was built by Ibn Battuta, a Nawayath asper in the early 1200s. It was then captured by the Vijayanagara Empire and refurnished in 1608. According to another story, the fort was built by Queen Chennabhairadevi sometime in the late 1500s to early 1600s. Queen Chennabhairadevi was also known as the pepper queen. She lived in the fort for many years until the Talikota war after which she moved to an island in the Sharavathi River. Yet another story talks of the fort being built by a Bijapur noble named Sherif-ul Mulk to protect the Kumta town.
In the 17th century, the fort was captured by Keladi queen Chennamma. In 1757, it was seized by the Marathas and a few years later, by the British empire. At the time, it was a minor port that used to export spices like pepper, wild nutmeg, cassia, and saltpetre.
Efforts are being made by the ASI to restore the fort to its earlier glory. Dressed laterite stones are being used to repair the damaged fort walls. It is also being given a waterproof coating. As part of the restoration, the ASI has also excavated land around the fort. This has unearthed several structures dating back to the medieval period. They also found a gold coin from 1652, clay tablets with Islamic inscriptions, cannon balls, bullets and earthen pots.
Gokarna, Murudeshwara, and Yallapura are the nearby places one can visit during Mirjan Fort trip. The place can be visited between September to February.