Mumbai’s history can be seen in its dilapidated forts. One such is the Sion Hillock Fort built between 1669 and 1677 by the British Governor of Bombay, Gerard Aungier, atop a conical hillock.
This hillock is situated a few metres east of the Sion railway station.
Sion was the boundary between British-held Parel island and Portuguese held Salsette Island and the fort marked the northeast boundary of their possession.
Its main purpose was that of a watchtower. However, there is another point of view which states that it was the Portuguese who had built this fort to protect their possession of the seven islands prior to handing them over to King Charles II as dowry on his marriage to Portuguese Princess Catherine of Braganza in 1662.
Today Sion marks the beginning of the suburbs in the eastern part of Mumbai and the Fort is used by the locals for walks and other physical exercises.
Quite a few students too come to study in the nooks and corners of the fort.
At the base of the hill is the branch office of the Archaeological Survey of India, and a garden – the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Udyan. One has to go through this garden to reach the top of the fort.
The fort is in a dilapidated condition with a collection of broken stone steps and scattered walls.
The walls are decorated with declarations of lovers who wished to immortalize their love.
It has a small room on top with a wooden trussed ceiling of old tree trunks of which only a few remain.
The views from top are worth the time spent to reach there.
There was also a small cannon lying on the hillside, as if it was just thrown there in a hurry by retreating forces.
It sure is an interesting place to visit and satiate ones interest in the history of Mumbai. The best time to visit would be early morning or maybe late evening when the sun would not be at its harshest best. It would not take more than an hour to leisurely explore and revisit Mumbai of yore.
A map to help you get there -