Take your weekend trip to Alibaug a notch higher by going on an adventurous twin trek to the lesser-known fort islands of Khanderi and Underi. They’re located in Thal, amidst shrubby terrain, about 7km from Alibaug and 20km to the south of Mumbai. Khanderi and its sister fort Underi were built by the Portuguese and later occupied by the Marathas in 1660 who kept a check on the Siddis (their opponents) occupying the Murud-Janjira Fort.

Underi lies south of Prong’s Lighthouse, built by the British in 1852. Underi, however, is smaller in size and circular in shape as opposed to Khanderi which is dome-shaped. It has a cave with some interesting carvings on its walls. The fort also has an underground chamber that was used for prisoners. If you’re a history buff, you have got to walk around the walls of these forts.

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There are various other attractions to explore on your visit to the twin islands. Such as the Vetal Temple; a Hindu temple made of huge white, heart-shaped stone. It was built in the 17th-century, and is used for worshipping by the local fishermen community.

Then there’s the Tomb of Daud Pir dedicated to Saint Daud. Local fishermen like to worship here too. There are two water tanks here that supply fresh drinking water to the caretakers of the lighthouse. The forts have proper cannons mounted on wheels still intact. There are some 14-15 cannons that exist today, and you can bring some pictures to show them to people back home.

You can take an early morning ferry from the Gateway of India to Mandwa that takes around 1.5 hours to reach. From Mandwa, Alibaug can be reached in 30 minutes by bus. Then you take a rickshaw from there to reach Thal Village, from where a boat can be taken to reach Khanderi Fort.