Your guide to Martello Towers in the UK and throughout the world.

Martello Towers in Asia

There are four Martello Towers in Asia in India and one each in Indonesia and Sri Lanka

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The Towers in Asia
Index Icon Arnala Fort India
Index Icon Pakur India
Index Icon Menara Indonesia
Index Icon Hambantota Sri Lanka

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Arnala Fort, India

Arnala Fort is located at Arnala Islands, which is little over 12 km north of Vasai in Maharashtra. Although European in origin, a primitive form of Martello tower had existed in Punjab by the time it was conquered by the East India Company. The fort currently is not in a very good condition. It is abandoned and forlorn.

The fort remained under the Portuguese control for nearly two centuries. It was their point of control to exert supervision over their navigation and shipping activities over the northern Konkan coast.

Arnal Fort in India

In the year 1737 on March attack from the Marathas forced the Portuguese to abandon the fort. The Marathas next claimed the fort and built three bastions – Bava, Bhavani and Bhairav. The British next captured the fort in the year 1781 on 18th January in the First Anglo Maratha War. The fort there after changed hands twice. 

There is a Martello Tower that the Portuguese built at the southern tip of the island where the Arnala fort stands. The Portuguese are said to have built many of these towers, but Arnala's is the best surviving specimen

Pakur, India

Probably the most famous historical structure in small town of Pakur, the tower was built by the British to fend of Santhal rebellion during 1857. 

An upright concrete tower-like architecture with a glass roof. Inside there is room for armed personnel to stand and fire at the Santhal rebales.

It was an important position for the British forces watching fighting the rebellion of the Santhals. This example is reporte  to still be in good condition, but decaying due to a lack of maintenance.

Pakur Martello Tower India


Menara, Indonesia 

The single Martello Tower in Indonesia was built in 1850 in Menara. It was destroyed by tidal wave caused by eruption of Krakatau 1883. 
Located in thousand island Bidadari is very much part of Jakarta history. Bidadari is one of the most popular of the thousand islands as a tourist attraction and can be reached by fast boat from Marina Ancol.

Menara Maartello Tower

The pure natural beauty of the island is stunning and visitors are always surprised to see the ruins if the Martello tower and another tower on a nearby island, Palau Kelor, old name “Kerkhof” or “Graveyard”. Bidadari is known as Angel Island. In the late 17th.century a hospital for lepers was built on the island to isolate them from the local inhabitants and probably originated the name.

Hambantota  Sri Lanka

The only Martello Tower in Sri Lanka is located at Hambantota and is one of the rarest monuments in the world, as it remains to be the smallest and only type of fortification that was built by colonials.

Set on top of the ruins of a Dutch fortress, the British constructed this particular type of fortress to protect the seaport town from attacks, especially after the Kandyan forces’ rebellion.


Hambantota Martello Tower

The tower was completed in 1803 and was believed to have housed a garrison of 15-25 men along with an officer, and several artillery weapons to repel any sort of future attack.

The Martello Tower stands at a height of 25ft, which allows for a 360-degree clear line of sight if any invader were to attack the area. Ever since the country gained its independence in 1948, the tower was rendered obsolete.

However, it has been restored recently and now is an archaeological site which also houses a fisheries museum. 

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