Monday, April 22, 2024

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Vasai Fort

Place : Mumbai, Maharashtra
Best Season : October To March
Timings : 10am - 5:30pm
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Vasai, also called Bassein, lies about 48 kms north of Mumbai. It is famous for the ruined Portuguese fort that overlooks the confluence of the Ulhas River.

Surrounded by sea on the three sides, it is a favourite location of Bollywood film makers. The famous films shot here are Khamoshi, Ram Gopal Verma's Aag etc.

Vasai was known as a place for ship building in the 15th Century. Due to its strategic location on western coast, the Portuguese settled here and Vasai having been granted to the Portuguese in 1535 by Bahadur Shah, Sultan of Gujarat.

The Portuguese remodeled it Bassein into a flourishing city by building a citadel inside. At that time, only Christians were permitted to live inside the walls.

Vasai city housed a cathedral, 13 churches and 5 convents. The fort was Portuguese control til 1739. In the 18th century, the fort was captured by Chimaji Appa after a three year long campaign. There is a statue of Chimajiappa in Vasai fort.

However, in 1802 by the Treaty of vasai, it became a British possession. In 1818 it was incorporated in the Bombay Presidency.

Formerly, the fort protected the province of Bassein and offered shelter to about 60,000 inhabitants, 2,000 Portuguese and 58,000 Indian Christians.

The ruins of the majestic Bassein Fort can be seen here. Now what remains are the parts of the imposing 4.5kms long fort walls, two access doors ('Porta do Mar' and 'Porta da Terra') and remnants of Portuguese buildings and churches dating from the 16th Century and 17th Century. These are shaded by mango trees and palms. There are also decorative gateways inscribed with coats of arms and Portuguese graves dating back to 1558.

The walls of the fort are still in a very good condition. Nine huge bastions of triangular shape named after saints project outwards from the walls.

One can enter the fort through two wooden doors at the entance. The main door was held by three bamboo beams posted between the doors right on top at the entrance. The wooden doors were encrusted with iron knobs on the door.

Three chapels inside the fort, which have facades typical of 17th century Portuguese churches. At this end of the fort, one can see broken-down ships, trawlers and anchors. Several watchtowers stand, with staircases leading up.

Admission Fees: Free