One of the largest fort's in the Mumbai Metropolitan region, Vasai Fort is not just an oasis of green in a space starved city, it is a site of immense historical importance. Spread over 110 acres today, this fort is just an hour away from Mumbai, but will take you hundreds of years back into time.
From Baçaim to Bassein to Vasai
In 1534, the Portuguese obtained Bombay, Mahim, Thane, Colaba and Vasai from the Bahadurs of Gujarat. They made it their base in the North Konkan and it flourished as a hotspot for trade and named it Baçaim.
A bit more than a century later, the Portuguese held on to Vasai but passed on Bombay to the British, which seemed insignificant at the time, as part of the dowry of the Portuguese princess Catherine of Breganza in her marriage to Charles II.
The fort remained in Portuguese hands until 1739, when the Marathas led by Chimmaji Appa, young brother of legendary Peshwa Baji Rao I, wrestled the fort back from the Portuguese after a long and bloody conquest.
1n 1818, the fort was ceded to the British after the third Anglo-Maratha war who renamed the fort to Bassein.
A photographer's dream
If you’re not from a multi-million rupee production house, you can still have a great time walking around the monumental ruins spread all over the fort.
19°19' N, 72°48' E
Distance from Mumbai (BKC)
This grand fort is now managed by a handful of security staff and has become a site where many people from the surrounding suburbs come only to escape from the urban chaos of Mumbai.
Some of them respect the site for it’s incredible heritage, but many don’t and litter the site with remnants of their festivities.
Several governments have proposed to better protect and preserve this place, but work on the ground is yet to be seen.
Fort map and places of interest
1 – Entrance from Vasai Road/Mumbai
2 – Memorial to Chimaji Appa
3 – Dominican Cathedral church
4 – Vejneshwari Temple
5 – Central bastion of the fort
6 – Saint Joseph’s Cathedral
7 – Sea-side entrance
8 – Saint Gonsalo Garcia Church (still in practice)
9 – Saint Antonio Church