Vasai Fort (Bassein)
Vasai was the Portuguese's main naval base and ship-building center. In 1802 AD, the Peshwa Bajirav signed the infamous 'Treaty of Bassein' which effectively ended the Maratha Confederacy. Eventually, the fort and the city of Vasai were ceded to the British in 1817 AD.
The location of the vasai fort has led to many battles over the centuries. It was under the control of the Portuguese army until the early 18th century. The Maratha kingdom, under the leadership of Bajirao Peshwa, waged a few battles to claim it for themselves. Research and reconnaissance went into planning the next attack, and after a swift and well-planned guerilla campaign, the Maratha army finally captured the fort in 1739.
Due to its history as a Portuguese settlement, there are a few graves with Latin inscriptions and the ruins of an ancient church that can be seen. The ramparts, arches, and watchtowers are eerie and many couples choose to take their wedding photos here.
The old city of Vasai, also known as Bassein, is 45 kms from Palghar City. The vasai fort in the old city was the Portuguese headquarters in the north, next to Goa. Vasai's coastal fort was surrounded by sea on three sides and had a moat filled with sea water.
There were two gates in the fort: the westward land-gate and a small citadel, which was well equipped with water tanks, storehouses, and an armoury, among other things. All the old structures within the wall are now in ruins. There were also fields for growing grain and vegetables.
The vasai fort is also a popular shooting location for Bollywood movies and songs. The Bollywood hit "Kambakkht Ishq" from Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya and "Poster Lagwa Do" from Luka Chuppi are among the Bollywood songs filmed at the fort. Movies like Josh, starring Shah Rukh Khan, have been filmed at the fort.
"Conservation activists" have harshly criticised the quality of the work done by the Archaeological Survey of India in restoring the vasai fort.
How to reach Vasai Fort
The nearest International Airport is Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai, roughly two hour drive from Vasai.
From Churchgate in Mumbai, take a Western Railways train heading to Virar and get off at Vasai Road Railway Station. If you are arriving from the Central Railway or Central Railway Harbour Line, then you must switch to the Western Railway line at either Dadar, Bandra or Andheri.
There is also a railway line connecting the Central and Western Railways lines from Vasai Road Railway Station to Diva, a stop on the Central Railway line just beyond Thane, where commuter trains also travel long distances.
In between Diva and Dombivli, there is a railway station called Kopar. Passengers traveling from Thane or Kalyan can alight at Kopar and walk up the staircase to Platform No. 3, where they can catch the Diva to Vasai train.
Dombivli, Diva and Panvel have five trains that go to Vasai Road daily; Vasai Road has five trains that go to Diva and Panvel.
From Mumbai, Vasai is about 77 kilometres away by car. There is a bus depot next to Virar Terminus from where visitors can take a bus to the fort.
Manickpur-Navghar has a State Road Transport Bus Terminus & Station located adjacent and to the immediate west of the Vasai Road Railway Station. The buses heading to the Vasai Fort arrive at "Killa Bunder" or "Fort Jetty/Quay".
Buses run every half-hour. Tickets cost Rupees 5 per person, and you may get off at the last stop and walk around. Auto rickshaws are also available from the western entrance to the railway station, but they cost more per person and are considered unsafe.
Beautiful Places Near Vasai Fort
Vasai Fort is located near a number of interesting attractions, like the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Global Vipassana Pagoda, Rangao Beach, Jivdani Temple, Tungareshwar Temple, Gorai Beach, Chinchoti water falls, and Vailankanni Church, among others. There are several interesting places to visit around the Ahmednagar Fort, such as the water kingdom, essel world, Vardhman fantasy garden, etc.
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