Vasai Fort


Vasai or Bassein Fort is a large fort in Vasai village, in the Vasai taluka (county) of the District of Thane, Konkan Division, Maharashtra State, Republic of India. The name "Bassein" is the English version of the Portuguese "Baçaim" (with the "ç" spoken as "s" and with the "m" silent), itself a version of an apparently native name that may have a connection to the Vasa Konkani tribals of the North Konkan region, extending from Mumbai into "South Gujarat." The Marathi name of the place is Vasai.

The complete form of the Portuguese name is "Fortaleza de São Sebastião de Baçaim" or the Fort of St. Sebastian of Vasai.

The fort and the village are accessible most easily through the Vasai Road Railway Station, which itself is in Manikpur-Navghar, a part of the newly raised City of Vasai-Virar (See "Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation"), and lies to the immediate north of the cities of Mumbai and Mira Road-Bhayander. The "Vasai Road" Railway Station is the third last station on the Western Railway line (formerly the Bombay, Baroda & Central India Railways) in the direction of Virar Railway Station. Portuguese mariners exploring the north Konkan Coast, discovered the Arab Sultanate of Khambat or Cambay, building or renovating or expanding the fort in the early 1400s and attacked it in a failed effort to seize it. Later, after more systematic efforts, the Sultanate of Cambay ceded the fort to Portugal by the Treaty of Saint Matthew signed on the Portuguese brig Sao Matteus anchored in the Bhayander Creek or Vasai Harbor.

Under Portugal, the fort was the Northern Court or "Corte da Norte," second only to the City of Goa, functioning as the headquarters of the Captain of the North. As such it was the capital of Portuguese possessions on the coast north of Goa, over places such as Chaul-Revdanda, Karanja Island, the Bombay Archipelago, Bandra Island, Juhu Island, Salsette Island including the City of Thane, Dharavi Island, the Vasai archipelago itself, Daman, Diu, and other Portuguese holdings extending up the coasts uptil Pakistan, Oman, the UAE, Iran, and other parts of the Persian Gulf.

The ethnic community locally known in the Bombay region as the "East Indians" were called "Norteiro" (Northernmen) after the Court of the North functioning out of the fort.

In the 18th century, the fort was attacked by the Maratha army under Peshwa Baji Rao's brother Chimaji Appa, and fell in 1739 after a three-year-long campaign. The English shortly after took over the territory from the Marathas as the price for supporting one faction of the Marathas against another.

How to Reach :
One needs to take a Western Railways train bound to Virar from Churchgate and get off at Vasai Road. If someone is coming from the Central Railway or Central Railway Harbour Line then they have to switch to the Western Railway line at either Dadar, Bandra or Andheri. Another railway line connects the Central and the Western Railways lines from Vasai Road Railway Station to Diva, a stop just beyond Thane city on the Central Railway line, and long-distance passenger trains travelling this route also carry commuters between the two lines. A new railway station named Kopar has started which is between Diva and Dombivli. Passengers travelling from Thane or Kalyan can alight at Kopar and go top by staircase and at Platform No.3 they can catch the Diva to Vasai train. Vasai Road station is only one hour by train from Kopar station. Currently there are 5 trains daily which goes to Vasai Road from Dombivli, Diva and Panvel and 5 trains from Vasai Road to Diva and Panvel.There is a State Road Transport Bus Terminus & Station adjacent and to the immediate west of the Vasai Road Railway Station in Manickpur-Navghar. The destination for buses going to the Vasai fort is :Killa Bunder" or "Fort Jetty/Quay." There are buses every half hour. Ticket costs you Rs. 7.00 and you can get off at the last stop and walk around. Auto-Rickshaws are also available which can be hired from the western entrance to the Railway station but cost more per head and are unsafe in that they are usually congested.Auto Rickshaws are also available which can be hired from the main road outside the station but it would cost you around Rs.20.00 per head

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