Vasai, a town in the Palghar district, lies a little more than 50 kilometres from Mumbai, a city known for its vibrant nightlife and hotels providing some of the best spa in Mumbai. A quaint town, Vasai has much to offer to the tourist like splendid beaches, aesthetically-designed temples and an abundance of natural beauty. But the main attraction of the place is the Vasai Fort, also known as the Bassein Fort.
Though today the fort lies in ruins, it was once the most opulent structure in the region. Throughout its glorious history, the fort witnessed numerous wars with rival kingdoms trying to establish their control over it. However, it rose to prominence in the 16th century when it passed into the hands of the Portuguese.
The territory of Bassein was under the control of Sultan Bahadur of Gujarat. In 1534 the Treaty of Bassein was signed between the Gujarat Sultanate and Portugal, giving the latter control over the territory. During the Portuguese rule, Bassein Fort developed into a thriving township comprising more than 3,000 residents along with a strong military presence. To provide a good lifestyle to the citizen the authorities built a church, a market, hospital, educational institutes and other infrastructure within the precincts of the township.
In the 18th century, the fort was overtaken by the Marathas following a war with the Portuguese. In 1818, The British gained control over the territory after decisively defeating the Marathas in the Third Anglo-Maratha War.
What to see
A visit to the fort would take you back to the glory days when it was an imposing structure. One of the best examples of Portuguese architecture are the three churches – Saint Joseph’s Church, the Holy Name of Jesus Church and the Franciscan Church of Saint Anthony. As you stroll towards the Land Gate you will come across the Victory Pole. When the Marathas wrested the fort from the Portuguese in 1739, they unfurled their flag on the pole as a sign of their victory. You can also catch a glimpse of the watch towers from where the Portuguese kept on eye on enemy movements.
How to reach Vasai Fort
Vasai is easily accessible from Mumbai. Trains operate between Churchgate and Virar Railway Station at regular intervals.
A number of autorickshaws and cabs are available at the Virar Railway Station, which is barely 20 minutes away from the fort.
The best time to travel
Though the fort can be visited any time of the year, but the best time is in the winters months as the temperature is quite cool.
The Vasai Fort is a perfect place to spend a day. It is also a few hours drive from Mumbai which is home to a number of five star hotels such as The LaLiT Mumbai, The Leela Mumbai, The Oberoi Mumbai, The Taj Mahal Tower Mumbai and others. Many of these hotels provides high-class amenities like spa packages in Mumbai. so, make your visit to Mumbai spectacular by spending a few hours at Vasai Fort.