My first reaction when I saw pictures of the Bassein fort online was ‘ Can this be real? ‘ All I had ever heard about the Bassein Fort ( aka Vasai Fort ) was that it was in shambles and was not a very safe place to explore . So I had never thought of making a trip down to Vasai until last Friday .
I still had a few reservations and decided to contact a fellow blogger Shahrukh from https://indiadestinationsblog.wordpress.com/ to allay my fears . With a few tips from him , I decided to go and look at the ruins myself .
Vasai has been renamed quite a few times with the Portuguese naming it Baçaim , the Marathas rechristening it as Bajipur and the British calling it Bassein. The name changing has finally been put to rest with the place now popularly known as ‘ Vasai’.
Vasai was an important trading centre due it is proximity to the Arabian sea , which explains the keen interest of the Portuguese in this area .
The Portuguese arrived here when Vasai was under the rule of Bahadur Shah , the Sultan of Gujarat . In 1534 , the Sultan ceded Bassein , along with other provinces , to the Portuguese and in 1739 the Portuguese were forced to leave Bassein when they surrendered to the Marathas .
Vasai had flourished under the Portuguese and earned the title ‘ Corte Do Norte ‘ ( Court of North) . The citadel and the churches within the rampart reflect the grandeur that this fortress once boasted of . Today , it is a forgotten bit of history , left to meet its own end .
There is no entrance fee and absolutely no information or sign board anywhere . The place attracts filmmakers and even on the day I visited it , one section was out of bounds as the crew of some daily soap was busy setting up their props and getting ready for a shoot.
I should have visited this place , so close to home ( about 55 km from where I live) , much earlier .Better late than never . For half a day I felt like I was transported to Goa and I think I found a place to lose myself in … whenever my Goan heart misses home !
— that mishmash ( special thanks to Shahrukh )