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Monday, April 2, 2018

Bassein Fort aka Vasai Fort: Part 1

The heat in Mumbai was burning the city crazy 41 degree Celsius, so thinking of going for a trek was not a good idea, But a wanderer is a crazy soul so we find ways to hoodwink the obstacles and make ways to kill the monotony of the routine.

I find my succour at Vasai fort

Whenever I find nothing to do I simply go and visit the forts in Mumbai. So this time I thought I'll go to Vasai Fort. Nothing was planned I just packed my bag and took early 6 am train from Andheri to Vasai. It was 6.47 when I reached Vasai station and came out of the platform on to the West side.

Sun was just rising,
making my morning all the more beautiful

 There are lots of autoriskha which ply from Vasai railway station to Vasai fort. But then they cost you a bomb, 120 Rs and that too for a distance of  just 6-7 kms. I dropped the idea of taking auto and came little further out of the station and inquired about the buses going to the fort. Luckily the Bus stop is just 5 minutes walkable distance from the station. The bus arrived in 5 minutes bearing the board Killebunder on it.The bus ticket cost me only Rs 15. A bus ride of 20 minutes and I reached Vasai Fort. Meanwhile while travelling in the bus I called Femina who stays in Vasai  to join me if possible, to her credit she not only agreed but  reached the fort very quickly.

I got down at the Chimaji Appa Statue.

Statue of Chimaji Appa

Upon entering the premise you see a towering Statue of Chimaji Appa sitting on a horse which looks very imposing and awesome. 

Let me make you little wiser as to who was Chimaji Appa

"Shreemant Chimaji Ballal Peshwa (aka Chimaji Appa)(1707–1740) was the son of Balaji Vishwanath Bhat and the younger brother of Bajirao Peshwa of Maratha Empire. He was an able military commander who liberated the western coast of India from Portuguese rule. The high watermark of his career was the capture of Vasai fort from the Portuguese in a hard fought battle." 
(Source Wikepedia)

Look of the Statue from the entrance gate

Standing on this raised platform one can see the boundary wall of the Vasai fort at the far end. Nothing much more was to be seen here so I clicked few pictures and moved on.

At the jetty side of Vasai Fort

As I came out of this place I saw someone waving from the autoriksha, on closer look I realised it was Femina. She left the auto and from here both of us started to move towards the jetty or the sea side entrance of Vasai Fort.

One can see ruins of Vasai Fort church from the Jetty side

Vasai Fort had two entrances one was from the land side and other from the sea side.You can see ruins of one of the church from the jetty side. Talking about the pillars on top of St Joseph Church, one local fisherman folk had an interesting story to tell, according to him there is treasure in form of gold coins and jewels in that pillar and if anyone tries to rob it, that person gets bitten by the snake who guards it.( I love stories chaye kitni bhi sahi ya jhooti)­čśť­čśť­čśť

Is there a treasure waiting for me ?

We now started our journey of exploration of Vasai Fort aka Bassein Fort.

Bassein Fort / Vasai Fort / Ba├žaim Fort :
The name "Bassein" is the English version of the Portuguese "Ba├žaim" (with the "├ž" 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 S├úo Sebasti├úo de Ba├žaim" or the Fort of St. Sebastian of Vasai. The Vasai fort is a monument of national importance and is protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (Source Wikipedia)

As we walked from the Jetty we come across a huge Entrance gate of the fort. 

Entrance of the fort from sea side

What I found disturbing was to see how easily a small temple has crept up near the fort door and it clearly looks like new structure, so I am wondering what the ASI are doing ( Isaw one blog dated 2014 when this structure was been erected).

The entrance door was completely damaged and the iron embellishing it was completely rusted.

Rusted and damaged Entrance door of the fort
upon entering this entrance door we come across another door on the right, we walked through it and I saw a temple on my left and a little walk further we come across the St Joseph Church.

Lekin hum, hum hai ! 
Seedha Rasta humko dikhta kum hai ! 

It so happened that I saw a stone stairs going up on my left to the remnant wall. I quickly climb up because I wanted to have  a glimpse of the sea from top of it and I also wanted to take a top shot of the Church.
Locals call this kind of erratic behaviour as Khujli ­čśť

Top shot of Sea

Once I reached the top of the remnant wall I realised the meaning of term Kabab me haddi when I ruffled the feathers of a human lovebirds. Kamaal hai ek kona bhi nahi choda.

A traveler tip : Next time when you venture at such isolated place make enough noise that the lovebirds are forewarned and they untangle themselves from their compact compromising positions. ­čśť­čśť

Rows of boats saluting the sun

Leaving them on one side Femina and myself we both started to click pictures of the lovely sea with rows of boat standing as if saluting the morning sun. The chirping of the birds were loud and clear, the hum of the sea waves electrifying. One of the best mornings viewed by me.

Femina and Myself taking one deserving selfie

We left the cosy couple behind and started to walk along the narrow remnant wall parapet.This walkway was hardly 3 feet wide and bottom must be 20 feet so we had to be careful because as they say nazar hati durgatna ghati So please Don't risk it  and chup chap go from route going from below only.

Walking on this narrow path offered me a bird eye view of St Joseph Church from behind.

Back View of St Joseph Church
from top of Remnant Wall of  Vasai fort
As I was still on top of the remnant wall, I took the opportunity to click the exterior of St Joseph Church.

The blown away top of the church and those mystical towers were beckoning me to come and explore St Joseph Church. We quickly got down the next available stone stairs which was descending down though it was broken but we risked it.

All this running around up and down took the wind away from my lungs for a brief while, So Guys I felt I needed a break.

I need a break here

Talking of break, I am pausing here for while and I will soon come with next part of this blog.

So If you like to see churches of Portuguese times,bell towers,those swanky arches and Engraved grave stones on which the dancers danced to the tune of bollywood songs. 

Stay tuned second part coming very soon.


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