Fort Bassein, known also as Fort Vasai, is a ruined Portuguese fort located in the Maharashtra State in the western part of India. It was built during the 16th century, and remained in the hands of the Portuguese for about two centuries, during which it prospered and flourished. During the 18th century, the fort was captured by the Marathas, and then captured by the British several decades later. During its occupation by the Marathas and the British, Fort Bassein was neglected, and did not retain the status it once had under Portuguese rule. Today, the fort lies in ruins, though it is a tourist spot, and is also said to be a favorite location of Bollywood filmmakers.
Bassein / Vasai is situated about 48 km (29 miles) to the north of Mumbai, the capital of the Maharashtra State. The city is located on the north bank of the Ulhas River, and is bordered by the Vaitarna River to its north. To the west of the city is the Arabian Sea. As Bassein is bordered by three bodies of water, it was an easily defended site. Prior to the coming of the Portuguese, this area was under the rule of various dynasties, including the Satavahanas, Rashtrakutas, Shilaharas, Yadavas of Devgiri, and the sultans of Gujarat. Bassein was clearly an important city, as it acquired its wealth from such activities as the horse trading, fishing and stone quarrying. Furthermore, the city was in the center of an agriculturally productive district.
Panoramic view from inside one of the buildings (CC BY-SA 4.0)
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