Bassein Fort

Vasai Fort City Heritage Walk

Events

When: Sunday, 2nd October 2016

Time: 09:30 AM to 12:30 PM

RSVPVasai Fort City Heritage Walk Facebook Event

Details

An Half day event were, Group interested in Numismatics, Archaeology and History will walk around talking about stories related to the History of Vasai Fort. Pascal Roque Lopes who is a Masters in Numismatics & Archaeology and Researches around the Indo – Portuguese Maratha History will lead the group.

Pascal will guide the walk has his Articles on the Vasai Fort published in Maharashtra Unlimited which is a Maharashtra Tourism Department Magazine. And has conducted this event For Global and Local participants.

Review for the Fort Visit can also be read at About India Travel site Go India Vasai Fort Tour

More details are available on Window Of History

Vasai was initially occupied by the Bongle Raja in 1414 and then by the Bhadur Shah of Gujrat in 1530. Vasai fort city built by the Portuguese occupies 110 archers excluding villages around, in the 16th century there were 2400 soldiers, 300
Horses and 3000 residents, Knights, members of the Royal Family and artisans in the fort city. City because it has a church, hotel, hospital, granary, collage, chapel, library, Municipality, Townhall, Market, The increased trade and monetisation resulted in opening of a coin mint, literature was written in dnyaneshwari Marathi, it had an orphanage, a common bath pool, a court and Jail. International travellers got attracted and were able to travel to the sea port. Saint Francis Xavier whose body is in the Bom Jesus church’s in Goa visited the Vasai City Trice. It was finally take over by the Marathas in 1739. Later by the British after signing a treaty in 1802. ASI took control of the Monument using the Ancient Monument and Preservation Act, 1904.

Schedule

  1. We will gather and assemble at the Vasai Fort , Near the Chimaji Appa statue 9 am to 9:15 am
  2. We will try to do a quick round up of one line to introduce yourself typically Name, Profession and why you are interested in the fort.
  3. Will introduce myself Pascal Lopes; explain the usage of the document we will use across the walk. And how you can use it for a self tour later.
  4. We will Target to begin the walk at 9:45 am
  5. We can take a Snacks / Tea break around 10:45
  6. Continue with the walk
  7. Wrap-up and closure 12:30 , with a buffer of 30 mins so Max 1:00 pm

Things good to have and wear

  1. Preferred a comfortable T-shirt , Sports Shoes, Tracks or comforting jeans
    ** That’s preferred for your comfort, you can come in whatever you are comfortable with
  2. Cap is a must. Sunglass if they help you
  3. Bottle of water ensure it does not make you feel loaded to carry around, sipping from a Half Liter bottle works.
  4. Sandwiches, and Snacks to ensure you don’t feel hungry, please maintain cleanliness.
  5. Torch sometimes needed, even the mobile torch works.
  6. In case you plan to write a page and pen
  7. Camera if Photography is your interest
    1. If you post photos on Face Book clearly mention if you don’t want other to use it, specify the copyright there. Most preferred if you don’t want people to use it put a copyright on the snap itself, so when they share you get the credit.
    2. If you are using photographs clicked by other person most appropriate directly share it, or ensure proper credit is given. Please don’t crop and use the photographs.
  8. A document related to the fort will be provided for your reference.
    The Heritage walk is a Service and no charges are taken it is to promote the Interest in the Vasai Fort.

Mode to Travel

  • If you are driving take the Western Express Highway diverge at the Vasai and follow the direction for the fort, Its Vasai West , in Vasai Gaon , Killabandar.
  • If you are taking train Vasai comes after Borivali, Dahisar, Mira Road, Bhayandar, Cross the Vasai Creek Bridge (See if you can spot the fort), Naigaon, Vasai Road Station
  • Get down near the bus depot
  • You can see Yellow colored Vasai Virar Mahanagarpalika buses take one coming to Killabandar
  • You can also take a Rikshaw everyone knows Vasai fort.

Church Bells of Bassein Fort

History

There were seven churches in Bassein Fort: 2 were managed by the secular clergy and the remaining 5 were managed by the religious Orders of the Franciscans, Dominicans, Augustinians, Jesuits and Knights Hospitaller.

On 23 May 1739, one week later, after the Treaty of Bassein was signed between the Portuguese & Marathas, the Portuguese garrison of some 300 soldiers walked out with full military honours as one of the conditions mentioned in the treaty and the Marathas took control of the Bassein fort.

The Marathas then removed the 6 church bells from the churches in Bassein Fort, which were then carried off on elephant backs as victory souvenirs by the Maratha sardars to their home towns at various places in Maharashtra.

Of the 7 church bells from Bassein Fort, 6 are found today in Hindu temples and the remaining 1 is in the Catholic church at Bombay.

Number of bells in the Vasai fort are unknown but we can estimate by the number of churches in the fort. One such Bell was carried to and located at Naroshankar Temple on the banks of Godavari river in Nasik, Panchavati area. The other church bell is located at Bhimashankar Temple is located in the village of Bhorgiri 50 km north west of Khed.  Third bell is located at Meneshwar temple in Menavali near Panchgani. This bell weighs six hundred and fifty kilograms. The date on the bell shows the year 1707 and has five-alloy bell bears a bas-relief of Mary carrying the infant Jesus Christ cast into it. Fourth church bell is located at Durga Devi temple, Murud.

Naroshankarachi Ghanta

First Church bell at Naroshankar temple and is so called “Naroshankarachi Ghanta”. The bell was looted in 1739 from Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church, Mt. Poinsur by the Marathas. It is 2.5-ft high and 10.25ft in circumference.

Naroshankar Ghanta(Bell) - Nasik

Bhimashankar Temple

Second Church bell is located at Bhimashankar Temple is located in the village of Bhorgiri, near Khed. Notice 1729, the year when the bell was cast and cross and image of Jesus on the face of the bell. It is written on the supporting structure that the bell was brought to this temple in 1729, which is incorrect. The bell was brought more that 10 years later, after Portuguese were defeated in Vasai.

Church Bell – in Bhimashankar Temple
Church Bell – in Bhimashankar Temple

Meneshwar temple

Church Bell from Bassein Fort (with the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary and child Jesus), now at Meneswar temple in Menavali, near Panchgani. The bell house of the Meneshwar temple houses a six hundred and fifty kilogram bell. This bell was captured by Bajirao-1’s brother Chimaji Appa, from a cathedral in the Portuguese fort at Bassein. Dated 1707, the five-alloy bell bears a bas-relief of Mary carrying the infant Jesus Christ cast into it.

Church Bell in Meneshwar temple, Menavali
Church Bell in Meneshwar temple, Menavali
Church Bell close-up showing Mary with Jesus, Meneshwar temple, Menavali
Church Bell close-up showing Mary with Jesus, Meneshwar temple, Menavali

Durga Devi temple

Fourth church bell from Vasai/Bessein fort is located at Durga Devi temple, Murud.

Church bell from Vasai fort at Durga Devi temple, Murud
Church bell from Vasai fort at Durga Devi temple, Murud
Church bell on left in Durga devi temple, Murud.
Church bell on left in Durga devi temple, Murud.

Baneshwar temple

Fifth church bell from Vasai/Bessein fort is located at Baneshwar temple in Pune. The temple hosts an important bell which was captured by Chimaji Appa after defeating the Portuguese in the battle of Bassien in 1739. The bell has the year 1683 and a Cross on it, which depicts that the bell belonged to a church and was transported as a token of victory. (source)

Church Bell at Baneshwar temple, Pune
Church Bell at Baneshwar temple, Pune

Loni Bhapkar

Sixth church bell from Vasai/Bassein fort is located at Loni Bhapkar in Baramati Tehsil of Pune District.

Church bell at Loni Bhapkar Temple
Church bell at Loni Bhapkar Temple

 St. Francis Xavier Church, Dabul

The Seventh church bell from Bassein fort which is now at St. Francis Xavier Church at Dabul in Bombay, once upon a time belonged to the church of St Joseph (Chakri Jena) in Bassein fort. It was given to the British by the Portuguese in exchange for gunpowder during the siege of Bassein Fort by the Marathas.

The British then strung up this bell at St Thomas Cathedral at fort near Churchgate Railway Station.

In 1869, it was handed over to the Bombay Arsenal where it bided its time before the Portuguese Vicar-General of Daman requested that it be returned, hence the British Governor of Bombay handed it over as a gift to St. Francis Xavier Church at Dabul. And that’s how a 146-year-old church in Bombay ended up with a 342-year-old bell.
(If you want to visit this church, you have to get down at the eastern side of Charni Road or Marine Lines Railway stations and ask for the land mark Thakurdwar, there ask for St. Francis Xavier Church)

TIMES OF INDIA article in the year 1918 explains that the huge bell hanging in the belfry once belonged to the church of St Joseph in Bassein fort, and according to the inscription on it the bell was cast in AD 1674 by Hiram Tavarres Bocarro,

A beautiful prayer in Latin is inscribed on this church bell. The English translation is: “O who could give to me that I may die for Thee, so that all nations may know Thee

Mid-Day did an article based on the book by Fr. Francis Correia – Mumbai group turned sleuths to find missing bells from abandoned Portuguese churches

Restoration work ruining Vasai fort, says activist

News

Historic inscriptions on the 500-year-old Portuguese fort at Vasai are being damaged due to the Archaeological Survey of India’s (ASI) wrong conservation practices, local residents have alleged.

“The ASI’s restoration project is damaging the fort. The ancient inscriptions on the premises of the fort have almost been buried under sand and cement,” said Sridutta Raut, a member of Kille Vasai Mohim, an amateur local history group that looks after the fort.

The fort is being plastered and it looks like it is not being restored but renovated.”

The government has plans to convert the coastal fort, built by the Portuguese, into a major heritage site and tourist attraction. Raut, however, said that locals were not taken into confidence when the ASI began restoration work on the fort.

The ASI’s Mumbai Circle Superintending Archaeologist M.S. Chauhan said he had received some complaints about the Vasai fort project and promised he would to look into them.

“The fort was built around the 16th century by the Portuguese and the inscriptions on its premises are an important evidence of history,” Thane historian Sadashiv Tetwilkar, who has written a book on various forts in the district. “There are certain standard international practices that need to be followed during any conservation project,” conservation architect Vikas Dilawari said. “One will have to check if the ASI has followed all of them or not.”

This post originally appeared in the Monday, 28th June 2010 edition of Hindustan Times