The Portuguese established a fort in Bassein, present day Vasai, on the mainland just north of the Bombay archipelago. The fort was fronted by a harbour. With this as the main base, they built other smaller forts, and strong houses in many of the islands. In the 18th century the fort was attacked by the Maratha army under Baji Rao Peshwa, and fell in 1739 after a three year long campaign.
The remains of the fort can be reached by bus or taxi from the Vasai railway station. The ramparts overlook Vasai creek and are almost complete, though overgrown. Several watch-towers still stand, with safe staircases leading up.
[Image] The Portuguese buildings inside the fort are in ruins, although there are enough standing walls to give a good idea of the floor plans of these structures. Some have well-preserved facades. In particular, many of the arches have weathered the years remarkably well. They are usually decorated with carved stones, some weathered beyond recognition, others still displaying sharp chisel marks.
Three chapels inside the fort are still recognisable. They have facades typical of 17th century Portuguese churches. The southernmost of these has a well preserved barrel vaulted ceiling.
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