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Vasai

The greener side of Mumbai

VasaiBeachesSoparaVajreshwariThe fort of VasaiArnala FortAgashi Jain TempleChinchoti Water falls
  • General Information

    District: Thane, State: Maharashtra, India
    Area: 302 Square Miles
    Languages Spoken: Marathi, Konkani, English and Hindi.
    Long Distance Code: +91-2523
    Importance:
    Best Time to Visit: September to March
  • Description

    Vasai is small Goa near Mumbai. With Christian and Konkani settlements, and abundance in natural surrounding, the small town of Vasai has always attracted visitors form all over India. Its mystic history of being an important port of the Portuguese has given it a strong Portuguese colony impression. Despite being so near to Mumbai it always remained with the Portuguese, who ruled here for 200 years. <br />It was part of the territory of the Hindu Devagiri Yadavas until 1317A.D. and later it became a seaport for the Gujarat Muslim kings. By 1525 the Portuguese captured it and the town became known for its ship building industry. After frequent but unsuccessful attacks by the Mughals in the 17th century, it fell to the Marathas in 1739 and was later taken by the British.<br />While Vasai was being passed on to many rulers treaties were signed which became known as the treaties of Vasai. Vasai during the Portuguese period was known for the refinement and wealth and splendor of its buildings, palaces and for the beauty of its churches. After 205 years of uninterrupted Portuguese rule, Bassein was progressively neglected, and the neighboring English Bombay assumed importance in trade and commerce. The word Vasai has been derived from the Sanskrit root 'Vas' which means 'to dwell". This was the original name of this place, Vasai. The Portuguese formerly called it Bassein (Ba├žaim) and then by the British, it also had various other names during the course of history. Another thing that makes Vasai a place of special significance is its self-sufficiency. Food products like fresh green leafy vegetables, juicy fruits, fish, milk, etc. are available in abundance.<br />
  • Location

    Vasai is located about 50-km North of Mumbai. Vasai starts from river Ulhas on the South and ends with Vaitarna river in the North. On the Eastern side is Tungareshwar, Vajreshwari, the hilly tracks of Wada and Bhiwandi towns and on the West is the Arabian sea. Thus Vasai combines climates of mountain tracks, shore-land, humidity and heavy rains. Its average rainfall is 80 inches.
BeachesBeing an extension of an island like Mumbai, Vasai too has vast coast line with serene beaches like the Kelva and the Mahim beaches. The beaches have not been commercialized as that of Mumbai. The fishing villages based on the seashores add to the natural beauty of the shores. The non commercialization of these beaches makes them a best relaxing spot, though near Mumbai, away from the maddening crowd of Mumbai.
SoparaThe nearby town of Sopara, now well known as Nala Sopara, is famous from the ancient days as a place called Shurparaka. The ancient history states that the Pandavas had stayed in Shurparak. Historians believe that the Indian city Sophir mentioned in the Greek history must be Sopara. . It has history dating back to 2500 B.C. Sopara also had trade links with many countries like Egypt, Babylon etc. It is said that Buddhists were present in this place in 3rd B.C. In 1882 an "Ashokan Stupa" was found in Sopara. The island of Salsette mentioned in the Portuguese history was near this place.
VajreshwariVajreshwari is a small village about 31-km from Vasai, is famous for its ancient temple and the hot water springs. The temple dedicated to goddess Vajreshwari, was built by the younger brother of Bajirao Peshwa after the victory over the Vasai Fort. This temple looks like an ancient fort with an impressive idol of the goddess, which is being worshipped for last few centuries. The temple was built besides the Mandakini Mountain, which is the result of a volcanic eruption. No wonder that some of the hot water springs here are considered to be the hottest in Asia.
The fort of VasaiThe fort, built by the Portuguese although stands in ruins today, tell the tale of the Portuguese rule over this small sleepy town. The ramparts overlook Vasai creek and are almost complete, though overgrown. Several watch-towers still stand, with safe staircases leading up. The Portuguese buildings inside the fort are in ruins, although some have well-preserved facades. Many arches still stand, decorated with carved stones. Three chapels inside the fort are still recognizable. They have facades typical of 17th century Portuguese churches. The southernmost of these has a well preserved barrel vaulted ceiling.
Arnala FortThe Arnala fort also built by the Portuguese is known as the Jaldurg or the water fort. It is build 8 km inside the sea from the mainland of Vasai.
Agashi Jain TempleThis 400 year old Jain temple is dedicated to the Jain Tirthankar, Parshwanath. Every year during the full moon day in the month of October -November, there is a huge fair at this place.
Chinchoti Water fallsA great picnic spot for the people of Mumbai on the week ends. This water fall situated amidst deep jungles flows continuously from June to October. It is 100 feet tall and 20 feet wide. The surroundings and the rains with the water fall make it one of the best picnic spots.

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