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  • Writer's pictureAjaz Shaikh

Bassein Fort - A City Within A Fort

About 60 kilometres (37 miles) north of Mumbai in Maharashtra, the nostalgic ruins of Vasai Fort tell the tale of what was the headquarters of prosperous Portuguese rule in the 16th and 17th centuries. More than just a fort, Vasai Fort was once a living city that was, astonishingly, of greater size and importance than Mumbai (Bombay).

The fort is also a popular shooting location for Bollywood movies and songs. The famous films shot here are Bollywood hit song ″Kambakkht Ishq″ from Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya. Movies such as Josh, starring Shah Rukh Khan, and Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega have a number of scenes from the fort. Other films shot here include Khamoshi and Ram Gopal Verma's Aag. The fort was also one of the shooting locations for the international hit song 'Hymn for the Weekend' by British band Coldplay.

The fort showcased at the start and in between is the Bassein Fort. The video features Beyonce and Indian actress Sonam Kapoor. The video has over 1.1 billion views on YouTube as of May 2019, becoming the second most-viewed music video for Coldplay (after "Something Just Like This"). The fort is free to enter.


The Bassein or Vasai Fort was built by the Portuguese in the North West Coast of India for early 300 years. The Citadel of Saint or the Bale Killa is the fort within the fort and was build by Portuguese to protect the province in 1535. Surrounded on three sides by sea (The Ulhas River, Vaitarna River and The Arabian Sea) and only accessible by land on one side, Vasai Fort proved tough to conquer. The Marathas took control of the fort in 1736 under the leadership of Chimaji Appa, younger brother of the famous Maratha Empire builder Peshwa Baji Rao. (Courtesy: Author Pascal Roque Lopes)

Some Tips:

  • Visiting Time: This fort is pretty much open throughout the day inviting the wanderers whenever they feel like getting a breath of fresh air and a beautiful view.

  • Unfortunately, the Archaeological Survey of India hasn't put up any signs, so there's no information about the monuments in the fort. Do be aware that there are no tourist facilities such as food or water inside the fort.

  • There is a beach almost adjacent to the fort. Make sure to take a walk on the shore for a while after your historic and architectural visit here.

  • Wear a cap or put some sun protection cream to save your skin from sun damage.

  • There are a lot of foreign travellers around the place especially European.


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