Visit Mahim Fort: The One That Is Encroached (2020)
The Mahim Fort is one of the seven forts in Mumbai. This fort is an urban fort and has several tourist spots around. Many history and architecture buffs make a beeline to Mahim fort because it one of the few forts that are accessible to the town crowd. If you intend to visit the Mahim fort, read this article to know what kind of experience you will have.
Historic Importance of Mahim Fort
The Mahim Fort overlooks the Worli Fort and the Bandra Fort on two sides, so it forms a trio of sorts. The Mahim fort has been the venue of many skirmishes between the Portuguese and the British in its time. Later, the British captured Mahim fort during the First Anglo-Maratha war. The Mahim Fort had quite some importance when Mumbai was just seven islands.
Structures Inside the Mahim Fort
The Mahim Fort is controversial because several people are living in the slums around the Mahim fort. Now, some people are living inside the Mahim fort as well. People living inside the fort in the Maharashtra area is not new, and nor are forts being used by the Government using forts for administrative purposes, but these are slums that are all around the fort.
But in the case of the Mahim fort, there is nothing left of the original structure, with people making makeshift homes within the fort. All that remains is the fortifications and the watch towers. Interestingly, a quick chat reveals that some of the families living in the Mahim fort have been doing it for ninety years.
The Mahim fort overlooks the beach, but even that does not exist in all its beauty. Meaning, you cannot walk on the beach as its mostly rocky and taken over by the shops to store their bamboos.
Tourist Experience of Mahim Fort
The tourist experience of Mahim Fort is an underwhelming one and it could even be shocking for someone who has never seen an encroached property. As written earlier, there is nothing here that remains of the original fort apart from the outer walls, which possibly created the scenario in which the property was encroached. So, tourists can strike this one off from their list of fort tourism in Mumbai.
The worse part though, is that the encroachers dissuade anyone from entering the fort, so tourists can never get to see the inside of the fort. This might also be because there are reports that the makeshift constructions in the fort are crumbling and it might all come down one day.
Places Near the Mahim Fort
The Mahim Fort is in the bang middle of the Mumbai city, so there are several places around that you can visit and spend some time in. If you are at the Mahim fort, you should take time out to visit the Mahim dargah. The dargah is extremely popular in Mumbai and found itself as a plot point in the Bollywood movie Singham.
Another place that you must visit is the Mahim Bamboo Market. This market is more than 150 years old and has risen from the ashes in the 90s. The market exclusively has Bamboo dealers, so it is interesting to wander through the market, look at the different people and explore a whole new way of making money and handling business. The Bamboo market distributes bamboos all over Maharashtra and then goes ahead towards Gujarat and Karnataka. You will be able to get a quick lesson in the types of bamboo and how they are used.
Another place to visit is the Mahim Khau Galli. The Khau Galli is the place to get some lip-smacking street food, something that the shops of Mumbai are famous for. You will get all the iconic dishes of Mumbai, right from the pav bhaji to the sandwich to the meat dishes that the Mumbai street food scene is famous for.
Mahim is also home to several churches, temples and mosques. The St. Michael’s Church is one of the oldest churches in Mumbai and a cultural and historical landmark. The Church is active, so you can hear mass whenever the mass proceedings are going on.
Mahim is also known to be too crowded for its own good, especially during the weekends. The best way to meander around Mahim during these days is a bike of your own.
Another place that you can visit is the Mahim Nature Park, popularly known as the MNP. This place is a photographer’s delight. You will see many photographers, both amateur and professionals, coming here in the early morning and afternoon to click butterflies, plants and animals. For nature lovers, the MNP is a must-visit because the place is well kept and offers the opportunity to spend a quiet afternoon or evening.
If you are in Mahim, you are not far from Bandra, the cultural and happening hub of Mumbai. Bandra is popular for the nightspots and it makes sense to chill out at one of those if you have come to the Mumbai and Mahim area for the weekend. Also, Bandra has a much more well-kept, accessible and popular fort, the Bandra Fort, which you can visit to get an idea of how the authorities can maintain an urban fort if they put their heart to it.
How to Reach Mahim Fort?
Mahim Fort is in Mumbai and therefore connected well to every other place in Maharashtra and beyond. To reach Mahim station, you will need to either travel by a local train or a bus that plies to Mahim. From Mahim station, you will take around eight minutes to walk to the Mahim fort.