Built by the Portuguese in 1640 as a watchtower overlooking Mahim Bay, the Arabian Sea and the southern island of Mahim, Castella de Aguada is a fort seated at the land's end in Bandra. The fort lies at an altitude of 24 metres from sea level, providing a panoramic view of its surroundings. Interestingly, the name 'Aguada' comes from a freshwater spring in the vicinity, that supplied potable water to passing ships during the initial Portuguese period.
A symbol of colonial history, the Forte de Bandorá
After defeating Bahadur Shah in 1534, the Portuguese effectively gained control over Gujrat and most of the Indian west coast, including the trade routes. In an attempt to solidify their victory, they built a handful of forts along the coast including Castella de Aguada. Later, the geographic location proved to be a strategic point of importance.
During the Portuguese rule, this fort was armed with seven cannons and other smaller guns as a measure of defence. As the British came into power and foresaw the Portuguese losing to the Marathas, they became precautious about it. Thereby, they chose to destroy some portion of the Bandra Fort, etching a different history for this edifice.
Focused efforst to revive the lost glory of the fort
The Bandra Band Stand's Residents' Trust initiated a conservation program in the year 2000 to conserve the fort and save it from further damage. Shabana Azmi, the then member of parliament from the constituency, helped by leading the entire program. During this initiative, one of the arches and some walls were repaired with the help of funds allocated by her.
Though the Taj Land's End Hotel is handling the renovations currently, the ownership of the fort and its land solely belongs to the Archeological Survey of India. Mr. P. K. Das redesigned the fort along with various repairs and conservative measures. Under this program, natural rock formations were preserved and an amphitheatre has been built on the site.
A soulful setting for many Bollywood movies!
This picturesque locale is a popular tourist destination, mostly due to the Bollywood screen time that it has managed to get. Over the years, this fort has become a favourite spot amongst Indian and foreign filmmakers. Famous movies like Dil Chahta Hai, Jane Tu Ya Jane Na, Wanted, Talaash, Ashiqui 2 and others have been shot at this historic landmark in Mumbai.
Among the endless array of tourist places in Mumbai, this fort occupies a special significance amongst the locals and the tourists alike. Walk along the site with your bae or spend some solo time in the serenity of this historic piece of architecture and you will surely not regret it. Do not forget to follow the COVID protocols before you plan your visit to the fort.
Location: Byramji Jeejeebhoy Road, Bandstand Road, Mumbai
Timing: 6 AM to 6:30 PM