Sitting right in front of the Mahin Bay, the Mahin fort in Mumbai has been weathering time like no other monument in the city. Though declared a grade-1 monument, the Mahim Fort has long been neglected by authorities and encroached by slums while it braves the heavy tides and their lashes.
Mahin Fort may look like an ancient ruin of bricks and stones today but it was once a powerful fort, a watchtower which saw many battles and protected the bay against several enemies.
Military, might and battles
Mahim Fort was built a long time ago and the origin of the fort are still unclear. However, it is believed that the fort was built even before the 1500s by Portuguese in order to guard the Mahim Bay. The Mahim Fort along with the Bandra and Worli Fort were built in order to guard and protect the Mahim Bay, keeping a watch on the bay from three corners of the island.
The fort has seen several battles, the earliest of these was recorded in 1534 when the Portuguese took Mahim from Ali Shah, a Gujarati ruler. The fort was then given to the British as a dowry in 1661. The fort was soon after attacked by the Portuguese in 1772 in an attempt to appropriate it back from the British, however, the battle didn't prove to be fruitful for the Portuguese as the British rained the army with cannonballs.
The present situation
Though once the Mahim Fort stood as a formidable watchtower, today it lies in ruins, neglected by the civic bodies and encroached by slum dwellers. The fort has been changed into a group of shanties that have turned the fort into an uncouth pile of stones which lie in a horribly dirty state.
Mahim Fort is a reminder of what neglect and inaction can do to a fort that has been braving tides and time for centuries. Even in its state of ruin the fort gazes at Mahim, fulfilling its destiny to protect the bay from imminent danger.