Where there was trade, there were Portuguese traders. And so, in the 14th century, they found India. Other Europeans followed soon and so began the colonisation of India.
As the midpoint of the Indo-western coastline, Mumbai became an important trade centre, which led to numerous conflicts. In order to defend their colony, the Portuguese and English built a series of forts lining the Mumbai coastline with each fort reciting a story of its own.
The Bandra Fort, also known as Castella de Aguada was built by the Portuguese as a watchtower overlooking the Mahim Bay, the Arabian Sea, and the southern island of Mahim. The Portuguese called it Castelo de Aguada but Castelo was misspelled some time during the last 600 years and the fort is called Castella de Aguada today. The term ‘Aguada’ means fountain, which implies fresh water was available near the fort for Portuguese ships cruising the coasts.
In the early 18th century, after the decline of the Portuguese, the Marathas became a threat to the British who ruled Bombay then. As a prudent measure, the British partially demolished the Bandra fort, averting any possibility of the fort being captured and used as a military base to attack British Bombay.
Today, not much of the actual fort remains. What you see is the renovated fort from the efforts of a conservation program in 2003, which was initiated by the Bandra Band Stand Residents’ Trust to save the fort. This effort was spearheaded by Shabana Azmi, a local Member of Parliament, who funded part of the effort from her allotted funds.
More than the Fort, the view of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link from the fort is what attracts most people here. Featured in many films as a lover’s spot or as a hangout spot for the youth, or even an agency’s secret meeting point, Bandra Fort is popular in real life too amongst family, friends, couples and others who enjoy the sea breeze and the view.
Located at Land’s end in Bandra, popularly known as the Queen of the Suburbs, the Bandra Fort is a relaxed, friendly and informal place. If you’re into Bollywood, we also feature a HopOn Bollywood walk along the Bandra Promenade that begins from the fort and ends at Mount Mary Church. While you’re here, don’t skip the real life residences of two of Bollywood’s biggest stars: Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan.