The East Indians of Vasai

Skipping top destinations to go local

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Portuguese inscriptions on the Vasai Fort wall

Travel is always associated with seeing places outside of your neighbourhood. Seeing the hills, valleys and sceneries that one must have seen only in wallpapers or pictures of economically comfortable friends and their Facebook albums.

I’ve often realised that aspiring travellers never look around them intently so as to recognise the true potential of exploring their surroundings – for example, age-old villages and communities. The distinct architectural style, language, food and festivals that they indulge in in their daily life.

I realised that I had hit bulls-eye only after I pondered on the subject. I happened to visit an East Indian house a few weeks back in Vasai in Mumbai. Now brick and concrete, Mrs. Faroz who has been staying with her family for the past three decades spoke about Vasai during the time of the Portuguese. What’s different you ask? Everything.

She spoke about houses from the very same village made of thatched roofs and high ceilings. People were converted by just dropping bread into their water source (usually wells) they drank from.

Also Read: 7 Places To Visit While You’re In Chennai¬†

It is after this rapid conversion that surnames in the locality in the western and southern part of Vasai changed to Menezes, Lopes, Almeida and Gonsalves. She went on to further add that their food is mainly fish curry which they eat with red rice. The making of their popular bottle masala has also undergone change; while earlier her ancestors ground the masala themselves, today they give it to the local grinder due to the lack of time.

Vasai has undergone major development in the last 10 years but the villages have remained the same. One can see the difference when they enter the narrow by-lanes which endlessly lead you from one village to another and past the facade.

A weekend trip can always be made to Vasai for people who are interested in history and like to travel. While the Tungareshwar waterfalls are a popular tourist attraction, the East Indian villages of Vasai are waiting to be explored.

Mode of Transport: A cycle is the best way to travel through the villages in Vasai.




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