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About Ghodbunder Fort (Mumbai)

Ghodbunder Fort is a fort located in Ghodbunder Village, Thane, Maharashtra, India, on the hill just south of the Ulhas River. It was built by the Portuguese, occupied by the Maratha Empire, and became the East India Company's district headquarters. The place was called as Ghodbunder because in was where the Portuguese used to trade for ghode (horses) with the Arabs. Hence the name Ghodbunder: ghode (horses) & bunder (port).

In 1530 the Portuguese came to Thane, and they began fortifying the hill area about 1550, but completion of the fort in its current form was in 1730. The Portuguese name for the fort was Cacabe de Tanna. It was under Portuguese rule until 1737. The Portuguese built a church in the fort that still stands, and is now used as a hotel. Two angels engraved on the inside wall of the church still remains. The old church can be seen clearly in the background of the courtyard photo.

There are many old maps and texts which mention continual attempts by the Marathas to capture this fort. The Portuguese were able to defend Ghodbunder Fort from these attacks successfully for many years, including the attack in 1672 by the forces of Shivaji. However, the Marathas under Chimnaji Appa successfully besieged the fort and took it over from the Portuguese in 1737. Following its capture, Sambhaji ordered the strengthening of the fortifications, initiating the construction of the tower.

In 1818, the British occupied the fort and made it the headquarters of the district administration for the East Indian Company, with a district collector stationed in Thane.


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