Versova, Mumbai

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Versova

वेसावे
Versova beach
Versova beach
Versova is located in Mumbai
Versova
Versova
Location in Mumbai, India
Coordinates: 19°07′N 72°49′E / 19.12°N 72.82°E / 19.12; 72.82Coordinates: 19°07′N 72°49′E / 19.12°N 72.82°E / 19.12; 72.82
Country India
StateMaharashtra
DistrictMumbai Suburban
MetroMumbai
Languages
 • OfficialMarathi
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)

Versova is an upmarket neighbourhood in the north western Mumbai. It is known for its beach and the Versova Fort. It was part of Portuguese India, which was part of the Portuguese Empire, until 1739, when the Portuguese lost this part of their empire to the Maratha Empire.[1] The beach of Versova recently undertook a massive clean-up effort, labelled as the largest ever beach clean-up.[2]

History[edit]

Versova is originally a small fishing village of the Kolis, situated to the north of the old Mumbai city.[3]

Britishers used to call this vis-a-vis and locals gave it the name Visava.

The original name of the village is "Visava", which derives from the Marathi word for "rest" (as in resting place). In 1694, a fleet of Arabs from Muscat landed in Versova and massacred every person they could find in the village.[3] The village is mentioned in the writings of Gemelli Careri in 1695.

Versova came under the Portuguese rule in the medieval period. The Portuguese constructed the Our Lady of Health Church in Versova, and a number of Kolis converted to Christianity during this period. By 1720, it had emerged as a small town, with a small fort and a growing trade in dry fish. In 1739, the Portuguese lost the area to the Marathas, who strengthened the fort. A British force led by Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Keating defeated the Marathas in 1774.[3]

In 1800, the British established a training facility for artillery and engineering cadets. However, the facility was moved to the old Bombay city after a fever epidemic affected nearly all the cadets, and killed many of them. The military establishment was completely removed in 1818.[3] In 1875-86, the exports from the trade amounted to GB£34,403 and the imports in 1876-77 were worth GB£14,784.[3]

Environmental Clean-up Efforts[edit]

By 2015 Versova beach had become choked with up to 5.5 feet of rotting refuse and trash - most of it plastic.[4]

In October 2015 Afroz Shah, a young lawyer and environmentalist in Mumbai moved into the area and along with Harbansh Mathur, an 84-year-old who has since passed away, began efforts to clean up the beach. Eventually Shah started a volunteer organization, Versova Residents Volunteers, and encouraged volunteers to show up for weekly "dates with the ocean" - so called because of how arduous the work was.[5] Each Sunday the volunteers would gather to remove as much trash as possible. Over the course of 21 months, volunteers removed close to 11,684,500 pounds of trash, most of it plastic.[6]

The volunteers also cleaned up 52 public toilets and planted over 50 coconut trees.[6]

In 2016, Shah was honored with the "Champion of the Earth" award by the United Nations Environment Programme in recognition of his vision and hard work.[5]

In early 2018, Olive Ridley sea turtles returned to the beach for the first time in 20 years to nest and hatchlings were observed heading toward the sea on March 22, 2018.[7]

Versova Mangroves[edit]

The shores of the Versova creek area is surrounded by flourished Mangroves which supports different kinds of organisms especially Molluscs, Crabs and fishes.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Location of Vesava - Falling Rain Genomics
  2. ^ "UN award to Mumbai lawyer for largest beach clean-up". Hindustan Times. 2016-12-04. Retrieved 2018-07-08.
  3. ^ a b c d e Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency: Tha'na: places of interest. Government Central Press. 1882. pp. 379–380. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
  4. ^ CNN, Medhavi Arora,. "From filthy to fabulous: Mumbai beach undergoes dramatic makeover". CNN. Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  5. ^ a b "Afroz Shah | Champions of the Earth". web.unep.org. Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  6. ^ a b "World's Largest Beach Clean-Up: Trash-Ridden to Pristine in 2 Years". EcoWatch. 2017-05-27. Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  7. ^ "Sea turtles return to Mumbai beach after 20-year absence". MNN - Mother Nature Network. Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  8. ^ G. Kantharajan, P.K. Pandey, P. Krishnan, V. Deepak Samuel, V.S. Bharti, R. Purvaja, Molluscan diversity in the mangrove ecosystem of Mumbai, west coast of India, In Regional Studies in Marine Science, Volume 14, 2017, Pages 102-111, ISSN 2352-4855, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rsma.2017.06.002.