Salsette Island Tourism


Salsette Island is included in Maharashtra state and lies on the western coast of India. The metropolis of Mumbai and the city of Thane lie on Salsette Island, making it the 14th most populous island in the world.

The present Salsette Island was formerly made up of several smaller islands, which were combined together during the 19th and early 20th centuries to form a single island. It is surrounded on the north by Vasai Creek, on the northeast by the Ulhas River, on the east by Thane Creek and Bombay Harbour, and on the south and west by the Arabian Sea. The city of Mumbai lies on a peninsula on the southern end of the Salsette Island, and Mumbai`s outskirts cover much of the remainder of the island. The Salsette Island contains Borivali National Park, also known as Sanjay Gandhi National Park. The city of Thane lies at the island`s northeastern corner, on Thane Creek. The coordinates of Salsette Island are approximately 20° N and 72° E. Politically, most of the island falls into the municipality of Mumbai. The municipality is divided into two separate districts, Mumbai City and Mumbai Suburbs. The northern portion of the Salsette Island lies within Thane District, which extends across Vasai and Thane creeks onto the mainland.

The present day Salsette Island was formerly several separate islands. Most of the northern and middle part of the present island were part of historic areas, while the southern part of the island, which includes Mumbai City, was originally seven small islands like Mahim, Bombay, Parel, Mazagaon, Colaba, Little Colaba, and Sion, extending south from Salsette Island. The island of Trombay lay to the southeast of the Buddhist caves, including those at Kanheri, can be found on the island, and date from the end of the 2nd century.

The Salsette Island was ruled by a succession of Hindu kingdoms, the last of which to rule the islands were the Silharas. In 1343 the Muslim Sultanate of Gujarat annexed the islands. In 1534 the Portuguese took the islands from Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat. Sashti was part of the northern province of Portuguese India, which was presided over from Baçaím (present-day Vasai) on the north shore of Vasai Creek. In 1661 the seven Bombay islets were invaded to Britain as part of the dowry of Catherine of Bragança to King Charles II of England. Salsette Island remained in Portuguese hands. King Charles in turn leased the Bombay islets to the British East India Company in 1668 for £10 per year.

In 1737, the Marathas captured Salsette Island, and most of the Portuguese northern province was given to the Marathas in 1739. The British occupied Salsette Island in 1774, which was formally ceded to the East India Company in the 1782 Treaty of Salbai.

In 1782 William Hornby, then Governor of Bombay Presidency, initiated the project of connecting the isles. The Hornby Vellard was the first of the engineering projects that was started in 1784, despite opposition from the directors of the East India Company. The cost of the vellard was estimated to be at Rs. 100,000. The project gained momentum in 1817, and by 1845 the seven southern islands had been connected to form Old Bombay, with an area of 435 km². Railway viaducts and road bridges were built in the 19th century to connect Bombay Island to Salsette Island, and Salsette Island to the mainland. These railway lines encouraged wealthier merchants to build villas on Salsette Island, and by 1901 the population of this Island was 146,993, and became known as Greater Bombay. The channels separating Bombay and Trombay islands from Salsette Island were filled in the early 20th century.

Sanjay Gandhi National ParkCertain parts of the Salsette Island are hilly, although many of the hills were cut down and used, to enlarge the island by filling in the shallows and to connect the islands to one another. The highest point on the Salsette Island is around 450 metres in the Borivalli National Park, in the northern reaches of the island. This National Park is the biggest in the entire world within city limits. The Salsette Island is located at the convergence point of a number of fault lines. This makes the area earthquake prone, up to a magnitude of 6. The island is mostly made up of black basalt rock. Since it is along the seacoast, Salsette Island also has a sandy belt on its western coast. The southern region of Old Bombay is mostly at sea level. However, the parts of Salsette Island, which were erstwhile shallows, are below sea level. Laterite soil and rocks at a point on this Salsette Island also occurs.

Other natural formations of Salsette Island are three major lakes on the island Powai Lake, Tulsi Lake and Vihar Lake. The latter two lakes supply part of the city`s water requirements. Numerous other smaller ponds and lakes are also present in the Thane region. The celebrated Indian Institute of Technology Bombay lies on the shores of the Powai Lake. There are three small rivers on Salsette Island, namely the Mithi (Mahim), Oshiwara and Dahisar that originate within the National Park, and empties into the Arabian Sea. The Mithi River starts from the Powai Lake. Vasai and Thane creeks are the estuarine distributaries of the Ulhas River. A number of saline or brackish creeks extend inland from the coastline. The Mahim creek separates the city from the suburbs in the west of Salsette Island, and the Sion Creek in the east (Sion creek no longer exists). Further north on the western coast, the Oshiwara River empties into the Malad (or Marvé) Creek and the Dahisar River into the Gorai Creek. The eastern waterfront of Salsette Island too, has many small creeks.

The small southern part of the eastern waterfront of the Salsette Island forms the Bombay harbour. In the North of this region lie huge amounts of protected wetlands, home to migratory birds. The northern, northwestern part of the island and parts of Mahim River also have government-protected marshlands. These swampy regions of Salsette Island form massive and dense mangrove forests. The Salsette Island has numerous beaches. The best known is the Girgaum-Chowpatty Beach. Other well-known beaches in Salsette Island are Dadar Beach, Juhu Beach, Gorai Beach, Mahim Beach, Manori Beach and Worli Beach; of which Juhu, Manori and Gorai Beaches lies on west cost of Salsette Island.



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