Vasai in Maharashtra is where India’s first Christian saint Gonsalo Garcia was born. It is also where St. Francis Xavier lived briefly. Before them, Marco Polo passed through here. It is believed that Parashuram, Buddha, and Ashoka visited as well. Vasai, a 450-sq km sub-district of Thane, barely 40 km to the northwest of Mumbai, has lush green hills and lakes, the Arabian Sea and hot springs, ancient churches and mosques as well as temples and ashrams. Vasai is now being promoted as a micro-tourism initiative, and already has nearly half a dozen three-star hotels and over 100 smaller hotels. — IANS.

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