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Nalla Sopara was an ancient port and an international trading center. The most likely route of ships coming to Sopara is from the North. The water once extended all the way to Bhyander creek thus making the whole area extending from Arnala to Bhyander an island - referred to as Salsatte island.In the time of the Buddha, Sopara, (Ancient Shurparaka), was an important port and a gateway settlement. Perhaps this induced Ashoka to install his edicts there.

Sopara is refered in the Old Testament as Ophir, the place from which King Solomon brought gold; 1 Kings 9:28, 10:11. Cf. Psalms 45:9, Isaiah 13:12. Josephus identifies Ophir with Aurea Chersonesus, belonging to India (Antiquities 8:6:4). Septuagint translates Ophir as Sophia, which is Coptic for India.

This refers to the ancient city of Soupara or Ouppara on the western coast of India. During the Mauryan dynasty empire, communication between central and Northern India was established through trade routes. Two main trade routes connected Maharashtra with North India. One such route linked Sopara to Ujjain via Nasik, Pitalkhora, Ajanta and Maheshwar. The clue to trade routes is provided by the location of early rock-cut caves situated along ancient roads. Thus, the road from Sopara, the coastal route to Kolhapur ran through Kalyan, Mahad, Khed and Karad.

Between Virar and Nala-Sopara, somewhere halfway between the two stations, there is a small hill to the east of the railway. On top of that hill was a stone built structure. When I was young, I used to ask my grandmother what that was - she used to tell me that it was 'Zhuzache Kothar' - referring to grain storages built in biblical times. However, my speculation is that this was one of the fortified structures built by the Portuguese to monitor shipping into port of Sopara. (Remember, I am referring to a period 500 years ago). This hill was the closest strategic point to the waterway. Today the structure is in ruins but the hill still stands.