Goa is the most coveted spot for vacations! Though it is more associated with its beaches, we also have a varied landscape with hills, waterfalls and much more. A striking facet jutting out of this landscape is the alluring Forts. Mostly built by the Mughals and Portuguese, these forts are great symbols of our historical heritage.
Read on to know more about these 7 magnificent forts in Goa that you wouldn’t want to miss!
- Aguada Fort
Fort Aguada is a well-preserved seventeenth-century Portuguese fort, along with a lighthouse, standing on Sinquerim Beach, overlooking the Arabian Sea. It was built by Portuguese in 1612 to guard against the Dutch and the Marathas. Aguada means water. The fort got its name from the fresh water springs found here.
Fort Aguada is the symbol of Portuguese influence and a specimen of their beautiful architecture. It was the most prized and crucial fort of the Portuguese. It is presently used as a prison and it’s the largest prison in Goa.
2. Tiracol Fort
Fort Tiracol, sometimes known as Terekhol Fort, is located on the northern tip of Goa at the mouth of the Tiracol River. It is from the river that the fort has got its name. The fort was originally built by Maharaja Khem Sawant Bhonsle, the Raja of Sawantwadi, in the 17th century. It was later captured by the Portuguese in 1746.
The fort became an important part of Portuguese maritime defences. They revamped the fort later and also constructed a church which is now about 100 years old. Now, in a state of ruins, Fort Tiracol has been converted into a hotel, the Fort Tiracol Heritage. It is not open to public for sightseeing now but can be viewed from the outside.
3. Corjuem Fort
Corjuem Fort is a fortress situated 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from the village of Aldona on the river island of Corjuem, Goa. It was a military fortress for the defence of Portuguese India. It is smaller than the other forts in Goa, but it gives a good view of the surrounding river and land.
This fort built in 1705 is one of the only two inland forts that are surviving that are made of pitted laterite. In the early 1800s, the fort was used as a Military School and had in its defences a battery of 4 guns.
4. Chapora Fort
Chapora Fort, located in Bardez, Goa, rises high above the Chapora River. The original structure was constructed by Adilshah of Bijapur which the Portuguese rebuilt in 1617. Built in red laterite stone, the Portuguese late deserted it as their empire expanded.
Presently only the gigantic walls and some Muslim tombstones remain to be seen here.
The striking feature of the fort are the tunnels built underground as a getaway for the residents in case of an attack. One can see the beautiful Vagator beach from the fort. Another interesting fact of Chapora fort is that, the film ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ was shot here back in 2001.
5. Reis Magos Fort
Reis Magos Fort is situated on the right bank of River Mandovi. The Portuguese built this fort for defending Goa against intruders. It is surrounded by sturdy laterite walls studded with typically Portuguese turrets. Though far inferior in size to the fortress of Mormugao, yet standing on an eminence, it commands a splendid view all around. It is in a good state of preservation and is defended by 33 guns and accommodation for a small garrison.
There is a church at the base of the fort while a spring flows on its east which might have been the source of water for the inhabitants there. Earlier it served a residence for the viceroys. It was subsequently abandoned by the military and served as a prison until 1993. And now it is converted into a cultural centre, besides being used a tourist attraction.
6. Cabo De Rama Fort
The Cabo de Rama Fort is located in the Canacona region of south Goa.
It is sandwiched between two popular beaches in south Goa, Cavelossim and Agonda. Cavelossim beach is 20.3 kilometers towards the north, while the Agonda beach is 17.2 kilometers to the south. Palolem, another popular beach in the south, is further south. There is the small 500-meter-long Cabo de Rama beach just below the fort.
It is believed that Lord Ram, Sita and Lakshman stayed here during their exile. The fort was later captured by the Portuguese and they added buildings, one of which is a chapel. There was also another convent which is now the Governor’s residence. The Cabo fort still looks royal and is worth a visit.
7. Mormugao Fort
Mormugao fort is located near the Mormugao port, a few kilometres north of Vasco. It was one of the most important forts and was built with a view to protect the Mormugao harbour.
The original fort included three magazines, towering bulwarks, five prison blocks, a chapel and accommodation for a garrison. Additionally, this fort was equipped with the firepower of 53 guns and canons. Many of these features remain intact till today.
One of the unique draws of the fort is the presence of two fountains, the Fonte de Malabar and the Fonte Santo Ignacio, which were believed to originate from a gold mine and sulphur mine respectively. These fountains are said to be operational in the present day.
All in all, these Forts are a must-visit in your Goa trip. Day time is the best time to visit them. Though not all of these forts are well preserved, one must visit them to witness their beautiful architecture and their historical heritage.