FORTS IN GOA

Chapora Chapora 10 K.M from Mapusa this fort is most easily reached from Vagator side of the hill. The red-laterite bastion, crowning the rock bluff, was built by the Portuguese in 1617 on the site of an earlier Muslim structure, hence the village's name - from Shahpura, " town of Shah" Intended as a border watch post, it fee to various Hindu raiders during the seventeenth century, before finally being deserted by the Portuguese in 1892, after the territory's frontiers had been forced further north and the Novas Conquistas region. This fortress lies in ruins, although one can se the heads of two tunnels that formerly provided supply routes for besieged defenders, as will as a scattering of Muslim tomb stones on the soothe slopes of the ill, believed to be relics of percolonial days. The main incentive to here are the superb views from the bastion's weed-infested ramparts, which took north to Morgim and Mandarem beaches, and south towards Anjuna.

Fort Aguada

goa fort aguadaA long laterite peninsula extends in the sea west of Reis Magos, bringing the seven kilometer long Clangute beach to an abrupt halt. Fort Aguada crowns the rocky flattened top of the headland and is the largest and best preserved Portuguese bastion in Goa.

This fort was built in 1612 to guard the northern shores of the Mandovi estuary from attacks by the Dutch and Maratha raiders. The name was derived from the presence of many fresh water springs which were a first source of drinking water for

ships arriving in Goa after a along voyage.

There are extensive ruins of the fort which can be reached by road. The fort has a four storey Portuguese lighthouse erected in 1864 and is the oldest of its kind in Asia. In the 70's the Sinquerim beach was singled out by the Taj group of hotels for upmarket tourism.

Tiracol Fort

This was a fort of the local raja, and taken over by the Portuguese in 1746. It was used as a base for freedom fighters during the liberation of Goa in 1961. Within the fort there is a chapel which is locked most of the time. This fort is converted into a Heritage hotel.

The very northern part of Goa Tiracol is wild, beautiful, unspoiled and totally uncommercialised and is one of the last idyllically peaceful spots in Goa.

North of Arambol, the cost read climbs to the top of a rock, undulating plateau, then winds down through a swathe of thick woodland to join the River Arondem, which is then follows for 4 K.M through a landscape of vivid paddy fields and coconut plantations dotted with scruffy red-brick Villages.

The fort, which was captured by the Portuguese in 1776 with St.Anthony's church in the middle, is set spectacularly on the hilltop. From the battlements one can look across to Querim Beach. To cross the Tiracol River takes twenty minutes on an ancient Goan ferry operates every 30 mints.

Cabo de Rama Fort

Cabo de Rama, the long boney of land that juts into the sea at the south end of Colva Bay, takes its name from the hero of the Hindu epic, the Ramayana. Cabo DA Rama , however, is more grandiose than most, commanding spectacular views north over the length of Colva beach and down the sand-splashed coast of Canacona.

The easily defensible promontory was crowned by a fort centuries before the Portuguese cruised in and wrested it from the local Hindu rulers in 1763. They erected their own citadel soon after, but this now lies in ruins, lending to the laterite headland a forlorn world's end feel. The road to Cabo DA Rams, leading past Canaguinim's huge wind turbine, ends abruptly in front of the fort's gatehouse. Here you can see a crumbling turret still houses a couple of rusty old Portuguese cannons and the chapel, swathed in colorful bougainvillea bushes.

Rachol Fort

At Rachol, 7 K.M northeast of Margao, rises proudly from the crest of laterite hillock, surrounded by the dried-up moat of an old Muslim fort and rice fields that extend east to the banks of the nearby Zuari River. During the early days of the Portuguese conquests, this was a border bastion of the Christian faith, perennially under threat from Muslim, and Hindu marauders. Today, its painstakingly restored sixteenth-century church and cloistered theological collage, one wing of which has recently been converted into a museum, lie in the midst of the Catholic heartland. The seminary itself harbours in Old Goa, main road en route to Lutolim, 4K.M further north.

During the sixteenth century before the evangelisation of Goa, Rachol hill was encircled by an imposing fort, built by the Muslim Bahmani Dynasty that founded the city of Ela (Old Goa) The Hindu Vijayanagars took it from the Sulatan of Bijapur in the fifteenth century and was ceded to the Portuguese in 1520 in exchange for military help against the Muslims. Today the stone archways spans the road to the seminary is the only fragments left standing.

Reis Magos

The coastal road veers inland to a small market crossroads.

A Hindu tree shrine, 20 mts., before this marks the turning to Reis Magos, 3 K.M., west of Betim Bazaar

Reis Magos Church was built in 1555. Historians believe the original church was constructed on the ruins of an old Hindu temple and the bas-relief lion figures flanking the steps at the ends of the balustrades lend credence to the this theory, being a typical feature of Vijayanagar temple architecture in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Two viceroys of Portuguese are buried inside the church. The centerpiece of the church's elaborately carved and painted reredos, behind the high alter is a multicolored wood relief showing the Three Wise Men - or Reis Magos, after whom the village is named . Each year this scene is reenacted in the Festa dos Reis Magos held in the first week of January during Epiphany.

Crowning the sheer-sided headland immediately above the church, Reis Magos fort was erected in 1551 to protect the narrowest point at the mouth of Mandovi estuary. These days the bastion surrounded by sturdy laterite wall studded with typically Portuguese turrets is used as a prison and not open to the public but you can clamb up the steep slope to the ramparts for the view over the river.