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Forts in Goa

With a history that speaks of several rulers, it is little wonder that one finds forts in Goa. Certain witnesses of the past, in form of forts, still remain. There are a few forts in Goa that have stood the test of time and have a lot to say of the years gone.

Fort Cabo da Rama
Cabo da Rama is located on the southern coast of Goa, this fort has been under the regime of various rulers until the Portuguese took it over from the Raja of Sonda in 1763. After taking charge of the fort, the Portuguese rebuilt it but did not put it to much use thereafter. It came under the British rule from 1797 to 1802 and then again from 1803 to 1813. After that, not much attention was paid to the fort. The remains of the fort were then used as a prison until 1955.

Though the church within the fort is still in use, there is little of the fort that remains to be seen today. However, the view from the headland is breathtaking. According to legend the fort has derived its name from Lord Rama who remained here for a while when he was in exile, along with his wife, Sita.

Fort Chapora
The Portuguese had won their rule in Goa but the threat from the Muslim and Maratha rulers went on. To protect themselves from this risk, the Portuguese built the Chapora fort in 1617. However, unlike the Aguada fort, this fort did not remain unconquered.

The Portuguese troops surrendered to the Maratha ruler, Sambhaj in 1684. But the locals were not too pleased with this and had a number of conflicts with the Marathas and finally in 1717, the Marathas withdrew their force. The Portuguese then took over again and rebuilt the fort. The new structure of the fort was equipped with underground tunnels that ensured a safe getaway in case of an emergency.

But this glory was not for long. As again in 1739 the Marathas captured the Chapora fort. However, two years later, in 1941, the Portuguese regained the fort when the northern taluka of Pednem was handed over to them.

However, the Portuguese completely abandoned the fort In 1892. And what remains today are only ruins. Though, there isn't much to see, the history lingers on.

Fort Aguada
Fort Aguada is strategically situated at the estuary of the river Mandovi, this fort was constructed in 1612 as a guard against invasions from the Dutch and the Marathas. The walls of this fort are 5 mts high and 1.3 mts wide. Little surprise then that this remains to be the only fort that was not conquered by any invaders during the 450 yearlong rule of the Portuguese empire.

"Agua" in Portuguese means water, thus the fort derived its name "Aguada" to denote a place where water is accumulated.
The area around the fort housed a large well and a number of springs that provided fresh drinking water to the voyagers that arrived by ship.

An interesting feature in the majestic fort is a 13 mt high lighthouse. This lighthouse, built in 1864, initially used an oil lamp. It was later renovated and modernised in 1976. This lighthouse was home to a gigantic bell that was retrieved from amongst the ruins of the St. Augustus monastery at Old Goa. However, the bell has now been moved to the Our Lady of Immaculate Conception church at Panaji.

Though the entire fort is no longer intact, some buildings that are still in good shape have been converted into a prison. Interestingly, it happens to be the largest prison in Goa.

En route to the fort, one comes across the church of St. Lawrence, the saint of the sailors. The Portuguese used to build churches on the outskirts of the forts to prevent the enemy from firing at a close range.

Fort Terekhol
Terekhol fort situated on the Terekhol River, lies on the northern tip of Goa, on the hillock overlooking the Arabian Sea. In its courtyard is the century old church of St. Anthony. Maharaja Khem Sawant Bhonsle built this fort in the 17th century but it was rebuilt in 1764 after the Portuguese Viceroy Dom Pedro Miguel de Almeida captured it.

The remains of the fort have now been converted into a hotel, the Terekhol Fort Heritage. However, the St. Anthony's church inside the fort still remains. But it is not open to the general public except on certain occasions such as the annual feast that is usually held some time in May.

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