Goa, ruled by various rulers over the centuries, has a rich and colorful history. You can get a glimpse ofits eventful history by visiting the various forts found here. The scenic beauty that surrounds the forts isone of the main attractions that lures visitors to them.Aguada FortFort Aguada, the largest and most well preserved fort in Goa today was the most prized and crucial fortfor the Portuguese. The fort is so large that it envelops the entire peninsula at the South Western tip ofBardez. Situated atop the Sinquerim plateau in Bardez Taluka, overlooking the vast expanses of theArabian Sea, the fort marked a reference point for ships. Built on the mouth of the river Mandovi, it wasstrategically located and was the chief defence of the Portuguese against the Dutch and the Marathas.The fort got its name "Aguada" from the word "Aguada" (Portuguese for water), because of the threefresh water springs inside it. Built in 1612, it was once the grandstand of 79 cannons. A moat around thefort protected it.As you move around and inside this fort, it opens itself to you layer by layer and you cant help gettingfascinated knowing about the power it had once stood for. Some of the interesting features you willcome across in the fort are a lighthouse which once housed a gigantic bell, a large vaulted cistern thatcould store ten million litres of fresh water, and a prison in the basement interestingly the largest inGoa.Cabo De Rama FortLocated in Goas southern most Taluka Canacona, the fort takes its name from the name of Lord Rama,who had stayed in this place with his wife Sita during his period of exile. The fort has been a witness tohistory for a long time. It exchanged hands between the Hindus and the Portuguese and also housed theBritish for a brief period. You can gather some idea about its size from the ruins. There is a dry moat,and a church inside. The whitewashed church looks contrasting with the black laterite walls of the ruinsof the fort. A visit to the fort will feel like an archeological expedition as there is hardly any sign of lifethere except for some birds and some monkeys.Cabo Raj BhavanAn imposing structure, the Cabo Raj Bhavan stands atop a cliff in Tiswadi Taluka. Nine kilometres fromPanjim, it lies on the peninsular tip of land near Dona Paula. Built in 1540, it was initially used to guardthe Goa Harbour. It took a long time to complete and was huge enough to house an entire citadel in itbut what remains today of it are just three large cisterns. Before the fort was erected, a chapel of theBlessed Virgin Mary was built along with a convent for the Franciscans. This later housed Governors ofGoa and even today its the official residence of the Governor of Goa. One of the most elegant RajBhavans in India, special appointment is required to visit it.
Chapora FortBuilt by Adil Shah of Bijapur and reconstructed by the Portuguese, very little remains of the originalstructure. Located to the South of Chapora river, the fort was built of red laterite. It was finally desertedby the Portuguese in 1892 and lies in ruins today. You can spot the heads of two tunnels which wereused as supply routes for the fort. There are also some Muslim tombstones on the Southern slope. Thereason why its popular with tourists is the panoramic view it offers of Vagator.Rachol FortSeven kilometres North East of Margao is Rachol fort, surrounded by a moat. The fort situated on alaterite hillock was crucial for Hindus, Muslims and the Portuguese. Though the fort is not in a very goodstate today, the church inside the fort has been restored with great efforts.Reis Magos FortOriginally built in 1490 by Adil Shah and later taken over by the Portuguese in 1760, the Reis Magos Fortwas buily to protect the narrowest point on the mouth of the River Mandovi. Approximately two milesto the North East of Fort Aguada, the Reis Magos Fort lies in the district of Bardez. After the Portugueseleft Goa, the fort was used as a prison. Though the fort is way behind other forts in Goa in respect to itssize, because of its positioning, it offers a nice view.Terekhol FortOn the Northernmost tip of Goas shoreline, at the mouth of river Terekhol is Terekhol fort. It was builtby Hindu rulers and taken over later by the Portuguese. The fort has a church inside it which has abeautiful facade, but is generally closed, opening for occasions like a feast. The real magic of the fort isits imposing height. Once you climb the fort, the distant view it offers will take your breath away.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTThe author referred to various sources while compiling this piece and wants to thank the people whowrote the original stuff.
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