A couple of years ago, we were at Goa to attend (myself) and talk (my spouse) at the ‘Writers and Readers’ Festival’. It was October, weather was lovely and we had a day at hand after the festival got over. We have been to Goa several times over the years – it has ‘Go’ implicit in its name and joy de vivre in its air. Love the place, its smell and feel, the sounds of the ocean and those beautiful churches. And the myriad locations made famous and familiar by Bollywood. This was also the time when my interest in Forts was piqued further after visiting the relatively less visited but magnificent ‘Daulatabad fort’ of Aurangabad, a town which is famous for Ajanta – Ellora, the Unesco World Heritage sites. Forts always held a special intrigue for me. I wonder if this fascination for forts started early on in life, having being born and brought up in very fort – y towns of Jaipur and Gwalior… (those will feature over time in the series of ‘Been there Seen that’ as well).
What triggered the thought of writing about Fort Aguada? Because –
- Just posted one on Devanahalli Fort and Tipu’s birth place, amidst controversy of Tipu Jayanti. https://niveditamukerjee.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/tipus-birth-place-and-the-devanahalli-fort/
- Was in Hyderabad for a few days and visited the Golconda Fort.
- Was picking out the list of forts in India I have been to and making a wish list of the ones to go to.
- Some of our friends and family plan to bring in their New Year in Goa and I urge them to spend a few hours reflecting on the year gone by there and contemplate the next one (a k a Dil chahta hai style… when Aakash and friends plan to meet there every year).
No prizes for guessing, it’s all of the above 🙂
To Fort Aguada – not too far not too close.
Located in North Goa, around 20kms from Panajim (the old Goa) and about 50 kms from Margao, this fort is approachable from Panjim, Calangunte, Bagha as well. We took a city taxi to the location and spent almost all morning walking up and down (yes, the fort is in divided in upper and lower levels). We also, looked around at all the possible locations and views recalling those many movies we have watched that have been shot here. We could only imagine how beautiful it would look at sunset! Next time perhaps…
Fort history – bite size
Aguada is a Portuguese word which means “watering place”. Built in 1612 on Sinquerim beach by the Portuguese rulers, a freshwater spring within the fort used to supply fresh water to the ships passing by in the Arabian sea. It was built primarily to protect them – against the Dutch and the Marathas. South of Candolim, at the shore of Mandovi river, the fort was tasked with defence of shipping and the nearby Bardez sub district.
Fort facts – enjoy!
- Fort Aguada was the most prized and crucial fort of the Portuguese.
- It is very large and envelopes the entire peninsula at the south western tip of Bardez.
- On the fort, there is a four-storey Portuguese lighthouse that was built in 1864 (oldest of its kind in Asia).
- The light house was once the grand stand of 79 canons.
- It can store 2,376,000 gallons of water (one of the biggest freshwater storages of the time in whole of Asia).
- The upper part of the fort acted as a fort (with the purpose of guarding) and water storage while the lower part served as a safe berth for Portuguese ships.
- The upper part has a mot, underground water storage chamber, gunpowder room, light house and bastions.
- The fort also has a secret escape passage to have been used during time of war and emergency.
- The light house used to emit light once in 7 minutes when built. In 1834, it was changed to emit light creating eclipse every 30 seconds. This practice was abandoned in 1976.
- The lower part of the fort is now the central jail of Goa and is used to house criminals connected with narcotic activities.
Fort-y tales – more coming up
It was repurposed during the Salazar administration to be used as a prison for Salazar’s political opponents.
The fort area has a certain languor about it with dull brick walls, fairly well preserved, offering many views of the ocean and wide open skies. This rocky fort has been known to most of us from some of the iconic scenes of Bollywood favourites like Rangeela, Dil Chahta Hai, Golmaal, Dhoom, Honeymoon Travels..
I look forward to continue to sharing more on forts and castles that I have been to. Share your favourite ones with me as a reply to this post, would love to add them to my list of places to go and/or write about.