Fort Aguada, Goa


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 –

  • 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.


4 thoughts on “Fort Aguada, Goa

  1. Gosh in all the flurry of the family visiting and the wedding I missed something close to my heart.. Fort Aguada !
    I was a giddy headed 13 year old when made the epic journey from Udhampur to Goa for the customary visit to our family deity ..Mangeshi in the Ponda taluk .
    Papa was an avid traveller with a voracious appetite for historical monuments ! So no prizes for guessing why Fort Aguada was etched in my young teenage heart ! The seventeenth century fort with its four-storey Portuguese lighthouse, the grandstand of 79 cannons, the gun powder chambers, the water storage .. all seemed so overwhelming then.
    And then there were more trips to Goa over the years and a visit to the fort was mandatory . With every visit a new perception was born and Ms Niv your post brought in so much more ! Thank you for reliving a slice of history ! Your lucid account has inspired me to make that pilgrimage and view the fort from yet another perspective !
    May 2017 bring many more such posts . Loads of love ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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