Saturday, December 28, 2013

Fort Aguada Bem Vindo, Goa

Bem Vindo in Portuguese means Welcome to Fort Aguada !
Aguada means spring in Portuguese, which is source of pure drinking water.  The landscape on the northern most mouth of the river Mondovi formed a strategic point to build a fortress which is partitioned into a double decker.  The upper deck consisted of water tank which contained a large reserve of 23,76,000 gallons of water and a light house.  The potable water was source of livelihood for the soldiers and traders visiting Goa from foreign lands.  They used to refill their tankers with water and proceed further down south towards Calicut and Kochi. 

The lighthouse was built in such a fashion that it used to emit signal to the ships every 7 minutes, which was later timed to 30 seconds.  It is four storied conical shaped building which happened to be largest in Asia in Olden times. 

The lower deck consisted of a fortress with berthing facility for ships and a Watch tower stretching upto to the Arabian Sea.  Currently the beach and the lower deck belongs to Taj group of hotels which has built a heritage property with a swimming pool and luxurious rooms for tourists to stay comfortably.
The fort consisted of a moat surrounded with water to protect from invasion by the enemies, it was filled with crocs to scare away the invaders from attempting to scale the fortress.  The Marathas were known for their guerilla warfare against which the Portuguese had to take plenty of precautions.

The primary reason for building Fort Aguada was to enhance the security of Goa against the frequent naval strikes by Marathas, Dutch and Ottomon empire.  Everybody were keen to extract their piece of cake from the trading opportunities of spices, gems & diamonds, muslin and other forest produce in the konkan belt.  The Arabs used to earlier import horses, perfumes, etc into India to be sold to local kings and Vijaynagar empire.  This demand was being fulfilled by the Portuguese.  The Portuguese traders were clever to switch and sell diamonds to the world referring it to as Indian Diamond.  The diamonds mined from the Vijayanagar empire were the best in its grade which is unmatched probably even today. 
The fortress was constructed during the Viceroy Rui Lourenco De Tavaro ( 1609 – 1612 )  and inaugurated during rule of D Jeronimo De Azevedo ( 1612 – 1617 ) as a reinforcement to the already existing fortress inside the Mandovi river bed.  This fortress is almost built in square shaped formation with turrets and watch tower manning the fortress.  The firepower unleashed from this fortress would have caused unimaginable damage to the enemy lines on the sea front as well as land.

Aguada too seems to have been chiselled out of a hillock and built with laterite stones which was naturally occurring on the landscaped.  The local masonaries were used who were adapt at construction, with the architecture planned by the Portuguese.

Just a few meters away from the Aguada fortress exists a Church with statue of Jesus in a redeemer fashion beckoning the disciples to come into his fold.  This Church has an excellent view point to give a panoramic view of the Aguada fortress and its hillock.  Below one can find the prisoners barracks, which is used even today as a Central prison.  The prison is heavily guarded, and tourists are not permitted to enter the premise.  Many a tourist are carried away by the notice board which mentions only Tuesday and Friday entry is allowed outside the prison gate. 

Enroute if one finds time one can visit the Dolphin Jetty, which is advisable than the Coco Bridge because the traffic snarl and parking will be time consuming.  On this jetty one can find parking by the sides and quick getaway.  Also one can spot Kingfisher pvt. Jetty, Kashmir Emporium and plenty of food joints catering to tourists across the world enroute to Calangute beach. 

The legacy of Fort Aguada is far reaching considering its strategic location, there is even a helipad located for the VIPs and Navy personnel to land and survey the area.  One can see some lovely private properties located in vantage points.  Overall Aguada is a must in every tourist Iterneary for Goa, but care should be taken so as to overspeed the roads are narrow and cows crossing the road can cause accident, better to visit in the early mornings, since it opens at 8.30 am, carry an umbrella which can give better protection, even during winter times, it is hot as oven.  Apply Sun screen is advisable and carrying plenty of water, one can get dehydrated.
Thank you Portuguese ( Obrigado )for leaving behind a wonderful legacy to be enjoyed free of entry cost, we forgive you for over staying beyond the mandated period of Aug 1947.  Adeus ( Goodbye in portuguese )


R Niranjan Das said...

Nice post!

Puru@ShadowsGalore said...

On your blog after a long time, and you delight as usual .. have some fond memories of Fort Aguada myself :)

Deguide said...

THANKS Niranjan Das & Puru for penning your thoughts

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Couldn't visit any forts in Goa during my last 2 visits... Should try next time

Deguide said...

I have been to Goa from 1983 onwards at 20 times each time i discover something new

Deguide said...

Srinidhi try to visit them & i gave a miss to beaches to cover historical monuments

Deguide said...

Srinidhi try to visit them & i gave a miss to beaches to cover historical monuments

Deguide said...

I have been to Goa from 1983 onwards at 20 times each time i discover something new


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Basically i am down to earth, take friendship to its logical end. It is my endeavour to create a wealth of co-operative ventures. Basically being a marketing man i have the acumen to spot winners. I am privileged to travel the length and breadth of the country, courtsey my father, who was with Indianoil, my employers such as Nutrine, Kurl-on, Hindustan Pencils, Prestige, Crystal, Bell Ceramics, Pentel, Sezal, Commander. Currently i am involved in Tourism, Booking Air Tickets, Agent for Jungle Lodges and Resorts Limited and Taj Group of Hotels and a numerous hotels across India. Depending on the needs of a traveller i would recommend the destination and accommodation best suited to their budget. Humour takes me on. Let us have a win win situation for all. I love travelling for sake of adventure, photography and discovering the heritage. Life is a journey and let us enjoy our drive. Come share your travel experience on indiabackpacker.