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Goa, ruled by various rulers over the centuries, has a rich and colorful history. You can get a glimpse of its eventful history by visiting the various forts found here. The scenic beauty that surrounds the forts is one of the main attractions that lures visitors to them. Aguada Fort Fort Aguada, the largest and most well preserved fort in Goa today was the most prized and crucial fort for the Portuguese. The fort is so large that it envelops the entire peninsula at the South Western tip of Bardez. Situated atop the Sinquerim plateau in Bardez Taluka, overlooking the vast expanses of the Arabian Sea, the fort marked a reference point for ships. Built on the mouth of the river Mandovi, it was strategically 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 three fresh water springs inside it. Built in 1612, it was once the grandstand of 79 cannons. A moat around the fort protected it. As you move around and inside this fort, it opens itself to you layer by layer and you can't help getting fascinated knowing about the power it had once stood for. Some of the interesting features you will come across in the fort are a lighthouse which once housed a gigantic bell, a large vaulted cistern that could store ten million litres of fresh water, and a prison in the basement interestingly the largest in Goa. Cabo De Rama Fort Located in Goa's 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 to history for a long time. It exchanged hands between the Hindus and the Portuguese and also housed the British 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 ruins of the fort. A visit to the fort will feel like an archeological expedition as there is hardly any sign of life there except for some birds and some monkeys. Cabo Raj Bhavan An imposing structure, the Cabo Raj Bhavan stands atop a cliff in Tiswadi Taluka. Nine kilometres from Panjim, it lies on the peninsular tip of land near Dona Paula. Built in 1540, it was initially used to guard the Goa Harbour. It took a long time to complete and was huge enough to house an entire citadel in it but what remains today of it are just three large cisterns. Before the fort was erected, a chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary was built along with a convent for the Franciscans. This later housed Governors of Goa and even today it's the official residence of the Governor of Goa. One of the most elegant Raj Bhavans in India, special appointment is required to visit it.

Chapora Fort Built by Adil Shah of Bijapur and reconstructed by the Portuguese, very little remains of the original structure. Located to the South of Chapora river, the fort was built of red laterite. It was finally deserted by the Portuguese in 1892 and lies in ruins today. You can spot the heads of two tunnels which were used as supply routes for the fort. There are also some Muslim tombstones on the Southern slope. The reason why it's popular with tourists is the panoramic view it offers of Vagator. Rachol Fort Seven kilometres North East of Margao is Rachol fort, surrounded by a moat. The fort situated on a laterite hillock was crucial for Hindus, Muslims and the Portuguese. Though the fort is not in a very good state today, the church inside the fort has been restored with great efforts. Reis Magos Fort Originally built in 1490 by Adil Shah and later taken over by the Portuguese in 1760, the Reis Magos Fort was buily to protect the narrowest point on the mouth of the River Mandovi. Approximately two miles to the North East of Fort Aguada, the Reis Magos Fort lies in the district of Bardez. After the Portuguese left Goa, the fort was used as a prison. Though the fort is way behind other forts in Goa in respect to its size, because of its positioning, it offers a nice view. Terekhol Fort On the Northernmost tip of Goa's shoreline, at the mouth of river Terekhol is Terekhol fort. It was built by Hindu rulers and taken over later by the Portuguese. The fort has a church inside it which has a beautiful facade, but is generally closed, opening for occasions like a feast. The real magic of the fort is its imposing height. Once you climb the fort, the distant view it offers will take your breath away.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT The author referred to various sources while compiling this piece and wants to thank the people who wrote the original stuff.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: The author looks after vacation <a href="">apartments in Goa</a>, India. The author arranges <a href="">cheap holidays in Goa</a>, India.

Forts in Goa  
Forts in Goa  

BY ROMMEL FERNANDES FORTS IN GOA Goa, ruled by various rulers over the centuries, has a rich and colorful history. You can get a glimpse of...