Have you ever wondered what it would be like to visit a fort that was once a stronghold of the Portuguese empire in India? A fort that witnessed many battles, sieges, and fires and still stands tall and proud on a hilltop overlooking the sea? A fort that has a lighthouse, a prison, a church, and a freshwater spring within its walls? If you want to know more about such a fort, visit Fort Aguada in Goa.
For good reasons, Fort Aguada is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Goa. It is a historical and architectural marvel and a scenic and serene place that offers panoramic views of the Arabian Sea and the Mandovi River. It is also surrounded by many attractions and activities, making it an ideal destination for all travellers.
In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about Fort Aguada, such as its location, history, architecture, significance, attractions, and tips for travellers. We will also share some interesting facts and stories about the fort that will make you appreciate it even more. So, read on and discover why Fort Aguada is a must-visit place in Goa.
History of Fort Aguada
Fort Aguada was built in 1612 by the Portuguese governor Francisco da Gama. The name Aguada means "watering place" in Portuguese, and it refers to the freshwater spring that supplied water to the fort and the ships that docked there. The fort was strategically located at the mouth of the Mandovi River, the main entry point for ships from Europe and other parts of India. The fort was designed to protect the Portuguese territory and trade routes from the Dutch and Maratha invaders, who often attacked Goa.
The fort was one of the largest and strongest forts in Goa, with a capacity to hold 79 cannons and a garrison of 200 men. It also had a four-storey lighthouse, which was the oldest of its kind in Asia. The lighthouse served as a beacon for the ships and also as a watchtower for spotting enemies. The fort also had a moat, bastions, gunpowder rooms, barracks, and a church dedicated to St. Lawrence.
The fort witnessed many events and incidents in its history. In 1639, it successfully repelled an attack by the Dutch fleet. In 1665, it was partially destroyed by a fire caused by lightning. In 1683, it was besieged by Sambhaji, the son of Shivaji Maharaj, but he could not capture it. In 1819, it was used as a prison for freedom fighters and political activists during British rule. It was abandoned in 1976 and later converted into a heritage site and a museum.
The architecture of Fort Aguada
Fort Aguada is made of laterite stone, which is abundant in Goa. It has a triangular shape with two gates, one facing the land and one facing the sea. The landward gate has an inscription that reads "S.P.Q.G.", which stands for "Senatus Populusque Goensis", meaning "The Senate and People of Goa". The seaward gate has an inscription that reads "Haec Est Victoria Quae Vincit", meaning "This is victory which conquers".
The most prominent feature of the fort is its lighthouse, which is 13 meters high. It has a spiral staircase and a lantern room at the top. The lighthouse was built in 1864 to replace the original one that was built in 1612. The original lighthouse had six oil lamps and a large reflector that could be seen from 23 kilometres away. The new lighthouse had an oil lamp with wicks mounted inside four glass chimneys that could be seen from 46 kilometres away.
The most unique feature of the fort is its freshwater spring, which is located inside the fort near the church. The spring has a storage capacity of 2,376,000 gallons of water. The water is pure and potable even today. The spring was used to supply water to the fort and the ships that anchored there. The spring also had an aqueduct system that carried water to other parts of Goa.
The fort also has other structures such as a moat that encircles the fort, bastions that project from the walls, gunpowder rooms that store ammunition, barracks that house soldiers, and a church that worships St. Lawrence. The church has a simple facade with a cross on top and a bell tower on the side. The church also has a statue of St. Lawrence holding a gridiron, which is his symbol of martyrdom.
Best Places To Eat Near Fort Aguada
If you are looking for some delicious food options near Fort Aguada, you will not be disappointed. There are many restaurants and cafes that offer a variety of cuisines and dishes to suit your taste buds and budget. Here are some of the best places to eat near Fort Aguada with prices for two, must-try dishes:
This is a fine dining restaurant that is located inside the Taj Fort Aguada Resort and Spa. It specializes in seafood and Goan delicacies. The restaurant has a beautiful view of the Arabian Sea and the fort. The ambiance is elegant and romantic. The price for two is around Rs. 3000. The must-try dishes are the grilled lobster, the fish curry rice, and the bebinca.
This is another restaurant that is located inside the Taj Fort Aguada Resort and Spa. It serves Indian, Continental, and Asian cuisines. The restaurant has a spacious and cozy interior with live music and entertainment. The price for two is around Rs. 2500. The must-try dishes are the chicken cafreal, the Goan sausage pizza, and the chocolate brownie.
Pousada by the Beach:
This is a beachfront cafe that offers a casual and relaxed dining experience. It serves Continental, Mediterranean, and Indian cuisines. The cafe has a rustic and charming decor with wooden furniture and colorful cushions. The price for two is around Rs. 1500. The must-try dishes are the grilled fish, the hummus platter, and the apple pie.
This is a fusion restaurant that serves Burmese, Asian, and Continental cuisines. The restaurant has a modern and minimalist decor with a garden and a pond. The price for two is around Rs. 1200. The must-try dishes are the tea leaf salad, the khao suey, and the coconut panna cotta.
This is a rooftop restaurant that serves North Indian and Mughlai cuisines. The restaurant has a traditional and elegant decor with live ghazals and folk music. The price for two is around Rs. 1800. The must-try dishes are the tandoori chicken, the dal makhani, and the kulfi falooda.
This is a beach shack that serves Goan, Continental, and Seafood cuisines. The shack has a colorful and lively decor with live music and karaoke. The price for two is around Rs. 1000. The must-try dishes are the calamari fry, the prawn curry rice, and the chocolate cake.
These are some of the best places to eat near Fort Aguada that you can try on your next visit to Goa. You can also explore other restaurants and cafes in the vicinity that offer different cuisines and dishes to suit your preferences and mood.
Best Places To Stay Near Fort Aguada
If you are looking for some comfortable and convenient accommodation options near Fort Aguada, you will have plenty of choices. There are many hotels and resorts that offer a range of facilities and services to suit your needs and budget. Here are some of the best places to stay near Fort Aguada:
Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa:
This is a 5-star resort that is located inside the fort premises. It offers luxurious rooms and suites with sea views, balconies, and bathtubs. It also has a spa, a fitness center, an outdoor pool, a restaurant, a bar, and a lounge. The nightly tariff is around Rs. 15,000.
SinQ Beach Resort:
This is a 4-star resort that is located near Sinquerim Beach. It offers cozy rooms and cottages with garden views, balconies, and minibars. It also has an outdoor pool, a restaurant, a bar, and a nightclub. The nightly tariff is around Rs. 5000. You can book your stay here.
Santana Beach Resort:
This is a 3-star resort that is located near Candolim Beach. It offers spacious rooms and apartments with pool views, balconies, and kitchenettes. It also has two outdoor pools, two restaurants, a bar, and a garden. The nightly tariff is around Rs. 3000.
Marquis Beach Resort:
This is a 3-star resort that is located near Candolim Beach. It offers comfortable rooms and suites with sea views, balconies, and refrigerators. It also has an outdoor pool, a restaurant, a bar, and a spa. The nightly tariff is around Rs. 4000. You can book your stay here.
Aguada Anchorage - The Villa Resort:
This is a 4-star resort that is located near Fort Aguada. It offers luxurious villas with private pools, balconies, and kitchenettes. It also has two outdoor pools, a restaurant, a bar, and a playground. The nightly tariff is around Rs. 10,000.
Attractions Near Fort Aguada
Fort Aguada offers panoramic views of the Arabian Sea, the Mandovi River, and the surrounding beaches and hills. It also has a jail museum, which displays the history and artifacts of the fort and its prisoners. The museum has cells, chains, handcuffs, photographs, documents, and other items that showcase the life and struggle of the freedom fighters and political activists who were imprisoned there.
Near the fort, there are several attractions and places of interest that one can visit and enjoy. Some of them are:
This is a beautiful beach that lies at the foot of the fort. It has golden sand, clear water, and palm trees. It is ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing. It also offers activities such as water skiing, parasailing, windsurfing, scuba diving, and fishing.
This is another popular beach that is adjacent to Sinquerim Beach. It has a long stretch of sand, calm water, and shacks. It is perfect for walking, jogging, cycling, and playing. It also offers activities such as jet skiing, banana boat rides, bumper rides, and dolphin trips.
Reis Magos Fort:
This is a 16th century Portuguese fort that is located on the opposite bank of the Mandovi River. It was built to defend Goa from the Marathas and later used as a residence for viceroys and governors. It has a distinctive white facade with red laterite walls. It also has a church dedicated to the Three Wise Men. The fort offers splendid views of the river and the city.
This is a small and secluded beach that is situated near the mouth of the Nerul River. It has black sand, rocky shores, and coconut trees. It is ideal for picnicking, boating, and fishing. It also offers activities such as kayaking, sailing, and crocodile spotting.
This is a spot where one can see dolphins in their natural habitat. It is located near Coco Beach and can be reached by boat. One can watch dolphins jumping and playing in the water and also feed them fish. It is a fun and memorable experience for all ages.
Tips For Travellers
Fort Aguada is open from 9:30 am to 6 pm every day. The entry fee is Rs. 25 for Indians and Rs. 300 for foreigners. The best time to visit is from October to March when the weather is pleasant and dry.
To reach the fort, one can take a bus, taxi, or bike from Panaji or Calangute. The distance from Panaji is 18 kilometers and from Calangute is 8 kilometers.
One should carry water, sunscreen, hat, camera, and comfortable shoes while visiting the fort.
One should also respect the history and heritage of the fort and avoid littering or vandalizing it.
Fort Aguada is a historical and architectural marvel by the sea that deserves to be visited by anyone who loves history, culture, and nature. It is not only a witness to the glorious past of Goa but also a gateway to its present and future attractions.
If you are planning to visit Goa soon, make sure to include Fort Aguada in your itinerary. You will not regret it.
We hope you enjoyed reading this article and learned something new about Fort Aguada. If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to leave a comment below.
Thank you for reading!
FAQs About Fort Aguada
If you have any more questions or doubts about Fort Aguada, you might find the answers in this section. Here are some of the frequently asked questions and their answers about Fort Aguada:
Q - What is the significance of Fort Aguada?
- Fort Aguada is a 17th century Portuguese fort that was built to protect Goa from the Dutch and Maratha invaders. It was also a reference point for ships and a source of freshwater for sailors. It is one of the largest and best-preserved forts in Goa and a symbol of the Portuguese heritage and culture.
Q - How old is Fort Aguada?
- Fort Aguada was built in 1612 by the Portuguese governor Francisco da Gama. It is over 400 years old and has witnessed many historical events and changes over the centuries.
Q- How big is Fort Aguada?
- Fort Aguada covers an area of 8 hectares and has a perimeter of 1.3 kilometers. It has a triangular shape with two gates, one facing the land and one facing the sea. It has a four-storey lighthouse, a freshwater spring, a moat, bastions, gunpowder rooms, barracks, and a church within its walls.
Q - What are the timings and entry fees of Fort Aguada?
- Fort Aguada is open from 9:30 am to 6 pm every day. The entry fee is Rs. 25 for Indians and Rs. 300 for foreigners. There is no fee for children below 15 years of age.
Q - How to reach Fort Aguada?
- Fort Aguada is located on a hilltop near Sinquerim Beach in North Goa. It is about 18 kilometers from Panaji and 8 kilometers from Calangute. One can reach the fort by bus, taxi, or bike from these places. There are also boats that take tourists from Coco Beach to the fort.
Q - What are the attractions near Fort Aguada?
- There are many attractions and activities near Fort Aguada that one can enjoy. Some of them are Sinquerim Beach, Candolim Beach, Reis Magos Fort, Coco Beach, Dolphin Point, water sports, dolphin watching, fishing, boating, etc.