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Forts

fort

In 1510, at an unexpected moment in Goa's history, Afonso de Albuquerque gunned his way from the salt waters of the Arabian Sea into the fresh mouth of the Mandovi. Little did anyone know Goa would change face. The Portuguese brought to Goa the magnificence of the West and the might of a nation at the height of its imperial power. With the arrival of the Portuguese came the forts: the seafaring conquerors were better on water than on land and to maintain their marine mastery, they built coastal forts at vantage points where enemy ships could nose the land. Tiracol, Chapora, Fort Aguada, Reis Magos, Gaspar Dias, Cabo and Cabo de Rama are among the prominent ones.

Compared to Indian standards, Goan forts are very small in size. Nonetheless, these are historic specimen of immense military, political and economic importance in a land crisscrossed by rivers and canals and bordered by sea on the west. The old monuments, now in ruins are mute testimony to the joys and sorrows, and colourful and dark events of a bygone era.

Some are awesome in sheer size like the Ruins of the St. Augustine's Tower, while others are marvellous pieces of architecture, such as the Gate of the Adil Shah's Palace at Old Goa.

Sans cement, steel or mortar, the giant walls have stood the vagaries of nature for centuries, and would have gone on to last for several centuries more were they to be looked after properly.

The Portuguese found the need to raise the fortresses at several strategic points facing the river mouths to defend their new acquisitions in the East. Of course, they also acquired forts built by the neighbouring chieftains, when the latter's lands were annexed by the Conquistadores. However, once the defence priorities receded, the forts too were abandoned by the Portuguese.

 
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Terekhol Fort
Often misspelt as Tiracol or Tirakol or Tirakhol, situated on the Terekhol River, this fort lies on the northern tip of Goa. Maharaja Khem Sawant Bhonsle, the Raja of Sawantwadi, built this fort in the 17th century.
 
 
 
Located 9 kms from Panaji, Cabo fort lies on the peninsula land jutting out in the Arabian Sea, at Dona Paula. The Portuguese planned a fort here in 1540, and as per long-established defence strategy, quickly built a church. Subsequently, they built a fort...
 
 
 
Corjuem fort is situated 4 kms north of Pomburpa, alongside the Mapusa river near the village of Aldona. It was built in 1705 by the Portuguese.
 
 
 
Standing on the northern frontier of Bardez, on the left bank of the Bardez river, this fortress was erected in 1681 by the Court of Alvor as a barrier against the inroads of the Marathas and Bhonsles.
 
 
 
 
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