Friday, 11 September 2015

The Aguada Fort

THE AGUADA FORT: So what is there is see within say 5 km of Joe and Marietta's Guesthouse other than the beach? That is one frequently asked question we have to answer. This post seeks to adress that query.
The fort atop the Aguada hillock about 4 km south of Calangute is worth seeing. A board displayed near the entrance tells the fort's story and reads like this:
The fort Aguada built in 1612 comprises the lower fort with bastions all around and an upper fort. It skirts the seashore and ascends the summit of the bare rocky, upland called the "Aguada Point." The upper fort was built as a vantage point to serve as a fort and a watering station to the ships, while the lower fort offers a safe berth to Portuguese ships. The upper fort comprises of moat, an underground water storage chamber, lighthouse, gun powder room and bastions.

ENTRANCE: Bridge over the  moat
The word "Aguada" means watering place in Portuguese. The storage capacity of water tank is 23,76,000 galons. It has five divisions with a support of 16 huge columns and a staircase to descend. A lighthouse at initial stage used to emit light once in seven minutes. In 1864, it was updated to emit light creating eclise every 30 seconds, however it was abandoned in 1976. (Archaelogical Survey of India).

The Old Lighthouse

This old lighthouse is no longer in use. They have built a new one just outside the fort grounds, almost on the edge of the hill, overlooking the expanse of the Arabian Sea. From there, its beams of light sweep the ocean, guiding sailing ships. But the odd courting couple seated on the hill's edge could not care less. 

The new lighthouse

The site offers mouth-watering views of the ocean, the Mandovi river and Panaji town - Goa's capital. On the northern side of the hill is Goa's first 5-star hotel, Fort Aguada and on the hill's southern side, down by the water's edge is Goa's first jail, the Aguada jail, from where, many notorious inmates escaped with ease, including the infamous smuggler Sukur Narayan Bhakia. And on the eastern side is the church of St Lawrence. 

St Lawrence church
Army of Angels

Christ the Redeemer

The Aguada fort is where a number of Hindi movies have been shot including the Amir Khan starrer Dil Chahata hai. There used to be peacocks roaming on the hill some years ago. Now, there are tourists by the busloads, coming to watch a piece of Goa's history.

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