Friday, 11 September 2015

Forts of Goa Attractions Tour India JK1233

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Reis Magos Fort

The second day of our visit to Goa was dedicated to it's historic forts. Their job as defenders of Goa's land and sea done, the forts today stand as silent sentinels and witnesses to the fascinating stories of this special place.

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Reis Magos Fort

If you are a military history buff, the old forts of Goa will be of special interest to you. There are 9 old forts in Goa and we managed to visit 3 of them today. A trip to the forts is physically demanding due to the heat, humidity, distances and terrain but I enjoyed myself as I am a military and political history enthusiast :-D 

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Our first stop was the Aguada Fort. The grandest of them all.

Aguada Fort is the largest Portuguese fort in Goa built in 1612 to protect Old Goa from enemy attacks that might come up the Mandovi River.

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Aguada Fort is protected by thick battlements and a deep dry moat.

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The imposing rusty red laterite walls are 5 metres high and 1.3 metres wide.

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The fort housed a four-storey Portuguese lighthouse built in 1864.

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Aguada Fort also held a huge underground water tank under the courtyard. Springs near the fort filled the tank which can hold 2 million litres of fresh water for Portuguese sea voyagers. "Agua" in Portuguese means water hence the name "Aguada".

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Aguada Fort had a formidable arsenal of 79 cannons and was never breached by hostile forces during the entire 451 year long Portuguese rule. However, none of the cannons remained.

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Our next stop was Reis Magos Fort or fort of the (biblical) Three Wise Men.

Reis Magos Fort perched high on a hill at the north bank of the Mandovi River was erected by Sultan Adil Shah in 1493 to protect the narrowest point at the mouth of the Mandovi. The fort fell to the Portuguese in 1551.

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Reis Magos Fort served as the rest stop for viceroys and other Portuguese dignitaries between their gruelling 30 day Goa - Lisbon sea voyage.

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Reis Magos Fort has a commanding view of the Mandovi River to the south below. The strip of land on the horizon is the Panaji (Goa's capital city) bank of Mandovi.

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Thirty three cannons protect the mouth of Mandovi from intruders.

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At the foot of the hill where the fort sits is the Reis Magos Church built in 1551 (the year the fort fell to Portuguese).

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Reis Magos Church was built atop the ruins of an old Hindu temple. This ancient lion sculpture which is a feature of 14th century Vijayanagar temples still flanks the steps leading up to the church.

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Our 3rd fort visit was Terekhol Fort located in Goa's far north along the border with Maharashtra state. We took a short ferry ride to cross the Terekhol River to get to the old fort.

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The ride on this slow ancient ferry to cross the tranquil Terekhol River was an experience in itself.

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Terekhol Fort sits at the Terekhol River on the northern tip of Goa, 42 kilometres from Panaji city.

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Terekhol Fort overlooks the Arabian Sea at the mouth of Terekhol River.

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These iron spikes embedded in the heavy old door once protected it from ramming war elephants.

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Built by Maharaja Khem Sawant Bhonsle of Sawantwadi in the 17th century, it fell to the Portuguese Viceroy Dom Pedro Miguel de Almeida in 1764.

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In Portuguese hands, the Saint Anthony Church was erected in it's courtyard.

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Several attempts to free Goa of Portuguese rule were launched from Terekhol Fort since the 19th century including the final successful effort by the Indian Army in 1961.

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Today, this storied site is a modern, exclusive boutique hotel known as the Terekhol Fort Heritage.

Acknowledgement: My heartfelt thanks to Goa Department of Tourism and AirAsia for their generous hospitality.

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Aireen Omar, CEO & Executive Director of AirAsia (left) and Dilip Parulekar, Tourism Minister of Goa (right) led the launch celebration of Goa - Kuala Lumpur direct flights.

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Goa - KL is AirAsia's eighth direct flight service connecting India and Malaysia after Kolkata, Chennai, Tiruchirappalli, Bengaluru, Kochi, Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam.

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Together with AirAsia India, passengers can enjoy direct fly-thru service to other Indian destinations like Jaipur, Pune, New Dehli and Chandigarh.

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To celebrate the launch of Goa - KL direct flights, AirAsia is offering special all-in-fare of INR999 (RM64) one way from Goa (limited time offer).

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AirAsia AK 96 departs Kuala Lumpur KLIA2 for Goa at 8:30pm every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

AirAsia AK 97 departs Goa for KLIA2 at 10:55pm on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

Recommended for you:

Traditional Goan Fishermen <- click
My first day in Goa <- click

Dates visited: 3 - 9 Sep 2015

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