The Cabo de Rama Fort is located in the Canacona region of south Goa, 29.3 kilometers from Margao. It is sandwiched between two popular beaches in south Goa, Cavelossim and Agonda. Cavelossim beach is 20.3 kilometers towards the north, while the Agonda beach is 17.2 kilometers to the south. Palolem, another popular beach in the south, is further south. There is the small 500 meter long Cabo de Rama beach just below the fort.
It was constructed by the local Soonda rulers, who ruled from here. But the Portuguese took it over after their arrival in Goa by defeating the local kings. That was in 1763. Attracted by the big cape that offered good views of the Arabian Sea and the coastline, the Portuguese rulers soon carried out renovations to modernize the fort. The Cabo de Rama Fort is now in ruins, but you can still see many attractions from the past. Cabo de Rama offers great views of the south Goa, the sea, and sunset.
History Of The Cabo De Rama Fort
The fort gets its name from Lord Rama, the Hindu King from Ayodhya. According to mythology, the King and his wife Sita stayed here while they were in their 14 year exile from Ayodhya – story of the Hindu epic Ramayana. So the fort is thousands of years old, making this one of the oldest forts in western India.
This story comes from the local Soonda rulers, who arrived from the neighboring Karnataka, just across Goa’s border. The Soonda were the original builders of this fort, and used to rule over their kingdom from here.
There were a few battles between the local Hindu and Muslim Kings, but the fort finally fell to the Portuguese in 1763. The Portuguese were attracted because the fort offered great views of the cape region from the top of the hill. It offered a clear view of the coastline and further into the Arabian Sea, so they could see advancing enemies from both the land and sea. It was called ‘Rama Killa’ after Lord Rama during the days of Hindu rule. The Portuguese changed the name to Cabo de Rama. The word ‘cabo’ in Portuguese means ‘cape’.
But the Portuguese rulers lost interest in the fort after its importance diminished, and abandoned it. The fort was later turned into a prison, but was abandoned again.
Cabo de Rama Fort – Timeline
- Erected by the Hindu Soonda rulers.
- Lord Rama and his wife Sita spends time here while on exile.
- Battles between the Hindu and Muslim Kings.
- 1763 – The Portuguese attack and conquer the fort.
- 1792 – British rulers take over the fort from the Portuguese.
- 1813 – Abandoned by the British.
- Cabo de Rama turned into a prison till 1955.
Cabo de Rama Fort Location: Taluka Cabo da Rama, Canacona, Goa 403702, India
Cabo de Rama Fort – Quick Facts
|Where is Cabo de Rama located?||
In south Goa, on the coast of the Arabian Sea. The fort is 29.3 kilometers from Margao, 20.3 kilometers south of Cavelossim beach and 17.2 kilometers from the Agonda beach.
|How big is the fort?||
The fort is spread over 18000 square meters. It sits on a small hill above the Cabo de Rama beach.
|Who constructed the fort?||
Erected by the Soonda rulers, who came from the neighboring Karnataka. The Soonda ruled from here, extended their empire from this fort. It used to be called Rama Killa. Renamed Cabo de Rama by the Portuguese rulers when they took control.
|Rulers of the Cabo de Rama fort||
The Hindu Soonda Kings, Portuguese rulers, and then the British. Passed on to Indian hands after the Portuguese left Goa.
|What is inside the fort?||
Gatehouse, moat, ramparts, bastions, 21 cannon guns, springs, watch tower, water tank, and a small chapel.
|St Anthony's Church||
There is a small chapel at the entrance, which is still in use. A feast is held once a year.
The fort was later turned into a government prison till 1955. It was abandoned again after this.
Cabo de Rama Fort – Layout And Present Condition
The Cabo de Rama fort is presently in ruins. However, the bridge near the entrance stands to this day. This bridge is an engineering marvel as it has stood the test of time for more than 300 years. You can also see the bastions where there are large cannons, which were placed to stop advancing sea enemies. The cannons are made of solid iron, which is why they are still standing to this day. Look closely. You will still see the year of manufacture on the cannons.
On the left side is the beautiful St Antonio Church, which is still in use. Local Catholic Christians carry out service here. Once a year, there is a feast as well. There are also ruins of a few buildings that could have been army quarters.
There is a small grotto with the statue of the Virgin Mary besides the St Antonio chapel. The unused jail is just behind this chapel. Its roof has caved in. However, you may meet scientists from the National Institute of Oceanography, who come here sometimes to use it for government observations.
There is a watch tower to the right where there was a strong gun to protect the coastline. There is an ancient pond just below this, which has a Hindu architecture that clearly goes back to the days of the Soonda Kings. The Soonda rulers probably used it for bathing and during special ceremonies.
There could have been a temple of Rama beside this lake in its heydays. The pond is in bad condition, but many tourists still visit it. A two-sided step staircase leads to the lake, but it is buried in leaves and mud.
There is a second pond in the fort. One of them used to hold warm water, and the second cold water.
There is a small path that leads to the sea from the left side of the fort. A small pile of garbage stands here, but you can still find a way to the sea. You can also see a small natural spring here.
Top 7 Reasons For Visiting The Cabo De Rama Fort
- To see one of the largest forts in Goa
- To learn about the history of Goa
- Learn naval defense strategies
- See cannons that were in use once
- Offer prayers at the St Antonio Church
- See the wonderful view of the Arabian Sea and the coastline
- See a glorious sunset from the top
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