Aguada is a well-preserved 17th century Portuguese fort in North Goa, 16.9 kilometers from Panaji and 5.2 kilometers from the Candolim beach. It is located at the confluence of the Mandovi River and the Arabian Sea. The Portuguese rulers in Goa constructed the fort to control movement of ships, and prevent attacks by the Maratha and Dutch. It is a major attraction in Goa. Hundreds of tourists visit the fort every year.
History Of The Aguada Fort
Portuguese colonial rulers constructed the fort just south of the Candolim beach in 1612. It is one of the largest forts in western India. The site was chosen strategically by military architects. It stands on a small hill at the confluence of the river and sea, an ideal site to watch approaching enemies from both the land and sea and get an early warning. It was constructed to prevent attacks by the Europeans and Maratha rulers.
The most feared threat came from the Dutch in 1604. The Cabo Fort, Gaspar Dias Fort, and Reis Magos Fort all failed to stop the attackers. Eventually, the Portuguese were able to ward off the Dutch, but not before they had burned down several ships and houses, causing grave loss. The Dutch attackers came back 2 years later, in 1606, and established a settlement at the entrance of the Mandovi River, which prevented the entrance and exit of ships from the harbor.
In response, the Portuguese started constructing the Aguada Fort in the territory they controlled to restart port operations and prevent further attacks. The construction was completed in 1612. A deep moat, military barracks, ammunition rooms, and a lighthouse were erected within the premises. This was the first lighthouse in Asia. There used to be a huge bell in the lighthouse, which was later moved to the Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church in Panaji. 79 cannons were also placed at fort Aguada to strengthen the defense.
But the Portuguese could not hold on to it. The British wanted a vantage point to prevent possible attacks by the French, and eventually took it over in 1799.
- There are steep walls that face the sea, and a dry moat towards the landside.
- 2 parts – Lower fort, and Upper fort.
- 79 cannons lined up the rampart in its heydays.
- Double-walled fort.
- There are 2 gates and a gatehouse to prevent attackers from breaching the outer wall.
Fort Aguada – Quick Facts
|Where is Fort Aguada located?||
In north Goa, 16.9 kilometers from Panaji and 5.2 kilometers from the Candolim beach. It sits on a hill where the Mandovi River meets the Arabian Sea.
|Who constructed Fort Aguada?||
The Portuguese rulers in Goa to prevent attacks by the Dutch and Maratha. It was erected to protect Goa against both land and sea attacks, control ship movements to and from the harbor, and provide fresh water to the ships.
|When was it made?||
Construction started after the 1606 attack by the Dutch. Completed in 1612.
|What is inside the fort?||
A deep and dry moat, ammunition room, military barracks, 200 cannons, freshwater spring, water storage chamber, and lighthouse.
Built in 1864 by the Portuguese, this was the first lighthouse in Asia. The light could be seen from far away into the sea and from Aldona in Bardez and Mapusa in the night. Initially, the lighthouse used to emit light once every 7 minutes. This was changed to 30 seconds in 1834. The 4-storey lighthouse is not in use anymore. A second lighthouse was erected later.
There are 3 freshwater springs within the premises, which provided fresh water to the military and passing ships. There is a huge underground chamber at the center for storing water, covered by concrete slabs. 2376000 gallons of water could be stored here, making this one of the largest storage facilities in Asia at the time. This section is not accessible for the tourists.
A jail was constructed later in the 19th century. Still operational, the jail houses those sentenced in narcotics cases. It is beside the river at the bottom of the fort.
Aguada in Portuguese means “water”. So the fort gets its name from the water all around – Mandovi River and the sea, and also the freshwater springs within the fort.
Fort Aguada Location: Sinquerim Beach, Goa 403515, India
Fort Aguada – The Two Parts
There are two segments. They are,
The Upper Fort – This was the main area and the watering station for the ships. The lighthouse, moat, gunpowder room, cannons, water storage chamber, and bastions were all located here. A secret passage was also constructed here, meant to be used during war and in emergencies. Tourists have to cross the deep dry moat even now to enter this section. There is a bridge over this moat.
The Lower Fort – This section is surrounded all around by bastions. Portuguese ships used to berth here for supply of freshwater. It was a safe cover for them. This area has now been converted into a luxury beach resort – The Fort Aguada Hotel.
Top 5 Reasons For Visiting The Aguada Fort
- To learn about Goa’s rich history.
- To see military architecture.
- Fort Aguada was erected at a strategic location, and commands exceptional views of the Mandovi River, Arabian Sea, and the city of Panaji.
- The first lighthouse in Asia.
- To watch a glorious sunset over the sea.
Fort Aguada is open between 10 AM and 5:30 PM. Last entry is at 5 PM.
What To See Nearby
There are many other attractions close to the fort. The Candolim beach is just 5.2 kilometers from Aguada. Beyond this are Calangute and Baga. The city of Panaji is just across the Mandovi River. You can visit the Reis Magos Fort, which is close. The LPK Waterfront Club and Sinq are both close to Aguada Fort. They are two of the most popular nightclubs in Goa.
Rent a Villa near Fort
Find a good place to stay in Goa near Fort Aguada. Villa living is a great option. Stay indoors and enjoy the comforts and amenities – comfortable beds, balcony, large plasma television, DVD player, coffee machine, juicers, barbecue, manicured lawn, and more.
Villas for rent nearby:
* Price depends on arrival dates and duration of stay.
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