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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Aguada Fort
Aguada Fort is the largest and the best-preserved Portuguese bastion in Goa and was built in 1609-12, to control the entry into the river Mandovi and to protect Old Goa from potential enemy attacks.
Chapora Fort
Located 10 kms from Mapusa, the red-laterite bastion was built by the Portuguese in 1617 on the site of an earlier Muslim structure. Intended as a border watch post, it fell to various Hindu raiders during the 17th century, before finally being deserted by...
Cabo de Rama
Located in Canacona taluka, Cabo de Rama, takes its name from Rama, the hero of the Hindu epic Ramayana, who according to local legend, along with his wife Sita holed up here during his exile from Ayodhya. The promontory was crowned by a fort...
Rachol Fort
The ruins of the Rachol fort lie close to the famous Rachol Seminary, about 7 kms from the town of Margao. Of the fortress itself, only a single gateway remains in existence, straddling the road which leads to the seminary. The imposing fortress once...
Reis Magos Fort
Reis Magos fort, currently under renovation, is situated on the south-eastern extremity of the tableland on the right bank of the Mandovi in Bardez, about two miles to the northeast of Aguada Fort.
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