Goa has always been caught in the crossroads of major historical movements and one of them was the expanding tide of European imperialism. Today many colonial-era structures can be found across its scenic landscape and none are more impressive than the forts that stand like silent sentinels on the shoreline. Many enthusiastic travelers who do not want to compromise their experience by depending on public or chauffeured transport are hiring self-driven cars and exploring the state on their own terms. Here are some of Goa’s famous forts – a perfect itinerary for history and culture enthusiasts.
Fort Cabo de Rama
Fort Cabo de Rama is one of the oldest forts in Goa, a short drive from the Agonda Beach in the southern part of the state. Perched on the ‘edge of land’ and facing the sea, the history of this fort predates the arrival of the Portuguese. It was a strategic point for previous rulers and has seen many avatars, including that of a prison in the middle of the 20th century. An older legend mentions this place as a stop during Ram’s exile in the epic Ramayana, which is an explanation for the name of the fort. The San Antonio Church is one of the few preserved structures in the fort.
A very well-preserved landmark, Fort Aguada rose to prominence in the 17thcentury as a center of Portuguese dominance. The four-story lighthouse here is another special attraction and people can come here just to gaze at the endless horizon and listen to the crashing waves of the sea. Visitors can walk around the ramparts of this giant fort and catch a glimpse at relics of another time. A visit to the nearby Sinquerim Beach is also recommended.
The Chapora Fort today is a collection of ruins and fallen fortifications but the views from the summit are unparalleled. One can glace at the Chapora River below and also get a birds’ eye view of the coast, with Vagator Beach at the distance. The fort changed hands between different rulers until the Portuguese consolidated their position in Goa. Recently, the ramparts of this fort gained a new-found fame as it was a setting for iconic scenes from the immensely popular Bollywood movie, ‘Dil Chahta Hai’.
Reis Magos Fort
A dominating presence over the Mandovi River as it passes through Panjim, the Reis Magos Fort today is a cultural symbol of Goa’s diverse identity. Apart from delightful views from the top of the fort, some of the highlights here are the Reis Magos Church and its art gallery depicting the history of the place. Visitors can also stroll around the fort’s gun loops and study the art exhibits on the walls.
Goa is best traveled by road and some of the advantages of a self-drive rental include privacy and total control over the route and pace of the journey. For quality car hire in Goa, many informed travelers choose the app-based Zoomcar rental platform. Perks include a choice from the latest models of hatchbacks, sedans, and SUVs and also, 24/7 on-road support ensures a hassle-free journey. The history of Goa unravels at every fort, a visceral illustration of centuries-old legends and stories which inquisitive travelers can never get enough of. Get behind the wheel and feel this unique slice of Goa’s culture.