Ages ago, our school had taken us to the Aguada Fort for a picnic. It wasn’t the best-kept property then and the overgrowth was hiding parts of the ramparts. During those days, none of our teachers told us anything about the history of the fort and all we did was to use the space for a good time. Perhaps, the teachers themselves knew little about its history! Later, during my time at the Goa College of Architecture, I took a keen interest in Goan forts and spent quite a bit of time just lying on the thick walls and imagining the action during the glorious Portuguese rule. My friends and i would particularly frequent the ‘Corjuem Fort’ since a classmate lived on that island. I particularly remember taking loads of chilled Kingfisher beer and getting merrily drunk and throwing the empty bottles into a well in the center of the fortifications!
Historians tell us that the Aguada fort was built during the years 1609 to 1612 as a ‘look-out’ and defense base over approaching enemy ships (Mainly the Dutch and Marathas) . To this day, the robust construction stands the test of time (Over 400 years now! Although some parts are in ruins). The Aguada lighthouse was a later addition (1864) and the structure has saved many a ship from being destroyed on the craggy rocks protruding menacingly along the land’s edge. The famous Aguada Jail is also housed here and it is there that the notorius smuggler, Charles Sobraj was held when he was caught feasting at ‘O Coqueiro’, a nearby well-known restaurant. Aguada also happens to be the largest jail in Goa.
I was told by my grandmom that there used to be a freshwater spring inside the fort and that is why the fort was named after water (water=’agua’ in Portuguese). Apparently, Portuguese galleons would dock at the lower bastions where their drinking water would be replenished from the fort’s reservoir (I have always wondered where the spring is now or, how the moat would be filled with water). I have been told stories of how the moat was filled with dangerous crocodiles (I wonder if that was true!)
I have been to the fort a couple of times to catch the setting sun from up there. The hilltop affords lovers one of the most romantic spots in Goa. If you are in Goa, do make it a point to visit the fort and lighthouse … And don’t forget to take your camera along with you!