Fort Tiracol – Beautiful view of enchanting gun-enclosures and the vast sea.
Goa, being a famous destination with tourists, both Indian as well as foreigners, has a lot to offer. Not just in terms of its beaches, but its vast patches of greenery too. Living in Goa, I decided to make the most of it by visiting the places which are frequently visited by tourists and also the ones which are not.
During the first week of October, we went to one such place in Goa which is not visited much by tourists and that is Fort Tiracol.
This Fort has a lot of history attached to it. It was built in the 17th century by Maharaja Khem Sawant Bhonsle, the Raja of Sawantwadi. It is built on a a hillock on the Northern bank of the river, which gives an amazing view of the Arabian sea. It is known that the Bhonsles of Sawantwadi kept a sizeable fleet of native vessels which sheltered in the Tiracol River. The fort initially consisted of 12 guns, a barrack and a chapel.
The Fort was invaded by the Portuguese, who rebuilt it again in 1764 AD for the defense of Goa. Later, in 1961, the fort was used as a ground for freedom fighters during the liberation of Goa. Later, the fort was converted into a heritage hotel providing beautiful views of enchanting gun-enclosures and the vast sea. Presently, the Heritage Hotel does not function any more though. The lease of the hotel was discontinued as the Goan government wants the heritage of the fort to be experienced by tourists.
Reaching the Fort is the most interesting part. Since, we started from South Goa; it took us nearly two and a half hours to reach the fort including a stop to Nossa Senhora da Penha de Franca- a church which was being renovated.
We crossed the beach stretch of Ashvem, Arambol and Morjim to reach Keri Village. There are two ways to reach Tiracol. A) By taking a ferry to cross the river and reach the other side and B) By taking the bridge which takes you to the border of Maharashtra.
When we reached the ferry point at Keri beach, the ferry was on the other side of the river. On inquiring with the locals, we came to know that the ferry would take at least 30 minutes. So we decided to take the bridge which took us to the border village of Sawantwadi, Maharashtra. From there it’s a 10 minute drive to Tiracol. Even though we had to enter through Maharashtra, the area where the Fort is situated is in Goa. Due to the invasion of the Fort by the Portuguese, the area of the Fort remains in Goa. Before we reached the Fort we came across police at the border check post who checked our vehicle. They spoke to us in Marathi and did video recording of the vehicle and the group. All of which is a normal routine at the check post I think.
The Fort is small and well maintained. It has a small chapel and a statue of Jesus Christ facing the Chapel. On reaching the top we could see Keri beach and the Arabian Sea. The view was breathtaking and we did not waste any time in taking group pictures and selfies
The fort walls are painted yellow, probably by the Hotel management. The area was quite clean and we also spotted a few monkeys jumping on nearby trees. It was quite peaceful when we reached the Fort probably because there were hardly any tourists. There was not much to see apart from the Fort so we wrapped our visit pretty early.
While returning we took the ferry to cross the river and had some chai and bhajjis at a local stall on the river bank. Overall it was a fun trip and a must visit if you enjoy a good picturesque drive.
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Evangeline Arethwala Sales
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