Fort Aguada

sights / Military

Fort Aguada information

Opening hours
8.30am-5.30pm
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Standing on the headland overlooking the mouth of the Mandovi River, Fort Aguada occupies a magnificent and successful position, confirmed by the fact that it was never taken by force. A highly popular spot to watch the sunset, with uninterrupted views both north and south, the fort was built in 1612, following the increasing threat to Goa’s Portuguese overlords of attacks by the Dutch, among others.

The fort covers the entire headland, and the Mandovi River below was once connected with the coast at Sinquerim to form a moat, entirely cutting off the headland. One of the great advantages of the site was the abundance of water from natural springs on the hillside, making the fort an important first watering point for ships freshly arrived from Portugal; the spring also gave the fort its name, agua being Portuguese for ‘water’. Like Reis Magos and Cabo Raj Bhavan, the British occupied the fort in 1799 to protect Goa from possible French invasion.

Today visitors flock to the bastion that stands on the hilltop, although, when compared with the overall area surrounded by defences, this is only a fraction of the original fort. Once protected by a battery of 200 cannons, steps in the main courtyard lead down to vast underground water tanks, able to hold 10 million litres of drinking water. These huge echoing chambers indicate just how seriously the architects of the fort took the threat of a prolonged period of siege.

The old Portuguese lighthouse , which stands in the middle of the fort, was built in 1864 and once housed the great bell from the Church of St Augustine in Old Goa before it was moved to the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Panaji. It’s the oldest of its sort in Asia, and it is occasionally open to the public, allowing you to climb the spiral steps and enjoy the view from the top. Nearby, the new lighthouse ,built in 1976, can also usually be visited; cameras are not allowed inside.

To get to the hilltop fort, take the 4km winding road that heads east from Sinquerim Beach and loops up around the headland. Otherwise there’s a steep 2km walking trail to the fort that starts just past Marbella Guest House.