Welcome to Cabo da Rama
Named after Rama of the Hindu Ramayana epic, who was said to have spent time in exile here with his wife Sita, the original fortress was held by various rulers for many years. It wasn’t until 1763 that it was obtained by the Portuguese from the Hindu Raja of Sonda and was subsequently rebuilt; what remains today, including the rusty cannons, is entirely Portuguese.
Although the fort saw no real action after the rebuild, it was briefly occupied by British troops between 1797 and 1802 and again between 1803 and 1813, when the threat of French invasion troubled the British enough to move in. Parts were used as a prison until 1955, before the whole thing was allowed to fall into ruin.
There is little to see of the old structure except for the front wall, with its dry moat and unimposing main gate, and the small church that stands just inside the walls, but the views north and south are worth coming for. Services are still held in the chapel every Sunday morning.
To get to the fort from the coast road between Betul and Agonda, turn west at the red-and-green signposted turn-off about 10km south of Betul. The road dips into a lush valley then winds steeply up to a barren plateau punctuated by farmhouses and wandering stock. The fort is at the end of this road, about 3km from the turn-off.
Local buses come here from Margao or Betul (₹15, around 40 minutes) several times daily but check times for returning buses as you might get stuck. A couple of simple cafes outside the fort entrance serve snacks and ice-cold drinks.
A return taxi to Cabo da Rama costs around ₹800 from Palolem, including waiting time. With your own transport it’s an excellent ride from Palolem, Agonda or elsewhere along the south coast.