Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cabo De Rama Fort, Canacona District, South Goa, India

At first glance, this fort resembles the fort depicted in the Dil Chahta Hai Bollywood movie, but it is not the same. The Dil Chahta Ha fort is the Aguada Fort situated north of Panjim, while this one is the Cabo De Rama Fort situated in the Canacona district of South Goa.

The name though comes as a surprise as most of Goa has Portuguese or Christian names due to its rich Portuguese history. But, this place has a different history altogether and that too dating into ancient times.

It is believed that in the age of the Ramayana, Lord Rama and his wife Sita took shelter inside this fort during their 14 year exile from Ayodhya. And it is this moment in history that gives the fort its name.

This ancient fort is also known as Cape Rama. The Cabo De Rama Fort was first occupied by Hindu rulers who spread their empire all over India. The fort has exchanged hands between Hindu, Muslim and Portuguese rulers and has seen some of the most gruesome battles fought in history.

The Portuguese rulers waged battles against the Hindu rulers and established their right over the fort around 1763. It was abandoned when the Portuguese left this place. Later, this fort housed a government prison till 1955 and was abandoned again. Today, this fort is in ruins, but its natural beauty and scenic setting attracts tourists of all types.

The western side of the fort commands a stunning view of the Arabian Sea. In fact, it is this very view that gives you an idea of the fortress like design of this fort. It is a short 10 minute hike from the main entrance/parking lot to reach this western side.

One can also walk around the different trails to explore the various parts of the fort. There is a chapel that you will discover as soon as you enter the fort premises. This chapel is still in use and its white structure is a stark contrast to the black fort.

If you keep walking around the fort perimeter, you will keep discovering new places and view points. One can also walk right on the fort walls, though this can only be done if you trust the ancient wall structure.

At certain places, one can still see turrets and cannons that were used when this fort was fully functional. At other points, there are more view points that make you gape in wonder. I walked across nearly the entire fort area and found this fort to be mostly in ruins.

Most of the fort area is today covered in trees, but it is the fort walls that give the fort its character. I guess Goan red soil is the key element used in the construction of the fort walls.

Overall, the Cabo De Rama fort is definitely worth a visit if you happen to be holidaying in South Goa. Its fabulous sea views are totally worth the short hike in the warm Goan Sun. I would definitely recommend this place for a half day trip if you are the exploring kind. If not, you can just stop by for a short trip.

Cabo De Rama Fort is situated about 18 kilometres from Palolem Beach. Regular Bus services are available from Madgaon to Cabo De Rama. Cabs can be hired from Canacona or Palolem.

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