As you move to the far end towards Sinquerim you head to one of Goa’s well-known monuments, Fort Aguada. The drive to Candolim takes you through a maze of streets lined with stores, restaurants that entice a traveller. There are two ways of reaching the fort. One is through driving the Aguada-Siolim Road in Sinquerim (Candolim, Goa) from Sinquerim beach. The other is a shorter 2 km foot path, but it should be noted that it is a steep climb.
The Aguada fort is a monument to Portuguese construction and engineering. Although parts of it have fallen to the ravages of time, much of it is intact and it remains the best preserved Portuguese fort in India today.
It is named after the fresh water spring that gave the fort a constant supply of potable water, ‘agua’, Portuguese word for water and ‘Aguada’ signifying a place where water is collected.
Fort Aguada is a typical example of Portuguese military architecture. Built of durable laterite stone, so easily available all over Goa, its massive bulwarks which stand fully 5 metres high and 1.3 metres thick, have stood the test of time, lashed as they are by fierce monsoon storms and winds. The fort covers the entirety of the peninsula, and was built using the natural terrain in order to make it more difficult for its walls to be breached.
In addition to an enormous cistern in which over 2,000,000 gallons of water was be stored, the fort also contained a formidable citadel, secret passageways and the capacity for up to 200 canons.
The oldest of its kind in Asia, this lighthouse was built in 1864. It once used oil lamps to emit a beacon of light once every seven minutes, which was later upgraded to emit light every 30 seconds.
Although this lighthouse fell into disuse in 1976 and most often closed to the public, there is a new lighthouse built closer to the edge of the cliff, called the Aguada Lighthouse and DGPS. One can, for a small fee, climb the steps of the lighthouse and enjoy the view of the areas surrounding the fort. Photography and videography are allowed.
Part of the fort has been converted into the Aguada Jail, which mainly houses those accused of narcotics, sale of drugs and trafficking. This is one of the largest jails in Goa, and since it is very much in use, is closed to members of the public.
No visit to the Fort is complete without a visit to the Church of St. Lawrence, patron saint of sailors. Built just on the outskirts of fort, this was one of the tactics used by the Portuguese to prevent their bastions from being fired upon at close range.
The Fort Aguada is open all days of the week from 9.30am to 6.00pm