Day 2 : North Goa Trail Continues - Anjuna Beach and Fort Aguada.
Having experienced the most beautiful beach of Goa - "The Baga beach" and further south the multifaceted Vagathore, where the Chapora Fort was a sort of revelation, we were travelling southwards towards Fort Aguada. The trek up the Chapora Fort had made us somewhat exhausted and water levels of our body were down. So the immediate aim was to do some refuelling and our cab driver found one of the best places to have a coffee or sip that cool drink on offer. The place was a beach side shack near the Anjuna beach.
The Anjuna beach is not at all beautiful when compared with the Baga beach, but sitting here in the beach side shack, the field of vision covered the Anjuna beach with those rocks extending to the sea meeting the lashing waves, the beautiful sea given vivid colors by the sky and the green topped hills of Vagathore completing the frame in the background.
There were two or three such shacks and all of them were filled to the brim by the wandering souls aiming to catch a glimpse of the beautiful scenery around and to enjoy the sea breeze, sipping up their drinks.
The cool orange juice strategically positioned, overlooking the sea was something which quenched our thirst by its looks itself, eventhough when we tasted it, was not up to the mark.
Neverthless we had a pretty relaxing thirty minutes, rekindling the experiences at the Baga Beach and the Vagatore Chapora fort. Our cab driver told us that eventhough the north goa trail package by a cab ends by about 6, he is willing to overstay since we didn't do much travel on the day and he was eager to take us to one more place before calling it a day. The way this fellow behaved made us truly mesmerized. What we heard about the peace loving and friendly Goan people was proving to be true.
The Anjuna beach also had a small market towards its side, where we did a little bit of window shopping.
After the short stint at Anjuna, we were again moving further southwards, and our destination was Fort Aguada, the name itself giving a feeling that there is a relation with water. The name Aguada means fresh water and this Fort's primary aim was to store the fresh water coming out of a spring, in a big tank. This place is more famous now because of the 5 star hotel Taj Vivanta.
On the way the cab driver was busy showing us some important landmarks and houses of some eminent personalities. But nothing seemed to remain in memory than the Kingfisher villa, owned by the brewery King, the man behind King of Good times, Vijay Mallya. I always have a feeling that he is someone very well known to me may be because of the way he markets himself and the way he makes his presence felt to the common people, an example being his address to passengers in Kingfisher flight.
The gate to Taj vivanta, a comparitively budget property from the Taj Group was seen on the way. The hotel's property is too vast that no buildings could be seen from this point.
Soon the road wore a deserted look and we felt like travelling through a dense forest.
The cab came to a halt at a miniature junction near a wide open area filled with tall grass and many vehicles parked around. Got inside a pathway leading to the Fort Aguada. This place seemed to be on top a hill as we could see Panjim at a distance and the cab driver was telling us that we can see the Bungalow of Governor of Goa.
Amidst the tall grass and the cloudy sky, Fort Aguada made its first appearance. We could see a light house kind of a thing inside walls of the fort.
As we reached near the entrance there was a board which spelt out the history of Fort Aguada which provided a glimpse of what lay inside and why it was constructed.
The fort Aguada was built in 1612 and it comprises a lower fort with bastions all around and an upper fort. It skirts the seashore and ascends the summit of the bare rocky, uplands called Aguada point. The upper fort was built as a vantage point to serve as a Fort and a Watering sation to the ships while the lower fort offers a safe berth to Portuguese ships.
As we ascend the steps to the upper fort there is a Moat, which is a trench lying across the length of the fort wall serving as a primary line of defence.
There is a small bridge to cross the moat.
More steps were awaiting us at the entry point which comprised of a tall door, where a board read that entry permitted upto 6pm only, which meant we have only around 30 minutes left.
Climbed up the steps, passed through a dark narrow passage, and after some more steps we were out in the open on what seemed like a big terrace.
Towards one side of this terrace stood a majestic light house.
The terrace kind of structure had lot of small rectangular protrusions, looking through which we could see a deep hollow room kind of thing. Actually we were standing on top of the water tank which is used to store the huge fresh water supply from the water spring near by.
The tank inside was very huge, capable enough to hold more than 20 lakh gallons of water. Kids were happy to find some open space to run around. Another interesting activity was to howl through the openings towards the tank, the echo of which will come back through other openings.
We walked towards the sea facing side of the fort and stood at the Western tip from where we could see Panjim on the southern side.
But just a look at the northern side made us truly amazed. The setting sun was completely engulfed by the clouds, but the narrow openings in between the clouds was providing sun's rays to be focussed on the ships sailing on the sea, with the redness making it even more interesting.
We stood there gazing at this sight and enjoying the pretty heavy breeze flowing across. The upper fort seems to be very vast when viewedins point, with the light house wearing a deserted look.
Infact the light house is not operational after 1916. This light house was a mechanical marvel of yester years since it was designed in such a way as to emit light once in seven minutes, something which might be achieved by way of mechanical design in the 16th century. Later in 18th century it was redesigned to emit light once every 30 seconds. Was eager to know how it was achieved, but there was no one to answer. I will find out and update the design here at a later point of time.
The walls of the fort were made out of bricks carved out of solidified soil, something which is quite common in Kerala too.
Infact this construction resembled very closely to the Fort at Kannur. (See the beautiful Kannur Fort here)
Meanwhile my kid enjoyed climbing up a small room with sloping roof, which seemed to have an opening with stairs to go down the water tank.
This fort is also having an emergency escape tunnel, but could not find out where it is, coz by this time the security was blowing his whistle signifying the end of visiting time for the day.
We bid good bye to this historic fort and had leisurely walk through the vast green grass filled path way outside the fort towards the main road where our cab was parked.
It was interesting to the note that this fort extends a pretty good distance through the coastline and also comprises of a prison in the lower deck facing the sea. Earlier it was used by the Portuguese to house prisoners. Even now it is used as a prison by the Police.
Fort Aguada trip was not finished yet, the cab driver took us to the southern end of the fort by road, where the Taj Vivanta has an opening towards the sea.
Once we reached this point, the setting sun was visible more since the clouds had moved away a bit.
There was a small beach nearby flanked by the fort on one side.
Even though the beach was not that big, lots of activities were happening, probably because of the proximity to the Taj Vivanta. There was a view point on top of the fort wall extending to the sea where lot of people had gathered to catch a glimpse of the setting sun.
We too moved towards the tip of the fort. Once we were walking ahead through this extension, it seemed as if the sea is behind us.
The beautiful Taj Vivanta property was visible behind us.
This seem to be one of the best options to stay in Goa, if one can afford it, due to the plush lawns, the resort like facilities, proximity to beach and above all the relatively high altitude facing the sea ensuring cool winds right throughout the day.
The parasailing activity going around was adding real color to other wise dull looking sea because of the clouds around.
We enjoyed watching the banana ride too, where the banana shaped boat being pulled by a motor boat, with passengers tied on to the body of the boat are taken by surprise when the banana boat is overturned leaving the passengers float in the wide open sea. They then manage to climb up the banana boat again.
The barge seen from top of the Chapora fort was visible from here too.
We stood here until the Sun went below the horizon and the sky color changed to a more darker tone. On the way back to the cab one of the local guides approached us with an offer for Dolphin ride, which is a boat ride through the seas to show some diving dolphins. The ride happens only in the morning and he wants us to book our seat immediately. But since our plans were lucid we did not commit anything.
The cab slowly rolled out from its resting place quietly rolling out through the darkness outside lurching towards our dwelling plae at Calangute.
Of all the places visited on thise day, undoubtedely Chaport fort takes the crown.
Click here to read Part 5 - Panjim : A scooter Expedition
The Goan Odyssey -The story so far...
Part 1. The Konkan Experience - Watch the beautiful pictures of Konkan rail route
Part 2. Baga Beach - A beautiful beach
Part 3. Vagathore Beach and Chapora Fort - A place with diversified ambiance.
Part 4. Anjuna Beach & Fort Aguada
Part 5. Panjim - A scooter expedition
Part 6. Calangute
Part 7. The Dolphin Trip