Everyone knows Goa and everyone knows that the iconic scene of Dil Chahta Hai was shot in the Susegad state. But there is a lot more to Goa’s Chapora Fort than that!
Climbing up the steep Chapora Fort is not for the weak-hearted. Even though the Goan government has taken steps to promote tourism in and around the fort (read made it commercial and spoilt the charm), the fort is still worth a visit. Wear good footwear – your slippers will literally make you slip down the steep slopes while climbing up.
Once you find parking for your vehicle after you zoom through the scenic roads of Vagator, you’ll be spell-bound by the view that fort offers. With the roaring sea surrounding you on all sides except the one you came from and with a view that lets you see half of Goa, you are sure to fall in love with this place.
The view begins right from the point you start climbing. You see beautiful coconut trees swaying with the sea breeze, almost as if they were dancing to the tunes that the waves composed.
This fort, which was built over the site of another one can be dated back to the 14th century! Even though the current fort was built in 1717 and marked the Northern border of Goa. However there were structures existent before this fort was built. The Portuguese acquired Bardez soon after they arrived in India in 1510. Then in 1683, when Prince Akbar united with the Marathas to defeat the Portuguese, this fort was his base camp! The Maharaja of Sawantwadi also held the fort for two years in only to give it up to the Marathas in 1739. The fort lost its significance after Goa’s border moved northward.
So you are standing right in the heart of history fella!
The gate of the fort will shut sharp at 5:30 p.m. even if you are left inside. The man who is entrusted with the duty of shutting down the fort does so without worrying about how the people are going to get out. But don’t worry the narrow, small gate is not the only way of entry and exit.
Another striking feature of the fort is that a small road leads to a tiny hillock that leads to the sea. Look at the picture below!
Even though they keep the gate to this hillock shut, the wall is pretty low and you will often see people down there having a little adventure of sorts!
What most people don’t know is that this fort once had a church dedicated to St. Anthony which is not visible anymore – only some ruins are left inside the fort. There are some stone structures inside which might have been the place for the cross.
Occasionally you will find a man there who inks you with tattoos – temporary ones. His skill is flawless and that black ink will stay on your skin for days! He has a book of tattoo designs for you to choose from. And his charges are certainly not exorbitant.
You will need a good one hour to explore this fort and another one to just sit down and take in the spectacular view. On the right side of the fort you can see the less explored virgin beaches of Goa viz. Morjim, Ashvem, Mandrem beaches – the ones that come right before Arambol. The Morjim beach which is pristine is also a turtle nesting site!
Then when you are tired but at the same time relaxed get out of the fort and indulge in the lemonade and special Goan Maggi that almost all the stalls out there sell. They might also sell you an omelette but the Maggi is something you must try!
The friendly guy at the very first stall you will see has a very jolly attitude. He will tell you that the Maggi he makes with onions, tomatoes and masala is indeed magic. How? He says that the Maggi is made with ’70 different masalas of Goa’ that also includes spices. And the Maggi he will serve in a paper plate lives up to the expectations completely! There are numerous Maggi points in Goa but the one like this cannot be found.
These food stalls serve alcohol and cigarettes as well but don’t drink if you have to drive.
As you descend, you will see some stalls selling souvenirs and jewellery that is typically Goan. See if you find something to take home to refresh your memory about the place!
If you haven’t seen this place yet, go now!
This travelogue or for that matter any travelogue can never do justice in describing this heavenly fort that every traveller and every tourist must visit!
Bon Voyage people! Tell us how your experience was at this mesmerising fort.
And yes, here is the shot from Dil Chahta Hai that will seal the deal you make with yourself to visit this fort on your next visit to Goa!