Fort Reis Magos – A walk around the perimeter

With the background information about the previous post of the fort on the opposite side of river Mandovi, Fort Gaspar Dias, I had to put these pics together and get this post going… This time I will not use prose to describe the fort, but instead use poetry…
reis magos fort

Reis Magos fort towers

Dark are the stones of this fort,
Dark they become in time’s cruel games,
Some stone couldn’t stand the test of time,
And on the ground they have fallen, long time back.
reis magos fort (1)

The path leading to nowhere

Once the fort guarded lives of dreams,
Now it stands as a monument of those dreams,
Dreams that outgrown time, Yet still lingered,
All around the fort, invisible, yet heartfelt.
reis magos fort (2)

The closed door - vertical panorama

reis magos fort (4)

Side tower

What magnificence once filled this fort,
Greatness never feared to distinguish,
But those who never felt the greatness,
All from the forces from outside extinguished.
reis magos fort (3)

reis magos fort (6)

Sole cannon

Though the fort stands empty from inside,
The lingering air, the very air one breathe,
Fills in those great feelings so wonderful,
But succumb to the understanding,
All that felt, just a waste of time.
reis magos fort (7)

Church associated with the fort

reis magos fort (8)

The Overseer

reis magos fort (9)

The reason why the fort was shut

reis magos satellite pic

Satellite pic of the Reis Magos fort

I found a detailed note about the fort on a website, which I include here:

The construction of the Reis Magos Fort in the North Goa taluka of Bardez, about two miles North-East of Aguada, began in 1551 and was probably completed in 1554 during the reign of Viceroy Dom Afonso de Noronha. Even before Afonso de Albuquerque could conquer Goa, Reis Magos was a Muslim stronghold, controlled by Adilshah of Bijapur. The fort was expanded on a number of occasions and re-erected in 1707 during the reign of Viceroy Caetano de Mello e Castro. In times gone by, the Gaspar Dias fort, which has since disappeared, was facing it from across the Mandovi river in Panjim.

The fort was defended by 33 guns and a small garrison. A spring, following a little way to the East, provided it with excellent, potable water. Adding importance and beauty to the emerald surroundings, is the Reis Magos church, which rises above a large flight of steps, at the foot of the hill, on which the fort stands. The church was built on the ruins of a pagoda in 1550 by the Franciscan missionaries and its façade, sanctuary and other places bear a crown and the royal coat of arms.

The Reis Magos fort cannot match the vastness and solidity of several other forts dotting Goa’s long coastline and the river mouths. But what no other fort can match is the splendid view, which it commands, its proximity to Panjim city and its ideal location at the gateway to North Goa’s resort belt. Moreover, while most of the forts have either kissed the dust or have been rendered unsuitable to habitation, Reis Magos is still in a shape amenable to conservation.

Known as the Royal Fort, it was where the political prisoners were jailed once, after its value as a defense structure had diminished. Came Liberation in 1961, and there was no political prisoner left as an inmate of the fortified structure. So the fort logically joined the 42 sites of ancient monuments in the list of the State Archives and Archaeology Department. Subsequently, the idea dawned that there wouldn’t be a fitter spot than Reis Magos for a heritage hotel, by virtue of its matchless view. This fact prompted the authorities to denotify it. The government even toyed with the plan to turn the fort into a heritage hotel but a High Court ruling stumped the proposal.

After Liberation, the Reis Magos fort was converted into a sub-jail, where under-trials were lodged. But on July 2, 1993, it remained a lock-up no more. The steep pathway to the fort, blocked by a corroded gate, is covered with weeds and bushes. Symbolically almost, there is a handcuff locking the gate, locking out curious visitors, many of whom are foreign tourists en route to Sinquerim-Candolim via the riverine road passing by the panoramic Quegdevelim beach.

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2 responses to “Fort Reis Magos – A walk around the perimeter

  1. ‘Church associated with the fort’ is my favourite from this set, The Overseer come a close second. Closed door looks cool too…

  2. Thanks for the link back

    The Signature Of A True Human Is The Smile He/She Brings On The Face Of Others.
    LonelyPoet

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