With a historical legacy of about 400 years, Fort Aguada is a massive and marvelous citadel defining the landscape of Goa. The fort together with its lighthouse is one of the most visited attractions in Goa. Situated in Candolim, a major tourist hub in North Goa, Fort Aguada stands overlooking the Arabian Sea and offers mesmerizing views of the surrounding areas. An epitome of Portuguese heritage and architecture, this seventeenth-century fort definitely deserves to be on your itinerary when you head out of your hotels in Goa for a sightseeing trip.

Looking for more details about this heritage monument which was once among the most formidable Portuguese forts in Goa? Here is everything you should know, such as the history, timings, entry fee, and other details about Fort Aguada and lighthouse in Goa. 

Fort Aguada Quick Info

Location Candolim, North Goa 
Type Hilltop Fort
Timings 9:30 am to 6:00 pm; every day
Entry Fee Free
Still/Video Camera Free
Built in 1612
Commissioned by Portuguese rulers
Architectural Style Portuguese military architecture
Distance from Panjim 17 km (approx.)
Material Used Laterite

Fort Aguada: History

Fort Aguada traces its origins to 1609 when its construction was started by the Portuguese who were ruling over the region. The construction continued for the next three years and was completed in 1612 under the supervision of Viceroy Ruy Tavara. The word Aguada means freshwater in Portuguese language and the fort derives its name from a freshwater spring located within it. It is recorded that crews of sailing ships used to replenish their stock of potable water from this spring.

Aguada Fort was built to guard and defend the Portuguese stronghold in Goa against the Maratha and Dutch invaders. Owing to its location at the confluence of the Arabian Sea and the Mandovi River, it became the most prized fortress for the Portuguese back in the seventeenth century.

In 1864, a four-storied lighthouse was erected within the fort’s premises. For a long time after that, the fort served as a reference point for the ships and vessels sailing in from Europe, thanks to the lighthouse. In 1976, the lighthouse was finally abandoned and it is currently closed to the public. However, there is a new lighthouse built in the fort premises, which is called the Aguada Lighthouse. Interestingly, the fort premises also houses a jail which was actively used during the administration of the 100th prime minister of Portugal, called Salazar. It is one of those few forts in India that has never been conquered by an enemy.

Fort Aguada Architecture

Aguada Fort is a splendid example of the Portuguese military style of architecture. It was constructed using laterite stone, which was found in abundance in Goa. The fort is categorized into two parts – the upper part and the lower part. The upper part was designed to serve as a fort and a huge watering station. The lower part extended a safe berth for the ships belonging to the Portuguese rulers. The fort is enveloped by walls as high as 5 meters and as wide as 1.3 meters. There are bastions that surround the fort on three sides while the fourth side has a gateway that faces the Mandovi River.  

In its heydays, Aguada Fort served as one of the largest freshwater storages of Asia and had the capacity to store 2,376,000 gallons of water. The fort also features a gunpowder room, bastions, and a moat. One of the most attractive aspects of the fort’s architecture is a secret passage which was built to help the occupants escape in the case of an emergency or war.  

Fort Aguada: Today

Although it doesn’t have the glory or grandeur of the bygone times, the hilltop fort of Aguada is one of the best places to visit in Goa. Its magnificent architecture as well as the breath-taking views it offers of the Arabian Sea come together to make it a top tourist attraction in the region. It is also a great spot to watch sunsets while in the Party Capital of India. One of the most luxurious hotels in Goa, namely the Taj Fort Aguada Resort and Spa, is also housed within the fort walls.

Currently, the fort houses a statue dedicated to the freedom fighters of Goa. Every year on 18th June, a ceremony is observed within the fort premises to remember and honor those brave souls who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of Goa.

Things to See in the Fort Aguada Complex

Aguada Fort holds a lot of attractions for visitors, which include the following:

  • The lighthouse
  • The series of prison cells
  • The colossal water reservoir
  • The ammunition room
  • Church of St. Lawrence, located on the outskirts of the fort (about 1 km)

Lesser Known Facts about Fort Aguada

  • The lighthouse at Fort Aguada is the oldest one of its kind in the entire continent of Asia.
  • The lighthouse initially made use of oil lamps to guide the ships out in the sea by emitting light in every 7 minutes. Later in 1834, it was upgraded to emit light in every 30 seconds.
  • At one time, a gigantic bell adorned the lighthouse that was salvaged from the ruins of the Church of St. Augustine in Old Goa. This bell was later shifted to the Church of Immaculate Conception in Panjim.
  • The fort has served as the location for various Bollywood films, including Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa starring Shahrukh Khan and Golmaal and Singham, both starring Ajay Devgan.
  • The fort was the grandstand of 79 cannons.
  • The Church of St. Lawrence stands in close vicinity to the fort. It was built by the Portuguese to prevent the enemy soldiers from firing at the fort at a close range.

Attractions near Fort Aguada

  • Sinquerim Beach (3.2 km)
  • Sinquerim Fort (3.2 km)
  • Rocky Beach (3.6 km)
  • Candolim Beach (5.2 km)

Restaurants and Nightclubs near Fort Aguada

Some of the best restaurants, pubs, and nightclubs in Goa are located in the Fort Aguada area. Our suggestions include:

  • Cohiba Bar and Kitchen (2.2 km)
  • Sinq Nightclub (3 km)
  • Soi – Authentic Goan Restaurant (3 km)
  • Tuscany Gardens (3.1 km)
  • Shivers Garden Restaurant (3.2 km)
  • Bomra’s (3.5 km)
  • Calamari Bathe and Binge (4 km)
  • Café Chocolattis (4 km)
  • Fisherman’s Cove Bar and Restaurant (4.7 km)
  • The Lazy Goose (5.5 km)
    • LPK Waterfront Nightclub (6 km)

Aguada Fort is not just a monument; it’s a place where a significant part of Goa’s history was shaped. Even if you are not a history buff, you can always enjoy the scenic beauty of the fort and capture some stunning shots of the grand citadel standing tall against the roaring waves of the Arabian Sea. And once you are done exploring this fort, you can go ahead and explore the other interesting places to visit in North Goa and have fun all along!