Aguada fort is located 18 km from Panjim and roughly 52 km away from margao. The 17th century Portuguese fort stands on the Sinquerim beach, overlooking the Arabian Sea, manages to envelope the entire peninsula at the south western tip of Bardez.
A freshwater spring within the fort provided water supply to the ships that used to stop by. That is how it got its name Aguada means water in Portuguese. This fort served several other purposes. It has a capacity of storing 2376000 gallons of water, one of the biggest freshwater storages of the time in the whole of asia. This fort is divided in two segments: the upper part acted as a fort and watering station, while the lower part acted as a safe berth for the portuguese ships.
There was also a gunpowder room, an unusual lighthouse and bastions, and even a secret escape passage to use during the time of war and emergency. The water storage chamber was believed to be the greatest at the time of being built.
A part of the Fort Aguada had been converted into a jail during the Salazar administration. The Aguada jail, however, is closed for public. It has a statue which depicts Goa’s fight for freedom. On every 18th June, a ceremony is held here to salute the freedom fighters of Goa.
The Aguada Fort also has a splendid four-storeyed light house. It is the oldest lighthouse of Asia and was built in 1864. There was a time when oil lamps were used to emit light after every 7 minutes which was later changed to 30 seconds. The Lighthouse dominates the landscape of the Fort. It was closed to public gaze some years ago and was abandoned in 1976. So, a new lighthouse was built and was named as Aguada Lighthouse.
The lighthouse is surrounded by magnificent places where Panjim lies to the east along the river, with its Miramar and Caranzalem beaches leading to the Cabo with the Governor’s house on its point. Beyond the lighthouse lies the estuary of the Zuari river and the Mormugao port with the islands of St. George and Cambariem offshore. On the western side lie the famous northern beaches of Baga and Calangute. While the Candolim church is located inland to these beaches. Another significant aspect of the Fort Aguada was the small chapel dedicated to ‘Our Lady of Good Voyage’, this being named due to ships anchoring at this place after a long journey and restocking before embarking on another journey.
Fort Aguada is a fine example of Portuguese architecture. Made up of laterite stone, which is widely available in Goa, it has withstood the ravages of time. Standing tall against waters and strong winds, the magnificent fort has been built on Bardez peninsula and entirely covers it. It is surrounded by bastions on three sides and the fourth side has a gate facing the river.
The hilltop fort, though only a fraction of the original area of the fort is a popular tourist spot, especially to watch the sun set. To reach the hilltop fort there is a winding 4 km road that heads east from Sinquerim beach.