Hidden Gems of Goa - Reis De Magos Fort & Church
Updated: Sep 23, 2021
Continuing with our series Hidden Gems Of Goa, we were looking out for someplace other than the beaches. An exciting place, had a bit of history and some mesmerizing views around it. And one day, when I was watching a Marathi movie, I happened to see a Goan fort where some scenes were shot. The Fort looked well maintained and structurally well kept. Hence, I decided to visit this fort.
After researching, I found that the fort is called Reis Magos Fort. The Fort is situated on a small Hillock around 8-10 km from Panji (Panaji or Panjim). The fort is located near a Three Wise Men Chapel (Reis Magos means Three Wise Men in Portuguese).
On one fine Sunday evening, we decided to visit this fort. The fort is situated in a Place called Verem - Bardez. To reach the Reis De Magos Fort, we crossed Mandovi River and took a left off the road to Calangute and Baga to reach Verem Bazar. From Verem Bazaar a small road leads us to Reis Magos Fort. The entry fee to the fort is Rs. 50/- per person and the timings are from 9.00 a.m. to 5 p.m. By the time we reached the fort it was already 3.30 p.m. and we had to hurry up to see the fort.
The Fort was originally a small outpost under the Adil Shah Rule. After the advent of the Portuguese, they captured this outpost in 1541 as this was at a strategic location and constructed a fort in a typical Portuguese style architecture using Laterite stone which is abundantly found in South Konkan Region and Goa. The fort is said to be erected around 1551.
A steep pathway with palm trees on one side and Mandovi River on the other side lead us to the entrance of the Fort. The fort was recently rebuilt and was inaugurated by the then Chief Minister Late Mr. Manohar Parrikar in the year 2012.
As we entered the fort, we saw a small hole in the ceiling (covered in glass) and was mentioned as a death hole. This is one of the strategies to kill the enemy when the enemy enters the fort by pouring boiling oil or hot water through the hole.
Going further on the left was a solitary confinement cell for the prisoners. The view from the Solitary confinement Cell was worth watching as it overlooked the Palm trees and Mandovi River.
Going further there was an armory room and open courtyard with two huge structures. Both the structures have information regarding the fort, liberation of Goa, Freedom fighters of Goa, and Operation Vijay.
This fort is a small outpost or Gadhi (गढी) as we call it in Marathi. This small fort is properly fortified by the sturdy laterite walls. The Portuguese took extra efforts to build fortifications at the most crucial places considering the attack from the enemy.
The fort has long passages and artistic pathways/staircases along its fortifications, making the fort attractive and different from other forts.
The fort has two bastions and each bastion has Four huge cannons kept for protecting the fort. The cannons are marked with Portuguese emblems. At the zenith of its tenure, the Fort had 33 Canons.
This Fort stands on the north bank of the Mandovi at Reis Magos and is very much visible from the Panjim side of the Mandovi river. The newly built Atal Setu can also be seen from one of the Fortifications of this Fort.
It is said that this fort was used as a prison to lodge the freedom fighters who were involved in the Liberation of Goa movement. The certain entrances to this fort are presently closed and are not available for the general public.
We moved on to Reis Magos Church, located at the foot of Reis Magos Fort. The church has a sparkling white facade. It is said to be the first church built in Bardez in 1555. The church has impressive interiors with the highlight being multi-colored wood showing three wise men giving gifts to Baby Jesus. The church sits at the top of a graceful flight of steps at the base of which can be seen two carved lions reminiscent of Vijayanagar Temple architecture.
The Church opens every day at 6 am and closes at 11 pm.
The visit to the fort is worth your money and time. The place has some mesmerizing views of Mandovi Creek and the sea. The best time to visit is 9 a.m. or after 4 p.m. as you will be able to capture some good pictures.
Will be back with a few more Gems around Goa soon.
- Mohini Nabar