Goa’s charm goes much beyond its beaches and parties. If you wish to get some insights into the history and architecture of the smallest state in India, venture into its colonial past and explore a few heritage sights. Corjuem Fort is one such attraction that will give you a different flavor of Goa.
History Behind Corjuem Fort
Not far from the Goan village of Aldona, Corjuem Fort dates back to 1550. According to legends, this ancient fort belonged to the Bhonsle clan that ruled the Kingdom of Sawantwadi (which is now a municipality in the Indian state of Maharashtra).
However, the Maratha clan lost this fort to the Portuguese Administration of Goa when Viceroy Caetano de Mello e Castro annexed it under his rule in 1705. During the Portuguese possession of Corjuem Fort, it was rebuilt in an attempt to bolster the capital of colonial Goa – Panaji.
Sometime in the 18th century, the Bhonsle clan of the Marathas along with Rane Rajput tried to invade this fort, perhaps in an endeavor to win it back. However, the strategic placement of Corjuem Fort held the invasion off from across the Mandovi River.
There is a tale about a woman named Ursula e Lancastre who toured the world disguised as a man. She was a rebel who rejected the restrictions that the 18th-century society had placed upon women. In that era, the only way for women to travel to unknown quarters of the world unchaperoned was to dress as a person of the opposite gender. Her fate led her to become a soldier due to her manly guise. She was not only trained in the military but also navigation.
She was soon posted to Corjuem Fort to defend it. However, she could not keep up her pretense after she was caught as a war prisoner and eventually stripped.In an interesting twist to this tale, the Captain of the Guard courted the lady as he was taken by her bravery. He went on to marry the woman he was once supposed to punish with death.
In the beginning of the 19th century, Corjuem Fort functioned as a military school. During that time, the fort defended the town of Corjuem with just 4 guns and a small battalion.
Corjuem Fort Timings and Entry Fee
The Corjuem Fort is open on all days of the week from 6 AM to 7 PM. There is no fee to enter this fort.
Interesting Facts About Corjuem Fort
There are a few details about Corjuem Fort that will add to your interest when it comes to visiting it:
- This inland fort sits on top of a hill and offers panoramic views of the Goan countryside from its bulwarks.
- The fort tends to heat up in the afternoon sun, making it difficult to walk around its ramparts in the scorching sun. This is one of the reasons why mornings and evenings are more preferred by tourists for the milder temperatures.
- The use of laterite stone dominates the construction of Corjuem Fort. Within the premises of the fort are the living quarters that were once used to house the defenders who manned the fort.
- The layout of Corjuem Fort is in a square shape, with wide walls and stairs at each corner that lead to the ramparts which can be walked around.
- There are multiple murder holes and gun ports along the walls of this fort and bastions at each corner.
- Each of the bastions has embrasures for canons. However, most of the parts are in ruins today, with moss cover at many places.
- There is a well at the site of Corjuem Fort which was dug there to support the hydration needs of the soldiers who guarded the fort. The well serves no purpose today, apart from being an intriguing backdrop for photographs.
- Contrary to the nature of the fort, there is a chapel within its walls. Dedicated to St. Anthony, this chapel was perhaps visited by the Catholic soldiers who dwelled here during their posting. In the present times, the chapel is owned by the Parish of Aldona and that has helped in its renovations as well.
- The patron saint, ‘Anthony of Padua’ was also known as ‘Anthony of Lisbon’. While the first moniker attributes to his place of death in Italy, the latter alludes to his place of birth in Portugal. This Portuguese Catholic priest was also a friar of the Franciscan Order. Famous for his powerful sermons, St. Anthony was raised by a wealthy family in Lisbon.
How to Reach Corjuem Fort
Corjuem Fort is located on the island of Corjuem, which is a river island on the River Mapusa. You can reach this fort in multiple ways as described below:
By Air: If you fly into the Manohar International Airport in Mopa, it will take you 46 minutes to cover the 30 odd kilometers to get to Corjuem Fort while the distance from the Dabolim Airport is 46 km, which requires a journey of 1 hour and 10 minutes at least.
By Train: The closest railway station to this fort is Thivim Railway Station, at a distance of about 8 km away. It will take around 20 minutes to reach Corjuem Fort from there.
By Bus: The nearest bus stop to Corjuem Fort is Corjuve Fort Bus Stop, hardly 2 minutes away. If you arrive at the Panaji KTC Bus Stand in an outstation bus, you can easily find connecting buses that stop at Corjuve Fort. Otherwise, the road journey will take approximately 40 minutes to cover the estimated 20 kilometers from Panaji.
By Car: Renting a car from top car rental companies in Goa or your own vehicle is quite convenient if you are planning to drive around Goa. A road trip to Corjuem Fort will not be disappointing.
By Bike or Scooty: If you are traveling solo, as a couple or just with one friend, a bike or a scooty is an affordable alternative to a car when traveling to Corjuem Fort. Two wheelers can be rented from various providers across Goa.
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