Cabo da Rama Fort

Located in Canacona taluka Cabo da Rama - Cape Rama -, takes its name from Rama, the hero of the Hindu epic Ramayana, who, along with his wife Sita holed up here during his exile from Ayodhya. The promontory was crowned by a fort centuries before the Portuguese cruised in and wrested it from the local Hindu rulers in 1763.alt

They erected their own citadel soon after, but this now lies in ruins; a crumbling turret still houses a couple of rusty old Portuguese cannons. Until 1955, the bastion housed a prison; now its only habitable building is a lonely government observation post occupied from time to time by a couple of young scientists from the National Institute of Oceanography.

Moving south of Madgaon, a deviation from the National Highway going to Karwar at Chinchinim, a quiet bumpy road goes towards the hills on the edge of the sea. At the end of this long winding road is the lonely Cabo De Rama. The headland of Cabo De Rama had been a fortress much before the Portuguese ever reached Goa.

The fortress on this site was held by various rulers for many years, and it was in 1763 that it was gained by the Portuguese from the Raja of Sonda. It was subsequently rebuilt, and what remains today, including the rusty cannons, is entirely Portuguese. Although the fort saw no real action after the rebuild, it was briefly occupied by British troops.

There is little to see of the old structure beyond the front wall with its dry moat and main gate, and the small church which stands just inside the walls. The church is still used, and its pristine whitewash contrasts notably with the blackened stone of the ruined front rampart.

altThe western side of the fortress, where the cliffs drop sharply to the sea, provides a great view both to the north and south. There is practically no sign of life on the hilltop at all, apart from a few soaring sea eagles, and the occasional monkey scampering between clumps of vegetation. Own transport has to be arranged to reach the fort.