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Tiracol Fort

Tiracol fort is in the Pernem taluka of north Goa. Also called Terekhol and Tirakhol, it is located at the northernmost tip of Goa beside the Terekhol River, bordering the state of Maharashtra. The fort gets its name from the river.

It was erected by the Raja of Sawantwadi in the 17th century to watch over the neighboring areas and protect naval vessels in the river, but the fort fell to Portuguese conquests. It was later associated with the freedom movement as demonstrations were held here against the Portuguese rule of Goa. The fort turned into ruins after independence in 1961. However, it has now been renovated and converted into a luxury heritage hotel.

Tiracol fort is 48.7 kilometers from Panaji by the Querim–Arambol–Agarwada Road and 36.5 kilometers north from Baga beach. There are two ways to reach. You can either take a ferry from the Querim Terminal and cross the river, or you can drive down after crossing the Kiranpani Aronda Bridge.

Location

Tiracol Fort Location: Tiracol, Pernem, North Goa, India

History Of The Tiracol Fort

Tiracol Fort

Tiracol Fort in Goa

It goes back a long time in history. It was erected by the Bhonsle king of Sawantwadi during the 17th century. Tiracol stands on top of a small hill beside the river. It is one of the smallest forts in India, more of an outpost, created to look over the surrounding areas and more importantly to protect the naval vessels of the king that used to take refuge in the Terekhol River.

The vantage point provided a good view of the Arabian Sea as well. In its heydays, there used to be a military barrack and 12 guns here.

However soon after, the Portuguese became interested because of its unique location. The 44th Viceroy of Goa attacked Tiracol through the sea in 1746. The fort fell to the Portuguese after a week on November 23rf 1746. It grew in importance under Portuguese rule. They revamped the fort in 1764.

Tiracol Fort – Timeline

  • 17th century – Erected by the Hindu Sawantwadi king Maharaja Khem Sawant Bhonsle.
  • 1746 – The Viceroy of Goa attacks Tiracol and conquers the fort.
  • 1764 – Extensively revamped and upgraded by the Portuguese.
  • 1819 – Khem Sawant Bhonsle signs a treaty with the British. The fort thus becomes an enclave as control of the surrounding areas goes to the British. Importance of the Tiracol fort diminishes.
  • 1825 – Turned into a rebel stronghold during the Portuguese Civil War. The entire garrison in the fort was beheaded.
  • 1954 – Satyagrahis or freedom fighters enter Tiracol protesting against Portuguese rule. The Indian flag was hoisted and flew for a day before the protestors were captured and imprisoned.
  • 1961 – End of Portuguese rule. Tiracol fort passes into Indian hands.
  • 1976 – Turned into a heritage hotel.

Terekhol in local language means the ‘deep and steep bank of a river’. Many believe that all the forts in Goa were once connected through an underground tunnel. But this tunnel is yet to be discovered.

Tiracol Fort – Quick Facts

Where is Tiracol Fort located?

In north Goa, 48.7 kilometers from Panaji, on the northern banks of the Terekhol River. It stands on top of a small hill and is the northernmost point of Goa, bordering the state of Maharashtra. The river meets the Arabian Sea at the base of the fort.

Who constructed the fort?

Maharaja Khem Sawant Bhonsle of Sawantwadi in the 17th century to protect naval vessels in the river and stop attacks from the sea and land.

How big is the fort?

Very small. In fact, this is the smallest fort in Goa. It is just bigger than a small outpost.

Construction

Courtyard in the middle with a chapel at the center. Steep walls on top of the hill. Ramp on the first floor, but with only two corners, unlike most forts where the ramp circles the entire area. Big palm trees all around. Just behind the fort, you will find about 80 steps, which will lead to a circular platform that overlooks laterite rocks. This platform used to be a sweet water well earlier.

What is inside the fort?

Central courtyard, church, site of the 12 cannons, the ramp, and the platform. A memorial of freedom fighters just outside the fort.

Church of St. Anthony

The Viceroy of Goa de Almeida constructed a church for the Holy Trinity after capture. This later became the Church of St. Anthony. People from the local villages come here for the Sunday morning service. An annual feast is held in May. Wooden interiors that are more than 100 years old. Very nice ambience.

Tiracol Fort During The Portuguese Civil War

The fort played an important part during the Portuguese Civil War. In 1825, it used to be a rebel stronghold. Dr. Bernardo Peres da Silva, who was the first Viceroy born in Goa led the revolts. The entire garrison was beheaded. The heads were then placed on stakes and displayed. Great damage was also done to the fort.

Tiracol Fort In Goa’s Freedom Struggle

India became an independent country in 1947, but Goa continued to remain under Portuguese rule. The locals were demanding the end of Portuguese control and annexing to India. On 15th August 1955, freedom fighters entered the fort and raised the Indian flag. Three of them died while raising the flag. Fresh troupes were sent and the Portuguese again regained control a day later.

The Hotel

Shortly after independence, the Tiracol fort was once again renovated. Goa Tourism turned it into a hotel in 1976. Its management has changed many times since then. It is now a privately run heritage luxury hotel.

Top 6 Reasons For Visiting The Tiracol Fort

  1. To get a commanding view of the Arabian Sea and the Terekhol River.
  2. For a nice, relaxing vacation. The area is away from the Goa hotspots so you will have a peaceful time here. But it is only half an hour from Arambol, an important beach in north Goa.
  3. There are many beautiful and secluded beaches in the area you can visit.
  4. To have lunch at the hotel’s tavern overlooking the Arabian Sea.
  5. Learn about the rich history of Goa.
  6. To visit a chapel and see its 100 year old wooden interiors.



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