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Chapora Fort

Chapora Fort

This one built by the Portuguese in 1617 fell to Maratha raids during the 17th century and was subsequently reclaimed by the colonisers before it was finally deserted in 1892. The laterite structure now mostly in ruins has little to offer visitors except a great view of Anjuna and Vagator beaches. Till the late ‘90s, this abandoned spot was often used for rave parties.

This ancient laterite fort on the Chapora river, although long since abandoned from a military standpoint, is nevertheless majestic and an enduring historical monument. Known for its spectacular views and sunset vistas, this is a popular spot for tourists to visit especially in the evenings.

Although little remains of the barracks and other buildings that once stood within the forts embrace, it continues to attract historical buffs, who know about the great battles that were once fought here. To the average visitor however, it is a collection of sturdy, irregularly shaped walls, with just a hint of secret tunnels that can be found by the keen observer.

More recently, Chapora Fort’s biggest claim to fame is that it was the fort used during the filming of the Hindi blockbuster film ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ (the heart desires), a 2001 comedy-drama movie starring Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Akshaye Khanna, Preity Zinta, Sonali Kulkarni and Dimple Kapadia. In fact, it is often known as the ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ fort, after the movie gained cult status.

Chapora Fort or Dil Chahta Hai Fort

Best time to visit
The fort is best visited in the evenings, once the fierce afternoon heat has receded. It offers a spectacular view over the peninsula, the Chapora River and the beaches of Chapora, Anjuna and Vagatore. It is also a great place to watch the panorama of a fiery sunset over the Arabian Sea. This alone, makes a visit and the climb up to the Chapora fort, more than worthwhile.

Location
Located in the Bardez Taluka, Chapora Fort is easily accessible from the market town of Mapusa, which is about 10 km away. There are buses that run from Mapusa to Anjuna and Vagator with a stopover at the fort.

History
The history of the fort is long and varied. It has been held by many rulers for varying lengths of time. The village of Chapora, and the fort, get their name from ‘Shahapura’ or, ‘the town of the Shah’. This was due to the fact that it was once the stronghold of the Sultanate of Bijapur.

When the Portuguese defeated the Shah and seized the fort, it had great military significance for them, as the Chapora river marked the northern boundary of Goa, with Pernem on it’s opposite bank, being the province of the Maharaja of Sawantwadi.

This fort, although formidably built has fallen multiple times to the Maratha might, once in 1684 and again in 1739. In 1741, during the ‘Novas Conquistas’ or New Conquests, the Portuguese regained the fort and further conquered the Northern territory of Pernem, thus decreasing the military significance of the Chapora fort.

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