Naroa fort Goa is more than 300 years old. It’s an historic fortress constructed on the island of Divar or ancient Dipavati which is close to the banks of the Mandovi River of the old city of Goa. Originally constructed by the Muslims, it was deserted in 1834 and has most of its phase in a state of ruins presently. The island on which it stands is a league (5.56 kilometres) in size and a quarter of a league in width.
The ruins of the castle are evident on the northern phase of the island housing the Naroa village.
History of Naroa Fort Goa
The peaceful ferry jetty connecting the Tiswadi or Ilhas de Goa (Islands of Goa) taluka (administrative division) to the Bicholim city, in North Goa district, was once a hostile border between the Portuguese and the kingdom of Bijapur. Hence a fortress was erected to guard this entry point in the 17th century. The place in which the fort was built was once considered a ‘tirtha’ (holy) site for the Hindus up till the time it was taken over by the Portuguese conquest in the early 18th century. After the end of the Portuguese rule, it served as a residence for many noble families of Goa.
Architecture of Naroa Fort Goa
Fort Naroa was once built incorporating the Hindu architectural fashion however was later modified with the Portuguese style underneath the Portuguese rule. Though most of the fort has ruined, its remaining section does mirror its structure and history. Most of the fort is made of bricks and tough stones alongside with mud similarly imparting a experience of cutting-edge building approach. The outer partitions of the citadel are round 15 feet high and keep a black texture, whilst the monument internal is tinted in pure white offering a scenic view of the citadel from some distance to the tourists.
Religious and Tourism Relevance of Naroa Fort Goa
Fort Naroa and the island Divar is still seen as a ‘tirtha’ site to the Hindu devotees who annually visit the place to bathe and worship. The religious temples and churches in and around the fort attract pilgrims. The ‘Gokul Ashtami’ festival observed in devotion to Lord Krishna every year is attended by a large number of people from across the country.
There are also churches near the fort, one of which is the chapel of Our Lady of Candelaria, which was built under the Portuguese rule on the foundations of the Saptakoteshwar Temple that was destroyed. The sanctum of this chapel is round and topped by a dome, which is a unique feature found only in two other chapels in Goa. After the destruction of the temple, its ‘Shivalinga’ was placed on the wall of a village well where it remained for many years.
The ‘tirtha’ too was shifted to the other side and that is where the Hindus converge in large numbers to bathe and relieve themselves of all sins on the day of Ashtami. It is called ‘Porne Tirtha’ and a small Hindu shrine is built there.
There is a church inside the fortress too, which was built by captain of the fort Diogo da Silveira, upon noticing in inspection that the fort was practically empty and the entire garrison of the fort were only attracted to a neighbouring church on Sundays.
Though this church is dedicated to the Holy Spirit, a statue of St. Thomas the Apostle adorns the main altar. The adjacent old garrison church still serves the locals and houses many graves, perhaps of its gallant Captains who now sleep peacefully, as all hostilities have been put to rest!
Apart from the standing temples and churches, the place surrounding the fort is relevant for scenic and sightseeing purposes. Being near the banks of Mandovi River, the fort and places nearby make a picturesque locale.