If you are looking for amazing places to visit in North Goa, it will make you land at Chapora fort which is lying in a little ruin state at the edge of Chapora river. The fort stood at its position long back for a military significance during a fight between Portuguese and Marathas, which later lost the value. Surrounded by steep walls, it gives breathtaking views from all the sides including Vagator beach, Chapora river and of course, deep blue ocean. This fort will take you on a memory lane of Bollywood movies for sure.
Chapora Fort, located at the northern side of Goa, is famously called Dil Chahta Hai Fort. You can relive those moments by visiting it yourself. This fort overlooks the Chapora river and and is only 700 meters away from Vagator Beach. So, whenever you are nearby, try and manage your time to enjoy both of these tourist attractions.
This fort earlier had rough patches that made it difficult to hike. However, now proper trails and roads are laid down for travellers like you. Vendors also stream alongside these carpeted roads, selling their offerings to satisfy your mid-day hunger for food, juices, and water. Trekking to the slanting height of Chapora Fort becomes easy with the availability of these things and it also ensures that you do not fall sick. Upon reaching the hilltop, you will witness the wider expanse of the fort brimmed with youngsters or the newlywed couples wanting to explore an adventurous time on their honeymoon. But there are few things that make the place inappropriate for elderly people like the rocky steps and the imperfect staircase.
Many photographers, models, and actors come here for professional and personal shoots with their cameras and drones. You can also bring your camera or drone for regular photoshoots and make memories with your best friends or spouse. The view of the mesmerizing sunset along with the orange and white skyline make the spot perfect for photography.
- From Panjim
By road: The only best option available is to hire a taxi or a rented scooter if the travellers know how to drive and also are carrying the license. Through the Panvel-Kochi-Kanyakumari Highway, the road will take about an hour and ten minutes to reach by taxi. While riding a scooter, it might take a lot more time to reach, depending on the traffic.
- From Goa International Airport
By Road: Hired taxis are easily available in front of the Goa International Airport. The taxi will take approximately one and a half hours to reach Chapora Fort from the Airport.
The best moment to explore Chapora Fort is during the late afternoon when the sun is not directly over your head. In Goa, during December and January, the weather still gets too hot to bear in the afternoon, especially at the hilltops.
Hence, it’s best to travel in late December’s odd hours, to see the sunrise or the sunset without drenching travellers’ clothes in the heat. Suffice to say, picnics are also possible here during early morning or late evening. For that, travellers need to arrive between 6 and 9 am in the morning or after 2 to 3 pm in the afternoon. On average, around two hours will be sufficient to explore the surrounding and the hilltop.
-Location: Find this 17th-century fortress ruin at Bardez, Goa (The Northern side of Goa)
The Chapora Fort has passed onto many rulers in history. King Shahpur built this fort, but later it became a stronghold for the Sultanate of Bijapur. Over the 17th and 18th centuries, this fort saw a new revolution and a battle for ownership for Bardez. By 1737, Hindu king of Pernem, a Maharaja of Sawantwadi and an enemy to Portuguese took control of this fort for two years.
The province of Pernem was exactly on the opposite side of the fort and hence, it became the first target for the rulers to conquer and capture the Portuguese. By 1939, this fort came back into the hands of Marathas. However, the Portuguese’s main motive to use this fort was to seize the opportunity of the Indian rulers who were trying to get their control over Goa. The battle for control over the Chapora Fort and Goa surged to new heights during the Maratha-Portuguese war.
After the war, the Portuguese simply acquired the whole province of Pernem with a counter-attack. They didn’t take the control over the fort again, but they did everything that they could do, to reduce their dependence on military force. By 1892, Chapora Fort lost its significance when Portuguese men were successful in changing their strategy. However, that couldn’t last long when in 1961 they were forced to leave Goa. And after Goa’s independence, hippies started surrounding Vagator, Anjuna, and Mapusa; the villages and towns in the vicinity of this fort.
This laterite fort is quite steep and slanting for non-hikers or for those who have difficulty in walking because of health or age problems. Though, with time, there were proper carpeted roads just below the steep beginning of this fort.
The walls of this fort earlier had large and strong bastions. Between these bastions, soldiers used the narrow embrasures to hold canons and fire against the raiders to win battles. There are still large towers to back the remaining of those bastions. The entrance gate of the fort on the hilltop is iron wrought and is slightly rusted. Earlier, there used to be a church named after St. Anthony but now, hardly any ruins remain resembling that church.
At the commence of the 18th century, there were proper barracks and office quarters for the officers who were on duty to patrol but nothing of that sort remains now. The most interesting thing to observe and explore at the fort are the mouths of the tunnels which were used by the Portuguese for their quick escape. Travellers do hike to the hilltop for viewing the beautiful sunset and to spend some leisure time with their loved ones.
Normally, cows and goats also roam around the lower steepness of the hill, feeding on green and lush bushes. Other than that, the fort is pretty wide while it surrounds the beautiful neighbourhood of Anjuna & Mapusa villages, and Vagator beach, extended by the Arabian Sea and Chapora River.
1. Do not wear anything uncomfortable: For travellers who are planning to hike up to the hilltop, it is strongly advised not to wear anything uncomfortable like heels. Otherwise, it will only cause distress while climbing the steep region.
2. Bring ample cash: There is no ATM as such here on the hilltop or where the vendors sell the refreshments. So, if travellers feel hungry, they will have to pay cash.
3. Bring your own eatables: The vendors at the bottom of the fort might charge higher even for a water bottle because of the lack of resources. Hence, instead of waiting for them to reduce the price, travellers can bring their own resources like water, chips, sandwiches, etc.
4. Wear sunscreen and sunglasses: The sun does not set soon when you are on the hilltop. The heat might be overbearing for some. To avoid sunburns or allergic reactions, travellers should use sunscreens and sunglasses.
This fort has a very interesting tale of its ownership and creation. Firstly, it was built in 1612 by a Muslim king named Shahpura of Bijapur. His original name was Adil Shah. Then Desai’s of Sankahali occupied it. Later, in 1683, Prince Akbar partnered with his enemies: the Marathas.
The legendary tale consists of the story of the Sambhaji’s conquest in 1683. Even the Portuguese at that time, were invisible and free from any espionage, because of the height of the fort on the sloppy terrain. But the Maratha leader was pretty shrewd, clever, and smart. He knew how to strategize the plan and raid the fort. He arranged the local troupe and clung them on 1.5 m long monitor lizards.
During this siege, the Portuguese were not really prepared. So, the Marathas breached the entrance of the fort without a single shot from any fatal weapon. However, when the chief of the military got to know about the siege, the Portuguese only had one way to escape.
Chapora fort had secret tunnels constructed by Portuguese for these situations. Hence, despite the active partnership of Akbar and Marathas, who were enemies earlier, some Portuguese men were able to make a close escape during the siege. This was a time when the Portuguese realized they couldn’t control Marathas beyond the fort anymore. But around, 1717 Portuguese men had this fort back from the Marathas only to lose it in 1961, marking the independence of Goa.
Chapora Fort already had a historical story attached to its remaining fortress. But it gained its current recognition because of the famous scenes of Dil Chahta Hai movie which was released in 2001. It was a story of three friends starring Saif Ali Khan, Amir Khan, and Akshay Khanna. Majority of the youngsters in and around India loved that movie and could relate their lives with the story.
The movie scene, which was shot here was one of the most amazing and appealing ones. Herein, the viewer could see three friends standing and chatting. It was such a profound scene because their lives were going to change while they were deciding what to do about their life. Hence, this Chapora Fort got another name of Dil Chahta Hai fort after the release of the movie.
In the end, many youngsters, who are often confused and want to explore themselves out in the open, could find themselves in those three characters standing on the fort. That is why Chapora Fort is frequently visited by youngsters who either loved that movie or are ardent fans of those three actors.