Forts of Goa 1: The Jewel of St.Estevam

Forts and history has always been my thing and a lot of these adorn the rich land of Goa. Goa has around 22 plus forts, some well preserved while some in ruins. So with my recent series on THE FORTS OF GOA, I intend to see most of them and ignite you upon them.

I occasionally plan my visits to these forts when I have literally no work to do, so usually Sundays, and most of the time there tends to be some crowd around. So if you plan of visiting one when it’s much quieter, than week days are the best.

To begin with, the location we had in mind was the fort at St. Estevam. So why this one first? Technically we planned of seeing this during the Ganesh Chathurti (festival) season and it wasn’t just because of the fort. Near the island village of st. Estevam lies the village of Marcela, which is famous for its traditional and creative Ganesh idol. So I thought why not ticks off both this things on one go, since we had the time.

Starting from Panjim the state capital, the village of St. Estevam (Named after the catholic saint St.Stephen) is at a distance of 23 kms. For a much better understanding, head up straight from the famous churches of Old Goa, some 11kms from there. So if interested you can combine this with a visit to the churches.

Located in a quaint village of St. Estevam( is also known as Juvem) was my planned destination – St. Estevam fort, comfortably situated in the taluka of Illhas/Tiswadi in North Goa and crowing the village of St. Estevam.

The ride here is quiet pleasurable very homely like, though a bit long but it’s always nice to see new places around isn’t it? On my way I recognised a few spots, thanks to my good memory-as I was here a few number of years back on a college heritage tour, but had very little memory of the fort.

The fort of St. Estevam was built in 1668 and is named as the fort of St Francis Xavier(also called fort of Jua). You wouldn’t find much sign boards showing you the location, so locals are the best help. Situated on a hillock, we had to park our vehicle half way through the hillock as there is a road going up but in a very bad condition. From there on our feet is what carried us ahead. The walk up is not much and any person, young or old can do it easily.

Right from the moment you step down from the vehicle i.e. ones your attention is out from the bad road and for your safety, the view around as far as you stretch your sight is tremendously gorgeous, with the green fields swaying around on one side of the fort to the view of the river, adorned with iron ore barges and a bridge on the other. You are bound to stop and stare and admire even before entering the main enclosure. Also this place makes an ideal spot for some great photography.

The fort hillock also has a small shrine with the statue of Christ the king which was brought here from Rome in 1926, the shrine is an impressive structure with fascinating arch’s protruding at the sides up till the statue. There also stands a tall cross just a few meters from the shrine

After spending quiet some time here, sitting around admiring the beauty and taking a lot of pictures, watching the barges standard and experiencing the wind blowing in the face we moved towards the fort.

Having a decent entrance arch, the fort has a wide open space and a small store house like structure at one end, and a half preserved fence wall around is all that time has left of it In the ancient times, given its location, it was an ideal spot to keep a close watch on the merchants and traders coming from the sea. The picturesque location makes it worth spending some time here and definitely worth is the marvellous sunsets.

Initially in a stage of complete neglect, this place has been recently restored to what it is now. Though the fort might not have a lot to see as we might expect, it’s a nice experience if you are somewhere around and want to see the village of St. Estevam with a top class view.

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