: The Central Jail and a 19th Century Lighthouse
Fort Aguada is strategically situated at the estuary of the river Mandovi and was constructed in 1612 as a guard against invasions from the Dutch and the Marathas. The walls of the fort are 5 m high and 1.3 m wide. It is of little surprise then, that this remains the only fort that was not conquered by any invaders during the 450 year long rule of the Portuguese empire. "Agua" in Portuguese means water, thus the fort derived its name "Aguada" to denote a place where water is accumulated. The area around the fort housed a large well and a number of springs that provided fresh drinking water to voyagers that arrived by ship. An interesting feature in the majestic fort is a 13 m high lighthouse built in 1864, which initially used an oil lamp to show seafarers the way. It was later renovated and modernised in 1976. A one time the lighthouse was home to a gigantic bell that was retrieved from amongst the ruins of the St. Augustus monastery in Old Goa. However, the bell has now been moved to the Our Lady of Immaculate Conception church at Panaji.
On the north side of the fort, a rampart of red-brown laterite just into the bay to form a jetty between two small sandy coves. This picturesque spot is known as Sinquerim Beach. Fort Aguada resorts, among the most expensive hotels in India, lords over the beach from the lower slopes of the steep si ded peninsula.
The ruins of the fort can be reached by road; head through the Taj village, and turn right when one sees the sign. Nowadays, much of the site serves as a prison, and is therefore closed to visitors. It's worth a visit, though, if only for the superb views from the top of the hill where a four-storey Portuguese lighthouse, erected in 1864 and the oldest of its kind in Asia, looks down over the vast expanse of sea, sand and palm trees of Calangute Beach on one side, and across the mouth of the Mandovi to Cabo Raj Bhavan or The Cabo Palace, and the tip of the Marmagoa peninsula, on the other.