At this part of the world, time stands still. Deriving its name from the Hindu Epic the Ramayana, this ancient fort far predates the even Portuguese conquest in Goa, making it one of the oldest forts in Goa. Though time and the elements have weathered this buff structure, it still stands today, guarding the mouth of the Sal River and commanding panoramic views of the Arabian sea and its surrounding countryside.
The western side of the fortress, where the cliffs drop sharply to the sea, provides a great view both to the north and south. There is practically no sign of life on the hilltop at all, apart from a few soaring sea eagles, and the occasional monkey scampering between clumps of vegetation.
The History Behind Cabo de Rama
This ancient fort has been standing on the bluff overlooking the Cape for centuries. It changed hands many times during its history and was controlled sometimes by the Hindu rulers and sometimes by the Muslim rulers. The Portuguese wrested it from the control of the Raja of Soonda in 1763 and remained in control of it for the rest of the colonial rule of Goa.
When the fort was no longer useful as a military bastion, it was converted into a prison in 1935 and continued to be used in this capacity until 1955.
Legend of Cabo de Rama
This mighty fortress of Cabo de Rama is said to have a religious connection. The name of this place and the fort originates from the Hindu mythological epic Ramayana. According to religious beliefs, Lord Rama along with his beloved wife Goddess Sita and brother Lakshman had resided here during their exile which lasted for fourteen long years. Although not as impressive as some of the other forts, those who prefer to do their sight-seeing with a certain amount of solitude would probably appreciate the peace and quiet that prevails here. Although there are a couple of soft drink vendors at the fort entrance, the rest of your visit can be passed without any untimely intrusions by humanity. A little slice out of time, it is easy to imagine it restored to its former glory, defending the cape with the roar of artillery and blasts of canon fire.
The fort covers an impress 180,000sq.m. and is built, like most of the other ancient structures of Goa out of laterite rock. When the Portuguese took over the fort, they constructed military barracks, command posts and officers’ quarters. They also equipped it with 21 canons and the embrasures to hold the same.
As was their habit they constructed a church within the walls of the fort. This church, dedicated to St. Anthony, is still in use today. Its cleanly white washed structure makes a vivid contrast with the blackened walls of the fort.
The citadel now lies in ruins and only one of the walls is completely preserved. However, the main entrance to the fort has been completely reconstructed and lends an imposing air to the monument. Although this fort cannot be said to be in good repair, it is nevertheless still an impressive and historically significant monument.
The Fort today
Today only the Church of Santo Antonio is still in regular use and consequently is the best maintained part of the fort. The buildings that were used as a prison till 1955 after it was taken over by the British from 1792 to 1813. These buildings are also reasonably habitable and are used as a government outpost, occasionally housing scientists and researchers from the National Institute of Oceanography. The main entrance has been restored and yellow washed but the fort now lies in ruins.
It is notable, however, that there are still a couple of ancient canons which were left behind when the Portuguese abandoned the place, and have been left there ever since. One can walk around the fort walls, taking in the view of the surrounding countryside. From the Western wall, the full panorama of the Arabian Sea lies beneath. There is also a narrow, and steep pathway that can be used to travel from the fort down to the beach below.
The fort has elaborate defenses complete with a moat, gatehouse and several bastions. Many of the bastions still have large cannons lying strewn above them. This fort houses a small chapel which is in use till date. Besides the chapel is a small grotto with a statue of the Virgin Mary. The fort also used to have a well and two springs from which cold and hot water used to emerge from two different spouts. The fort also houses a large water tank with stone steps descending into it. Also, within the fort are ruins of buildings that may have been used are quarters for the troops stationed at the fort.
This is the best place for those who want to be away from stressful life, because this place offers peace and serenity. From the fort one can get a great view of the Arabian sea and the nearby Cabo de Rama beach. You can get to this place by either by hiring a car, taxi or even by a bus which drops you right to the fort from Margao or the nearby town of Canacona.
Best time to visit
This fort provides a good vantage point to watch the sunset over the Arabian Sea and this is a good time to visit. It is also advisable to not visit during the monsoon season as there is little shelter to be had from a sudden shower of rain.
What to do here?
Sit, relax and take in the charm of the fort overlooking the sea. Once here, you can follow unbeaten path through the forest and find yourself a secluded beach. You may be surprised to find an occasional sighting of animals and birds like eagles, monkeys, and sometimes snakes too, so be careful.
At a distance of 60 km from Panjim Kadamba Bus Stand, 56 km from Vasco Da Gama Railway Station and 27 km from Margao Railway Station, The Cabo De Rama Fort is situated in Canacona, South Goa. This is one of the prime attractions in South Goa. The only way to travel to the fort is by driving with your cars or bikes or you can hire a taxi.
- Carry food and water as there are no restaurants near the fortress.
- Wear comfortable clothing and track shoes and if you intend going down the beach you may also want to carry a pair of flip flops
- As an educated member of society please do not litter around the area
9:00 am – 5:30 pm
*No Entrance Fee*