Thursday, 25 November 2010

Chapora Fort

On the 24th I took Richard with me to go and check out the Chapora Fort, Chapora river and Vagator beach. Actually my target was Chapora river in terms of possible monsoon anchorage so, on top of Chapora Fort one can get the view of all.

Vagator beach

Chapora and Vagator is north of Anjuna beach and used to be (maybe still is) the place for the hippies to indulge in drugs and rave/ trance dances. It took us a good 30 minutes to get there from Sinquerim and the driver dropped us off at Vagator beach. The village itself was very tourist oriented with guesthouses and restaurants and internet shops.

The smaller unnamed Vagator beach

We descended from the road to the beach and walked to the foot of the hill where the Fort is. The beach is actually quite pleasant with a wide stretch of sand plus it has no rocks jutting up here and there like in Anjuna.  From the other end of the beach a foot path lead upwards and so we began ascending. In about midway we came to a ridge that revealed another small stretch of beach north of Vagator, in my guide book it has no name but nonetheless it was also not undiscovered as shacks lined the beach and some tourists were tanning themselves under the sun.

Chapora river entrance

We clambered upwards to arrive to a bastion, the only bastion left in fact, facing the sea and giving a good view over the entrance of Chapora river and Vagator beach. Here the Fort defenders of old could deal out death with cannons to any intruder attempting to storm the coast or river but today only plastic bottles and empty snack bags are thrown off the rampart. The Fort compound is actually quite vast although today it is only grassland. In the middle there are some stone plinths left that indicate the whereabouts of some buildings in the days gone by.

Chapora river

Chapora river

Chapora river looks from the top quite desolate with no development whatsoever. In my chart it was indicated that there is a fishing jetty below the Fort but I could not see it. It was probably obscured by the vegetation. During monsoon it most likely provides shelter for the numerous fishing boats plying their trade in these waters. As for having a yacht here I would not even consider it due to the lack of infrastructure.

Fort entrance

After seen the place we exited from the entrance and carefully treaded our way down without being thrown off by the loose gravel on the path we somehow navigated back the shorter route to Vagator beach by going through backyards of guest houses.

The last bastion of Chapora Fort

Chapora Fort in the distance

The Chapora Fort has been fought over many a time in the past. In 1683 the Marathas joined forces with King Akbar and made this their base to attack the Portuguese. Eventually the Portuguese managed to oust the attackers from the Fort and being wiser from that lesson the present Fort was built in 1717.

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