Tiracol (Terekhol) Fort

While many say the breathtaking view is the reason they visit Tiracol Fort, we’ll give you a couple more. But there’s no question that, in all of Goa, the fort offers the best view in the house. Tiracol Fort, perched on a hilltop at Goa’s northernmost tip, is off the well-worn beaches trail that has turned this little state into a tourists’ stomping ground. So, if you’re looking forward to some peace and quiet – and, frankly, who isn’t? – then make tracks for Tiracol Fort.

The fort has been converted into a heritage hotel but the staff will likely let you in to take in the view from one of its battlements. Even the garden outside is a good enough perch.

It’s a giddying drop to the bottom and the view is guaranteed to blow you away. Below lies the mouth of the Tiracol River that empties into the endless expanse of the Arabian Sea. On the far side of the river is the magnificent sweep of Querim Beach. Querim is a small fishing village and lingering dugouts catching the sun in the bay as they bob on gleaming waters is every artist’s dream.

Tiracol Fort was built by Maharaja Sawant Bhonsle, the Raja of Sawantwadi, the last major town in neighbouring Maharashtra. In 1764, Portuguese viceroy Dom Pedro Miguel de Almeida captured the fort from the maharaja as it provided a great lookout point for potential seafaring enemies. The fort got a makeover and bears the hallmarks of Portuguese architecture. But there’s a twist in the tale. In 1825, the viceroy of Goa, Bernado Peres da Silva, the only native-born viceroy to be appointed by the Portuguese, rebelled against his colonial masters and used Tiracol Fort during his insurrection. But the rebellion was futile. Tiracol Fort was reclaimed by the Portuguese, who owned it till their departure from India in 1961.

Getting There
Apart from the view from the top, here’s the second – and equally compelling – reason to make the journey to Tiracol Fort. In a nutshell, the journey to the top is as sweet as the destination.

The fort is 42 km from Panjim, and we are assuming you plan to get there either by car or two-wheeler. Regardless of where you’ve checked in, head for Arambol and then proceed to Querim. This is a sleepy settlement, from where you take the ferry to cross the Tiracol River. The ferry drops you off at the base of the hill, atop which the fort stands proud.

Once you leave the bustle of the cities, driving through Goa is a sheer delight, especially in the monsoon. With the very first flush of the rains, the monsoon paints the landscape in emerald and chocolate hues. The last stretch, beyond the Arondem River, is the most magnificent. So remember to cruise along and take it all in – you’ll see coconut groves, luxuriant paddy fields, scruffy settlements and silent streams. The stage is perfectly set for a lazy, day-long ‘expedition’.

One reason many people throng to Goa is her arresting landscape, which bursts into life in the rain. With coconut palms rising like sentinels from muddy banks, and velvet rice fields set against a grey and brooding sky, she is the perfect monsoon muse.

This is the second reason you want to visit Tiracol Fort.

Need To Know
Ferries and barges at Querim are government-run and the service is frequent throughout the day. The barges also take vehicles, including cars, across. So getting to the top involves absolutely no legwork!

Tiracol’s Food Trail
This one’s not exclusively for foodies because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love a hearty, home-cooked Goan meal, especially on a rainy day? The great news is that along the journey up the Tiracol hill, you will find a smattering of shacks that serve mouth-watering Goan meals. Sample this – fried fish with a red Racheiado masala filling, mackerel curry and steamed rice. With the cool monsoon air whipping up an appetite, could you ask for more?