Portuguese Sea Forts Goa, with Chaul, Korlai and Vasai

The Portuguese presence on the Arabian Sea coast of the Deccan dates from the beginning of the 16th century, with the establishment of Goa as the capital of a rapidly expanding maritime enterprise that eventually encompassed much of Asia. In order to protect the ships carrying their goods, merchants, troops and missionaries to India, the Portuguese constructed a string of seaside strongholds in and around Goa, and further up the coast of what is now Maharashtra.

This guidebook is the first to showcase the vestiges of the Portuguese sea forts of the Deccan, drawing attention to their surviving battlemented ramparts and angular bastions, watchtowers and lighthouses, chapels and churches. While some forts have recently been restored, such as Reis Magos and Tiracol in Goa, others are now dilapidated and overgrown.

This guidebook contains descriptions of all the major Portuguese sea forts of the region, illustrated with newly commissioned photographs and site maps.

Surendra Kumar is a photographer based in Hampi, Karnataka, specialising in topographic panoramas. His images have been published in Discovering the Deccan: A Panoramic Journey Through Historical Landscapes & Monuments (Mumbai, 2011), Temple Architecture and Art of the Early Chalukyas (New Delhi, 2014), and Hyderabad, Golconda (Mumbai, 2015).

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About the Author

Amita Kanekar

AMITA KANEKAR is an architectural historian and novelist, based in Goa. She has published on the Ikkeri Nayakas of Malnad-Canara in western Karnataka, neighbours and sometime associates of the Portuguese in Goa. Her novel about the Buddha, A Spoke in the Wheel, was published in 2005 by HarperCollins; a second edition was released in 2014 by Navayana, Delhi. She is currently working on the architecture of Portuguese Goa, also on a novel set in the Mughal period, and a monthly column on history and politics for the local press. She also teaches at the Goa College of Architecture, Panjim.