On the banks of the river Mandovi , in a village named Reis Magos , near Panjim in Goa , stands the Reis Magos Fort right next to the church with which it shares its name. I was expecting it to be crowded owing to its proximity to the bustling capital city , but we were the only ones inside the fort.
Reis Magos in Portuguese means ‘ Three wise men’ . This is the oldest fort in Goa . The once impregnable fort was used as a prison and a hospital before it began falling apart and was abandoned in 1993. The restoration that began in 2008 has restored parts of the fort and transformed it into a cultural center. It’s a short trek to the fort , but there is a free van pick up for senior citizens and parents with infants.
The first thing one sees as one enters the fortress is the death hole.
The death hole was used to shoot or pour hot oil on enemies who had breached the gates. A little ahead is the hole in the wall that was once a solitary confinement cell.
In the above picture you can see a banyan tree that began to grow as a parasite on a coconut tree that stood there once and eventually strangled it. The dead coconut tree caught fire in 2008 , the banyan tree was held in place with steel ropes and is now supported by a concrete pillar . What stories this place has to tell !
There are seven galleries , each dedicated to an artist or theme. I loved these by Mario de Miranda .
So this is Reis Magos , a lot of history , a fort with an awesome view , a quiet place to spend a few hours and some lovely pieces of art.