History of Rachol Fort
Rachol Fort was erected during the rule of the Bahmani Sultanate. It was the rule of Mahmud Gawan (1461-1481), when this fort was most probably built. Gawan is identified as the ruler who regained Goa from the rulers of the Vijayanagar Empire. This is considered to be a golden era of the Bahmani dynasty which came to an end with the death of Mahmud Gawan. The Vijayanagar king, Krishnadevaraya then decided to weaken the Bahmani Empire by propelling an attack. This attack resulted in Krishnadevaraya becoming the new master of the Rachol Fort.
In 1510, the Portuguese gained control over Goa and the clever Krishnadevaraya had consequently thought of setting up cordial relations with them. For this, he used their expertise to facilitate a better water supply to his kingdom. The Portuguese provided their support or military help to Krishnadevaraya against the Sultanate of Bijapur or Adil Shah of Bijapur. In return, he handed the Rachol fort to them as a gesture of gratitude and friendship. So, it was in 1520 that the Portuguese became the new masters of the Rachol Fort. Under the Portuguese rule, the Rachol Fort had undergone many refurbishments to act as a defensive barrier. For example, to increase its strength, the fort was provided with 100 cannons. The location of the fort on the banks of the Zuari River made it strategically valuable to the Portuguese. From 1554 to 1577, the captain of the Fort was Diogo Rodrigues. It was renovated and rebuilt in 1604. The fort remained under the control of the Portuguese rulers for several years, defending the Portuguese area against the Muslim and Hindu invaders. In 1684, the Rachol fort protected the Portuguese colony form the armies of the Maratha ruler, Sambhaji. This defensive barrier held them at bay for months. With the power of 100 guns on its walls, the southern part of the Portuguese empire in India was defended by the Rachol fort, considering the fact that the Marathas had taken control of the Chapora fort and some northern territories. To commemorate this, there was a plaque sent from Portugal reading “Sendo o conde de Alvor vice-rei da India mandou reformar esta fortaleza depois de se defender do cerco de Sambagy, em 22 de abril de 1684”. This translates into "Sent from the count of Alvor viceroy of India after reform of this fortress on defending the siege of Sambhaji, on 22 April 1684", in English.
The fort was renovated again by the Marquis of Alorna in the years 1745 and 1756. As the Portuguese Empire gained control of the New Conquests it expanded and consequently the guns found new areas of deployment. The fort thus weakened and was finally abandoned. Also, many other forts were erected in new strategic locations to provide territorial security to the newly expanded Portuguese Empire. Thus, the once strategically valuable fort lost its military significance and fell into a state of despair. After the Portuguese left the fort the condition of this fort deteriorated even further, turning it into ruins.
Architectural Design of Rachol Fort
Even though Rachol Fort is considered to be an ancient and historically significant fort, it is important to note that the fort is in a dilapidated condition today, with only the ruins of the Rachol remaining in the fort location. It is thus said that this fort is more famous for the surrounding beauty as nothing much of the architectural details are left to be studied and analyzed. The noteworthy aspect of the fort is the archway spanning the road which leads to the Rachol seminary. It has been mentioned as a historical record that the fort once surrounded the entire hill. Today, a seminary is evident upon this hill. The fort was a home to a formidable citadel, a chapel and a church dedicated to St. John, the Baptist and also had a garrison chaplain, who was probably a Dominican. The church was built in 1565. Other physical evidences testifying the existence of a fort are a deep moat of an old Muslim fort and rice fields which extend east to the banks of the nearby Zuari River. This ditch surrounded the fort, but only the dried up remains of this moat will be evident to the visitors today.
Tourism of Rachol Fort
The Rachol Fort is known more for its surroundings than its contents. The village of Rachol has many historical monuments or heritage structures. So, it can serve as an ideal place for historical buffs to study the history of Salcete. This village is a home to the Church of Our Lady of Snows (Igreja da Nossa Senhora de Neves), which is recognized as the first church of Salcete and is called the Matriz of South Goa. This village also has Ilha de Rachol, also known as the Island of Rachol as it’s part and the Rachol Seminary which is also known as the Patriarchal Seminary of Rachol, Raiturchi Patriarkal Siminar in Konkani, and Seminario de Rachol in Portuguese. Established in 1609, this seminary is recognized as the diocesan major seminary of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Goa and Daman.
Since Margao is the administrative and economic headquarters of Salcete taluka, its transport facilities is of relevance to places within this taluka, including Rachol village. The nearest airport to the city of Margao is Dabolim Airport in Panaji. This airport is located at a distance of about 28 km from the city. As far as railway is concerned, one can stop at the Konkon railway station. This railway station is located at a distance of about 3 km from the center of Margao. It is known to be one of the major railway terminals in the southern region of Goa. It is important for the tourists to know that all the trains such as the Shatabdi Express, the Rajdhani Express and passenger trains stop at Konkon railway station. This is considered to be a convenient way of reaching Margao from various parts of the country. Roadways and highways connect Margao with the rest of the cities within the state of Goa. Local as well as interstate bus services can be accessed by tourists to reach Margao. Deluxe, luxury as well as economic buses can take one to Margao. Apart from buses, other local means of transport are taxis and hired cars which can be availed from the KTC (Kadamba Transport Corporation Ltd ) bus stand. Traveling to Margao on road is considered to be a convenient option. From Margao, Rachol is situated only at a distance of about 10 km (6.00 miles).
Indian Regional Monuments
Monuments of Goa
Monuments of Tamil Nadu
Monuments of Rajasthan
Monuments of Karnataka
Monuments Of Bihar
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