Friday, 18 December 2015

Light House at Fort Aguada



The lighthouse at Fort Aguada as most people will associate with is the one built by the Portuguese in the year 1765. This is tall round structure built on the upper fort and closed in the year 1976. Painted white, you can only view it from the outside and remains closed for entry to the general public "by order".
The Old Light House

If one were to look towards the sea on the west, you will see the new lighthouse built by us Indians in the year 1976. All lighthouses are governed by the Lighthouses Act of 1928 and are under the control of the Directorate of Lighthouse and lightship (more on this later) and so is this one. Architecturally it has no value and is a tall square structure with light unit on top. As I was viewing it from the upper fort, what caught my attention was the presence of civilians atop this government property acting in a very touristy manner posing for selfies. This had to be investigated. If they can be up there, why can't I?
The New Light House inside the Compound

As I exited the fort, I turned to the left where a road was leading to a grey compound about 50 metres away. I strode in that direction and came to a visibly "sarkari" looking property with concrete structures within its high walls and an iron gate for entry. Yes it was the entrance to the lighthouse and the best of all open to viewing by the general public. For the price of a half cup of tea, you could enter the premises and go atop the lighthouse. You can also photograph/videograph for an additional fee. No prohibitions here. Everything official.
 

The compound looked deserted. Obviously no one seems to be interested in what I would call a fantastic opportunity to go atop a lighthouse. Maybe no one knew. Maybe the tourist guides/operators saw no worthwhile business opportunity in taking their guests to this structure.

As I entered, a lone security guard with a stick approached me. I informed him of my purpose and was immediately taken to the office. The guard called out to someone through an open window. An adjoining door opened and man in a white Tee and khaki trousers walked out. He was the lighthouse keeper or "Light Keeper" in official parlance. Forty Rupees it was for two adults and one camera. Children between the ages 3 to 10 are charged Rs. 3/- by the way. Everything official, tickets issued, no extras. Absolutely polite and helpful gentleman.

Visit Charges at the Entrance
 

The guard led us to the entrance of the lighthouse. As I said earlier, there were no other souls in this compound. You have to remove your footwear before entering as a signboard announced and then climb approximately 5 stories to reach the top. Now here is a warning. As you reach the last landing level via the stairwell, the final climb is via an iron ladder about 10 feet in height which opens to the top through roughly a 60 cm X 60 cm opening. I had to drop my backpack in order to squeeze through. And mind you there is not enough space to stand there with the light equipment and other gadgetry. You have to then move through a small opening in the wall below the glass windows and stand out in the open area surrounding the beacon. And that’s when you realize the strategic importance of building a fort at that spot.

Light House Specs
 


Entrance to the Light House
 
 
Light House Office Block


The Light of the Light House.


This was my first visit to a lighthouse and it was absolutely worthwhile. Do go there when visiting Goa. There are about 185 lighthouses along the coast of India, and if any of them do allow you entry, don't miss it.
 

5 comments:

  1. Very interesting. I would love to do this

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please do visit. There is a 360 degree view of Goa waiting for you.

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