5 Architectural Ruins in Goa You Must Visit

The splendor of Goa is legendary. People come by the droves to enjoy the sun-kissed golden sands and the warm, soothing waters of the Arabian Sea. The swaying palms, lush greenery, undulating hills and quaint villages are added bonus. Many visitors often miss the hidden treasures of Goa because they make a bee-line for the beaches.

While most visitors assume Goa’s history go back to the Portuguese, this is a misconception. Goa’s history goes beyond the Portuguese and has some magnificent, albeit long-forgotten, structures that can bring tears of joy into the eyes of a history buff. When you visit Goa, look beyond the littoral beaches, flea markets and night bazaars. And, you will discover the real Goa where heritage is celebrated and cherished.

1. Nanus Fort, North Goa

Also known as Nanuz Fort, this fort is located in the Sattari subdivision of North Goa. The subdivision is one of the least developed areas of the State and perhaps that is why it has retained its natural beauty. Nestled amidst heavily forested land are the ruins of Nanus Fort. This historical fort was constructed in the 17th century and was used by Dipaji Rane, a local tribal chief, as a military base to ward off the Portuguese. The Fort fell to the marauding Portuguese soldiers and Rane was captured and imprisoned. The ruins are located atop a hillock and can be accessed via car or motorcycle.

2. Fort Naroa, North Goa

The river island of Divar is a popular Hindu pilgrimage destination and has some beautiful churches, as well. It is about 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) from the capital city of Panjim, in Ilhas. The lush paddy fields and forested hills can be mesmerizing. This beautiful island is home to a historical fort – Fort Naroa, which was actually constructed by the Muslims sometime between the 17th and 18th centuries. It was abandoned by the Portuguese in 1834. The original construction incorporated Hindu architectural designs, which were altered once the Portuguese colonized Goa. While major portions of the fort are in ruins, you can still get an idea about its history and architecture. The fort was built using hard stones, bricks and mud. The outer walls of the fortification are about 15 feet high and are black in color. There is a Baroque church inside the fort with two towers, each with a dome-like structure. It is a fascinating site, as it is completely white in color.

3. Palace of the Viceroys

Located in Velha Goa (Old Goa), the Palace of the Viceroys overlooked the famous Mandovi River and housed administrative buildings during the Portuguese era. Today, just the Arch of the Viceroys remains as the sole testimony to the massive architectural complex that once stood here in complete splendour a few centuries ago. The remains of the Palace were demolished in 1820, but there are several historical writings about this complex by travelers and visitors who had the privilege of seeing it in all its former glory. The palace used a plain architecture style, which was accentuated by scissor-truss roof. The thick stone columns and two long verandahs lent an air of regality to the entire complex. The outer façade of the Palace faced the shores of the Mandovi and included the walls of the old city.

4. Brahmapuri

The ruins of Brahmapuri lie in Ella, or Old Goa, in Tiswadi subdivision. During the ancient times, Brahmins used to colonize this place. Archeological evidence suggests Brahmapuri was founded by Madhava Mantri, who was the governor of the Vijayanagar Empire. Brahmapuri was established in the 14th century, as a seat of Puranic and Vedic learning after the Vijanagar dynasty conquered Goa from the Bahaminis. It is claimed Madhava Mantri restored the temple in the area and installed the idol of Gomanteshwar, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. There also was a ritual bathing tank in the area. The temple was damaged after the Portuguese took over Goa and constructed the Church of Santissimo Trinidade or the Most Holy Trinity in the 16th century. While the temple was rebuilt in 1947, Brahmapuri lies in a state of fascinating ruin.

5. Chandrapur

The ancient city of Chandrapur is located in South Goa. It is said during the 7th century, it was the capital of King Chandraditya, who was the son of Pulakesin II, a Chalukyan king. Chandor village within Chandrapur used to be the capital during the rule of the Bhojas and Kadambas. In 1930, Rev. Fr. Heras excavated the site to reveal an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple at Chandrapur dates back to the 11th century and is known as Isvorachem. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) started its own excavation in 1974 and to reveal pillar bases, a dome and porch. There also is a damaged idol of Nandi the bull.

There is so much history hidden in the hills and forests of Goa. If you’re aware of any other interesting architectural ruins in Goa, please do share them with us in the comments.