Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Assault on Cabo da Rama

It's evening and we race to get to Cabo da Rama, a 17th century fort in Canacona taluka, to catch the sunset. The farmers on the plateau are busy stacking fodder for their cows. Cabo da Rama means Cape of Rama, it is believed that Lord Rama stayed here during his exile. I'm sure he enjoyed the view and his stay.

Light is falling when we get there and all I can get of the densely overgrown moat of the fort is this hazy shot. The fort is in dilapidated condition and the government has recently commissioned a conservation agency to prepare a restoration report. Many turrets have crumbled and their long laterite stones can be seen in the moat below.

As we enter the plastered premises which are used sometimes by the weather observatory chaps, we are greeted by a funky graffitto which seems to spell 'music' or 'jung'. Old Carl Jung would say it depends on your archetypes. I noticed Jesus and Maria in the names there.

The fort walls have slits in the masonry to fire muskets from- in three directions! The laterite is nice and seasoned with 328 monsoons, considering the fort was built in 1679. It is the largest fort in Goa, covering an area of 179600 sq.metres! The Rajas of Sunda controlled it till 1763 when the naughty ol' Portuguese led by the Viceroy Conde de Ega captured it.
Now under the control of Captain Kirk Lourenco and four other kids, the cannon is readied for battle! Rulers and princes have come and gone and governments in Goa change even faster, but these hardy walls and their cannons endure the tests of time.

They roared and destroyed the marauders in ancient times, but this cannon does duty as a viewing bench in peacetime.

The Church of Cabo da Rama dedicated to St.Anthony lies desolate with a few lonely crosses and a mini goalpost for company. This was a whole throbbing village once upon a time. Now the small parish still congregates every Sunday and for feasts. Note the tall maddi tree which stands in front of almost every one of the 159 parish churches of Goa.

A large black crucifix and a wooden statue frame await the Holy Week. In those days the Cross will be erected for the enactment of the Crucifixion and the frame will be adorned to form the image of Mother Mary as she looks up at her suffering son in the traditional Good Friday tableau.

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José Lourenço - Margao,Goa

This blog is about Goa as she really is, with her dimples and freckles et al. There's also a Goan Architecture blog and other useful links on this page.

Drop me a line at: joselourenco@rediffmail.com