Ministers only make promises to renovate but the two age-old heritage forts in Aldona and Pernem are dying a slow death due to the vagaries of nature
On one side we have the famous Chapora, Aguada and Reis Magos forts where hundreds of tourists, including locals, visit on a daily basis. These forts are preserved and maintained by the Goa Government and are easily accessible and have proved good tourists spots. But on the other side we have other heritage monument forts such as the Corjuem fort in Aldona and Alorna (Halarna) fort in Pernem. These are the heritage monuments in Bardez and Pernem which are completely neglected by the state government.
These two particular forts are located deep inside the villages of Aldona and Pernem and only few people know about them. Since these two locations are not close to coastal belt of Goa, they have not received much attention of the Government since many years. The Alorna fort is situated at around 30 kilometres from Mapusa city and the Corjuem fort is situated at 13 km from Mapusa. But with so much of distance from the main cities, tourists visiting Goa are only aware of the famous forts which are easily accessible and are close to other tourist spots.
The state government, which has managed to preserve the heritage monuments as tourist spots in Goa, it has neglected completely the other historical monuments which are now in a dilapidated condition.
Some tourists visit Goa because of the beautiful beaches but there is a certain number of tourists who visit to explore the historical monuments, temples and churches, different locations deep inside the villages. But negligence from the government which is only making the easily accessible places available for tourists and not the real beauty of Goa which actually is lying inside the villages of Goa.
Built in year 1550 by the Bhonsle ruler, the Corjuem fort was then rebuilt by the Portuguese in year 1705 to boost their defence. This fort was used as military school in early 1800’s and was armed with a small battalion of four guns which defended the Corjuem village. The importance of this fort is it’s constructed with laterite stones and is one of the only two inland forts in Goa which is intact till the 21st century.
The Corjuem fort is currently in a very bad condition and the rains have helped the forest plants / vegetation to grow inside and around the fort which has also helped animals such as snakes to make the fort their house. With neither illumination on the fort, nor sitting arrangements, it has also turned into a place for unwanted activities. When Herald team visited the site, garbage was also found lying inside and outside the fort.
If one compares the state of the Corjuem fort to Aguada or other forts located near the coastal belt, this fort is in need of maintenance to attract tourists. If the fort is restored and maintained and made as a tourist spot than it can also help the locals make a living since people from this area are financially weak.
People here say the every year when the MLA raises the issue of fort, the concerned minister of Archaeology assures to convert the place into a tourism spot. Sources say they have been hearing this for the last several years during assembly sessions but practically nothing has fallen in place. The concerned Government authorities promise of preserving and restoring this fort but it’s been years now that the fort is in a dilapidated condition. The Heritage Group of Goa had also organised Heritage Jatra to highlight the issues of the fort but these forts become worse after every monsoon season.