The Pernem taluka has one of the best tourist places which can make a visit memorable. On the north western corner lies the long stretch of the Arambol beach, while beyond the northern tip of Goa’s territory, lies the outpost of the famous Terekhol fortress.
The Terekhol or Tiracol
fortress, exclusive of border encounters, political tensions and confronations is an important landmark in Goan history. It is surrounded by a natural river flowing east-west on its northern boundary beyond which lies the vast state of Maharashtra which makes this a very scenic and orderly arrangement.
The only thing disturbing this scenic arrangement is the rocky headland running high on the north bank from which the river mouth can be controlled and defended. Hence, the siege of Pernem in the 18th century by the Portuguese included this headland along with the fort. This stretch of ground is wide enough to hold the fort along with the village attached to it.
Pernem completed the last of the New Conquests to be added to the Portuguese territory thereby also forming the boundaries of Goa. It is rightly described as a narrow strip of a rolling hilly country stretching inland between the Chapora & Tiracol rivers.
Pernem initially was a fringe territory of the Sawantwadi Rajas and only became a part of the Portuguese territory in 1788 through a treaty signed mainly for seeking protection against a northern rival.
Until recently, with wide rivers flowing east to west across the country, accessibility has been a problem as far as Pernem is concerned, but this has been eased as the building of a bridge over the Chapora at Colvale. However, speed is not everything in Goa, and one of the pleasantest ways into or out of Pernem is the long ferry ride from Siolim across to Chopdem on the north bank near the mouth of Chapora, which deposits the traveler at the beginning of the coast road that runs from Agarvada behind the beaches of Morjim, Mandrem and Arambol, finally passing through Paliem to reach the banks of the Terekhol river.
A bridge over the Chapora river at Colvale has considerably eased the otherwise tough accessibility towards Pernem due to wide rivers flowing from east to west across. One of the more pleasant ways is a ferry journey from Siolim across to Chopdem on the north bank of Chapora which culminates at the start of the coastal road running from Agarvada behind the beaches of Morjim, Mandrem and Arambol, passing through Paliem finally reaching the Terekhol river bank.
The Morjim and the Mandrem beaches with islands of clean sand are quite peaceful, an ideal setting for the fisherfolk. There is quite less traffic with bullock carts taking the catch to the market. Tavernas among the trees and motorcycles parked all along the route to Arambol, entice visitors towards thatched cafes and bars through the palm fringes.
HISTORY OF THE TIRACOL FORT
The fort was erected by the Bhonsle king of Sawantwadi during the 17th century. Tiracol stands on top of a small hill beside the river. It is one of the smallest forts in India, more of an outpost, erected to look over the surrounding areas and guard the naval fleet of the king down in the river.
The hilltop location beside the sea and river provided a panoramic view. 12 guns were installed to apprehend approaching enemies. There was also a military barrack.
However, its unique location soon caught the attention of the Portuguese. The 44th Viceroy of Goa attacked Tiracol through the sea in 1746. It eventually fell after a week on November 23 rd 1746. After taking control, the Portuguese revamped the Tiracol in 1764. Its importance grew subsequently.