Eroding from the base, the Portuguese fort of Reis Magos was crumbling into the waters of the Mandovi river—her steady companion for half a millennium — when she was rescued by the local government, the Goan chapter of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (Intach) and the UK-based Helen Hamlyn Trust. Four years after the restoration began, she stands tall again, waiting to grow into her new role as a cultural centre in the northern district of Bardez. But the stately ramparts in laterite and the freshly whitewashed buildings—not a tile out of place on their sloping roofs—look pensively across the river towards Panjim… As if to pay homage to another Goan stalwart, cartoonist Mario Miranda, who passed away last December. An important cog in the wheel of this project, Miranda’s works—which include a sketch of the Reis Magos fort—will also be exhibited here. On duty as a prison till about twenty years ago and boarded up thereafter, the fort will now hold its audience captive with exhibitions and performances.

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