Panaji: Cartoonist Mario Miranda, who had brought to life the Reis Magos Fort in a sketch, could not live long enough to see his favourite structure restored to its former glory.
People missed Miranda at the inauguration of the 513-year-old riverside fort Tuesday since it was he who first gave the idea of restoring it.
Miranda, who passed away December 11, was also to attend the inauguration as the renovation work was nearing completion.
The fort was thrown open to the public by Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar to mark the World Environment Day.
"It is a pity that Mr. Miranda could not be here. The fort`s restoration was one of his pet projects. But there will be an exhibition of his works here," Gerard da Cunha, an architect who owns the rights to Miranda`s works and was also involved with the fort`s restoration work, told IANS.
Miranda immortalised the fort in his sketch titled, "The Fort of Reis Magos", which showed the derelict and unkempt rampart of the mammoth and dilapidated structure.
However, the picturesque fort was restored after a tripartite agreement between the government of Goa, Intach (Indian National Trust For Art and Cultural Heritage) and Britain`s Helen Hamlyn Trust.
Miranda, when he was convener of the Goa chapter of Intach, pushed for the fort`s restoration. Work begun in 2008.
The fort will now be converted into a cultural centre and a tourist spot.
"This fort should serve as an example for other monuments as well. We have a terrible record of taking care of our forts," da Cunha said.
He said other forts too need to be restored and adaptively used.
The Reis Magos Fort on the banks of Mandovi river was built in 1493 by Bijapur`s Adil Shah, whose empire stretched from Goa to Maharashtra.
Once Shah`s armed outpost, it fell to the Portuguese in 1541, and they built a massive church on its rampart.
From 1900, the fort was used as a prison. Then it was abandoned.