Goa is one of India’s smallest state in terms of area and population. Famously referred to as “Tourist Paradise” lies on the west coast of India. Due to its natural beauty and architectural wonders it is one of the most attractive destinations in India. Goa was a Portuguese Colony from the early 16th century until it was liberated in 1961.The Portuguese influence developed over the long colonial Portuguese Indian era and most of the historic monuments and houses still standing were built between the 18th to 20th century.
The Portuguese brought with them a host of cultural and aesthetic influences from Europe and other places. The Portuguese first made churches which advertised the style of secular architecture. The houses of Goa have a story to tell revealing the unique blend of Hindu and Christian homes, with the uniqueness of architecture designs that is known as the Indo-Portuguese style.
As white was associated with the virtues of purity and chasity no one could colour their house fully white. It was an unwritten rule which was not only followed by Christians but also by the Hindus. As a result of this an aesthetically pleasing trend developed with the use of dramatic and startling colors.
The houses built under the Portuguese influence were more outward looking and ornamental with balcoes and verandas facing the street, where men and women could sit together and enjoy the evening breeze and chat with their neighbors. Houses built during the later half of the 19th century were designed with the Balcao, intergrating it into the façade. Visually the balcao with its pyramidal roof and decorative staircase added the much needed third dimension to the other linear, façade oriented architecture.
Now as we are in 21st century we find very less Indo Portuguese houses as either they are renovated or constructed. Here social media plays an vital role through which we get to know about the existence of such old houses build in early 19th century’s .
Here are some major features of the typical Indo Portuguese houses :
• Front doors : The front doors were flanked by columns or pilasters. They were simple in design, wider and larger than internal doors and they were left open during the day to welcome guests and shut only at night.
• Windows : Large ornamental windows with stucco mouldings open into verandas.The windows are make up an imaginative style that is yet another contribution from Goa to the architecture of the world.
• Railings : Railings were the most intricate embellishment in a Goan house. Pillars, piers and colours do not seem to be influenced by any other style in particular, rather they confirm to a mixed bag of architectural styles, cast iron railings were direct imports from British India. Ornamental railing often combined Greek key and Gothic motifs to make up some of the most exclusive railings designs in the world.
• False Ceilings : To protect the house from draughts and to cover the tiled roof these ceilings were used and they gained popularity in the 1700’s.
Some of the famous Portuguese villas which can be visited to have a glimpse of the lifestyle of the higher echelons of Goan society under the Portuguese rule are :
1. Menezes Braganza House :
The Menezes Braganza Pereira house is located at the Chandor village in Goa. It is known to be more than 350 years old and is situated near the church square in Chandor. This mansion is the most exquisite heritage house in the countryside, the biggest in Goa and also has a Portuguese style facade. It is a museum of chandeliers, painting, porcelain, crystal, period furniture and other antique items.
2. Casa Araujo Alvares House :
Casa Araujo Alvares is a 250 year old heritage mansion in Loutolim that is visited like a heritage museum for its heritage character and charm. From its curving stairway, the wide and elevated entrance, to its imposing doorway topped by the family emblem, this house stands testimony to an ocean of change, over the years. Huge windows, paned with crystalline glass front the house leading to the imposing rooms that include the grand hall, the official area and the master-bedroom and adjoining nursery.
3. Lar Amorosa :
Lar Amorosa is one of the architectural beauties originally depicted in the book “Houses of Goa”. It is a legacy of the Portuguese colonial regime, carrying forward its ancestral legacy from 1934. Echoes of the past are apparent in the decors of the Portuguese Villa in Goa making it a peaceful location where writers and readers would open up to new ideas.
4. Mascarenhas Mansion in Anjuna :
Mascarenhas Mansion is classic due to its characteristic 'balcoes'(balconies). It is monumental. The riches overpower you. The seat along the length of the porch are L-shaped, of expensive wood, the glare is cut off with a mixture of brightly coloured stained glass and, as if to contrast it, light tinted flint glass "such as which is no longer made" with fine floral etchings.
5. Pinto de Rosario Mansion :
Pinto de Rosario Mansion in Porvorim, half-way between Panjim and Mapusa, reflects more the joy of possession than reverence for style. Piled up in sideboards and cup- boards are rare pieces of cut-glass, silver, blue china, ivory. The objets d'art are yet to be categorised and dated. But the sheer quantity and doubtless quality of most of the items are quite simply astounding.in Porvorim has Indo-Portuguese furniture and European and Chinese knick- knacks. The Italian floor tiling is the highlight of the parlour. Above the exquisitely carved sofa is a Dutch tapestry, a replica of Rembrandt's Night Watch. The love- chair is said to be 200 years old.
Author : Espressotive