Goa is a beach lovers delight. Warm balmy weather, white sandy beaches and the waves crashing by the shore make it a paradise location in India. Frequented by Indians as well as the global population, it is quite the party place and has a firm footing on the global map as a holiday destination.
But, as with every place, Goa has a rich cultural heritage too. A strong Portuguese influence is evidently visible in its architecture, food and culture.
I made a trip to Goa last year while I couldn’t really cover the food heritage it offered, I made a trip to the heritage bungalow “Menezes Braganza mansion”, a well-known home that was crafted in the earlier Portuguese era and reflects their architectural style.
The house seems like a dream on the outside with beautiful, green gardens, floor length glass doors, tiled roofs and the many balcony openings. The family still lives there but aren’t really socially enthusiastic as to what was the impression I got from my exploration there.
I walked up to the first floor of the home where I was met at the door by an elderly lady of the house, presumably Mrs. Braganza. She led me through the place but didn’t really volunteer much information about the place on her own except for the few questions I prodded her to answer to get some insight. This scenario left me to walk around the house on my own and understand the little bits that I could independently.
This post will, hence, give you an idea through my camera lens about how beautiful this place is but unfortunately, I might not have the exact historical details about it.
The hallway was lined with wooden chairs and tables, a vintage writing desk, photo frames of people from the earlier ages hung on the walls, lovely glass chandeliers and glass cupboards filled with antiques, pottery and paraphernalia.
Set in one side was the Altar room with its lovely arched ceiling and lined with many smaller frames and statues for prayer.
The ballroom came next and this was the room that caught my heart. Blue ceilings adorned with golden designs and imprints, tulip shaped glass chandeliers with glass drops at the base on a golden stand that would have been the glory in their working times hung beautifully on the ceiling that had now seem more wear and tear and could do with some restoration.
Double seats and chairs lined the ballroom that would have been the pride for entertainment in its hay day. It would possibly have been magical in those times – the celebrations that would have been witnessed in this ballroom. Seemed something out of a fairy tale. Of course, I am unaware how the reality would have been in those times since I couldn’t get any information from the person in the house.
The many doors from the ballroom led to the side hallway, a brightly sun-light space lined with wooden chests, trunks that were probably used by the residents during travel and also a wooden palanquin of sorts that could seat two people and would have to be carried by people on the front and back.
The hallway led into one of the master bedrooms. Now this was a place that had the most interesting artifacts I had ever seen.
Standing on one side was a wooden stand that was meant for hanging clothes, capes, caps and the likes.
In the center of the room lay a vintage old-fashioned bed with intricate wooden carving and bed-posts.
A beautiful wooden table topped with a marble platform lay on another end of the room. Placed on it was a ceramic jug and a large bowl. This, by the looks of it, was used as a washing up bowl since there were probably no sinks or basins in those times.
The house clearly was in need of repairs and restorations in some areas that could help preserve the heritage it housed. From what I could understand, the family was doing all they could but I guess the maintenance of such a huge place isn’t really a cakewalk.
There are a few other such heritage homes in Goa but I guess this gave me a pretty good insight about the lifestyle in that era.
I would have been happier if I could have chatted with someone about the place and gotten more details. Maybe it was just one of those experiences. Maybe it just happened with me and probably others would have better luck.
Nevertheless, if in Goa, this place is work a look just of the feel of it.