A Konkan Abode - The Transition Of ‘Goan' Architecture
Planet Goa|Volume 9 Issue 7

What is ‘Goan Architecture’ and how has it evolved from majestic heritage monuments to contemporary design masterpieces? Jason Santos details the journey through the old world charm of Goan designs to the latest architectural developments in the state.

Jason Santos

GOA is abound with a beauty that comes in all shapes and sizes, the vast beaches and extravagant parties, the food and culture all around and of course, the architecture! With mighty churches and temples adorned with minute detailing and even elegant homes and parks all around, all these come together for a wonderful experience for those who come to appreciate the architectural beauty in the state.

GOA, SO FAR...

Though architecture in Goa brings to mind a clichéd image of the churches and quaint Indo- Portuguese styled houses, let us dwell deeper into what an architectural experience in Goa could be if you look beyond the regular. With an architectural heritage that includes temples, mosques, churches, forts and even palaces; Goa has more to look at and to learn about than what is often said. With inspiration all around, Goa has fast become a melting pot for designers, artists, and architects.

Known for the great churches of Old Goa and the pretty houses along the streets of Fontainhas, which are well frequented, how about experiencing another side of Goan architecture? Villages like Aldona and Assagao in the North and Loutolim and Raia in the South both have a fair share of Portuguese influenced architecture. With great detailing in the form of elaborate balcaos, fine woodwork, and several stories to go with them, many of these houses have now opened their doors for people to step in and experience a ‘Goan house’ first hand.

Ruled by the Portuguese for several years Goa, has a lot of existing military architecture. Several forts dotting the coastline and administrative buildings that were once part of the Portuguese regime are all still intact and capture the essence of a time gone by. The forts of Reis Magos and Aguada are easily accessible as well as several structures within the city- the Adil Shah Palace, The Mint House, Bishop Palace, the Raj Bhavan (Cabo Fort Dona Paula).

Fabled for its churches across the state- the Bom Jesus and the Se Cathedral in Old Goa as well as the Mary Immaculate Church in Panjim, Goa also houses several temples and mosques that date back several decades, some even a couple of centuries old. The Mahadev Temple at Tambdi Surla, the Bramha Temple in Carambolim (the oldest dated temple in Goa) or even the Mangueshi Temple in Ponda that dates back to the 16th Century- each temple unique in style and characteristics as well as each having fascinating stories to tell. The Safa Masjid in Ponda and the Surla- Tar Mosque are both architecturally astounding and date back several years, the Surla- Tar mosque dating to the Adil Shah era.

With great heritage, comes a greater responsibility to conserve, and several NGO’s and organizations are doing their bit to identify forgotten heritage monuments and breathe a new life into these structures. Visits to the Charles Correa Foundation (CCF) or the GHAG (Goa Heritage Action Group), can unveil a side of Goa you would have never come across in travel blogs and magazines. Step out, the sunny state has a lot of heritage and culture to take in.

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