The best heritage villas in Goa will entice you, surprise you and leave you speechless, with its vast gardens, multiple and artfully designed rooms along with its intricately carved furniture and tasteful decor that adds a feel of the bygone yet luxurious Portuguese rule in Goa. Many of these homes are still occupied by the ancestors of the original owners and some can be visited by appointment only. Others have been transformed into wonderful boutique hotels and one is now a museum. Here are some of the best heritage houses in Goa.
- Menezes Braganza House – The Menezes Braganza House in Chandor is a massive mansion from the 17th century, that stretches along one whole side of Chandor’s village square and is one of the biggest Portuguese mansions of its kind. It was granted by the king of Portugal, and built by the Braganza family, One can visit this resplendent and gorgeous house for a tour, there are old paintings and vintage furniture spread across the rooms and Antiquity oozing out of every nook and corner of this house. The lady that lives here recalls the famous parties and the noted owners, the dining room is still open for the tourists who may want to dine like yesteryears. That, of course, comes for a fee, as the house needs a lot even for its mere maintenance.
2. Salvador Costa Mansion
The Salvador Da Costa Mansion is located in Loutolim in South Goa, It was built by Padre Pedrinho and Padre Laurence in the 19th Century. The architectural style is Indian, (low pitched tiled roof, wide verandas) with European accouterments (Gothic-style windows, cluster columns), it straddles both worlds just as Goa still does. The entrance gives a very elegant look to the mansion, the entrance fee is 100/- per head.
3. Pinto de Rosario Mansion
Located in Porvorim, half-way between Panjim and Mapusa, Pinto de Rosario Mansion reflects more the joy of possession than reverence for style. Piled up in sideboards and cupboards are rare pieces of cut-glass, silver, blue china, ivory. The objets d’art are yet to be categorized and dated, but the sheer quantity and doubtless quality of most of the items are quite simply astounding and the Italian floor tiling is the highlight of this place.
4. Palacio Do Deao
The 18th century Palacio Do Deao was built by a Portuguese nobleman Jose Paulo who was the founder and Dean of Quepem. The enchanting mansion is built on the banks of the wildly beautiful Kushavati river and is surrounded by two acres of enchanting tropical gardens. The Mansion blends Hindu and Portuguese architecture and has changed hands a number of times. Palacio do Deao is now owned by Ruben and Celia Vasco da Gama, who have put substantial effort into conserving and recovering it from ruin. A labor of love, each part of the house contains thoughtfully collected antiques and other period artifacts, including coins and stamps, a palanquin, and even a chamber pot in the bedroom!
5. Mascarenhas Mansion
The Mascarenhas Mansion lies in close proximity to Goa’s most happening beach Anjuna. This mansion has rich and classic ‘balcoes’ (balconies), an L shaped seat along the porch which is carved out of expensive wood, the glare is cut off with a mixture of brightly colored stained glass and, as if to contrast it, light tinted flint glass “such as which is no longer made” with fine floral etchings.
So next time you are visiting the state, go explore its heritage houses and the opportunity to experience living in them.