Architecture in Goa

Colours from an Indo-Portuguese colony


April 26, 2017

/ By / Goa

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Goa is a visual delight. Palm trees dotting the length of Goa make walking on its street a refreshing experience, while their houses and abodes give off an old world charm. Some of these residences are candy coloured and some have pastel hues, but they are all vibrant nonetheless.

Reminiscent of the Portuguese who colonised the state in 1510, the buildings in Goa are a reflection of the culture and aesthetics from Europe and also of the traditional Goan style of architecture.

Before the Portuguese arrived in Goa, the houses and other buildings were mostly made of mud (sometimes also laterite) and would have a thatched roof. Facing inwards towards a central courtyard, these houses had small windows devoid of any colour or design. Nevertheless, they were all rather thoughtfully constructed with a layer of mud, jaggery and lime, acting as a shield against the excessive heat during the summers and the sloppy roofs being a tool to drain away rainwater during heavy monsoons.

However, when the Portuguese arrived they brought with them their own style and techniques. Laterite was now being used more often and the constructions magnified the windows, with big windows replacing the smaller ones and the otherwise dull walls were now painted in a rainbow palette.

The structures all around Goa gradually became a reflection of its colonisers and continue to remain so even after they left the state in 1961.

“Corners of Goa can still be associated with Lisbon. In fact I noticed it the other way round too on my visit to Lisbon,” says Rishad Saam Mehta, a travel writer from Mumbai.

Standing bright and beautiful, the houses around Goa speak for those who once inhabited them and the timeless beauty they left behind. The houses now roof Goans, whose ancestors, it is said, claimed them when they were abandoned by their previous owners.

While some walls have been re-done and look as good as new, some show intermittent modern influences.

Scattered all over Goa, these houses and abodes make for a picturesque site set against the backdrop of green tropics and gives the feeling of walking through a painting… an artist’s imagination…


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