Houses of Goa Museum, Bardez, Goa

Goa has enjoyed a unique history as a result of both Western and Eastern influences. This unique history is especially visible in the architecture and layout of Goan Homes.

“When the Portuguese colonized Goa,” the famous Goan architect Gerald da Cunha says, “they brought in their own architectural designs and lifestyle to influence the already strong culture and architecture that prevailed here. As a result of the amalgamation, an entirely new thing emerged. What you see in Goan houses, you don’t see in Portugal, or elsewhere in the world.”

The Houses of Goa is a unique museum by Gerard da Cunha and a must see for all students and fans of unique Goan architecture from the American Ambassador and his wife to local couples who come to discover their Goan heritage. As an architect and a Goan, da Cunha felt that it was his responsibility to document the architecture as a local.

The result is a rather strange ship like structure with exposed brick that houses this museum, located kind of right in the middle of the road !

On the first floor, you have a depiction of Goa in the context of the world as well as wealth of Goan architecture.

On the second floor, Gerard da Cunha delves into the details of Goan architecture with a painstaking collection of doors, windows, a rare hat stand, old French doors from a house in Margao built in 1917 as well as rare postcards of Goa dating back to 1900, giving an exclusive picture of what Goa and its cities looked like a century ago.The panels on the walls showing important Goan monuments such as the Se Cathedral as well as other world monuments that were built at the same time in other parts of the world.

Climb the winding steps to the theatre upstairs and you can see a slide show presentation, with an adaptable screen, conducted by Da Cunha himself and taking you on an architectural tour back to the earliest mud house.

What I personally liked best about the Museum is the fact that it never seems finished, always a work in progress. The many trinkets, paintings and architectural accessoires seem to be in a permanent state of influx. I guess, what I am trying to say is that it is as if the Museum is constantly changing, evolving, like a living being. 

“Goans, who were people who were converted, were looking for a new identity, and thus embarked on the experiment in architecture, to produce something unique and unseen anywhere in the world”. 

Da Cunha’s landmark museum provides a ringside view!

Stay Romantic!

Mihir

Only a 5 km drive from my Mitaroy Goa Hotel, the Houses of Goa Museum is located in Torda, Salvador-do-Mundo village of Bardez taluk in North Goa.

Please note that the Houses of Goa Museum is open from 10 AM to 7.30 PM and closed on Mondays!


O’ Coqueiro Restaurant Goa

No Couple’s Holiday to Goa is complete without a visit to O’ Coqueiro Bar and Restaurant.

While you have famous Goan restaurants like Brittos on Anjuna beach, Infantaria and Souza Lobos on Calangute beach, O’ Coqueiro is by far one of the most romantic restaurants in the whole of Goa.

O’ Coqueiro (pronounced as o-co-ke-roo) means Coconut tree in Portuguese. The O’ Coqueiro restaurant is housed in a sprawling, old Portuguese-style ancestral bungalow right on the Mapusa – Panaji highway in the small village of Porvorim. Rather plain by day, in the evening the lighting and greenery give it a romantic atmosphere that is hard to describe.

While you can sit in the A/C section called the sala de jhantar (dining hall in Portuguese), we chose a table in the garden under a starlit sky.

When the waiter came to take our order, we immediately chose the house special – Chicken Cafreal (pronounced as kaf-ri-el). A greenish coloured chicken curry, the Chicken Cafreal was first created here at O ‘ Coqueiro, many moons ago. I pick a Goan feni to wash down my meal.

And then the highlight of the evening begins.

We chose Friday to go to O ‘ Coqueiro since that is the day when the legendary Goan mandolin player, Emiliano and his band play at O ‘ Coqueiro. And Emiliano (who is an old family friend of ours) doesn’t disappoint. He belts out a few Goan songs that get the couples around us tapping their feet.

As the food arrives, I cannot wait to tuck in. I first go with Chicken Cafreal and Goan Paav bread. The Chicken Cafreal is a delight, lightly spiced and flavoured with mint and spinach, if I am not mistaken. For my second course, I chose Chicken Cafreal with rice. I am not quite sure which combination is better so I suggest that you try both!

For desert, we order the Bebinca, a traditional Goan layered cake that takes hours to bake because it is cooked one layer at a time. The Bebinca is good but I still maintain that the best Bebinca I’ve tasted is made in a small bakery in Fontainhas.

As we finish desert, Emiliano strikes up the music and a few couples venture out onto the dance floor. An old couple catches my eye. They must be married over 40 years yet the glimmer of love in their eyes is unmistakeable.

I only hope that I am that lucky in love…

Stay Romantic!

Mihir

Emiliano plays every Friday at O’ Coqueiro Bar and Restaurant in Alto Porvorim, Bardez, Goa. Please check local listings before going to avoid disappointment.