Houses of Goa Museum, Major Attraction of North Goa
‘Houses of Goa Museum’ is turning out to be a major attraction of North Goa. During the last day of our tour of Goa we explored Houses of Goa Museum located in Porvorim, North Goa. The name is intriguing. What can I expect to see there, I wondered! On arrival at the destination the sight of this unique house facade (see the first picture) greeted us. The house looks so much like a long nosed yawning human face. That house, we were told later, is architect’s parents’ house.
Houses of Goa Museum is the pet project of local architect, Gerard da Cunha. It is a multi floored building just beside this human faced house. The museum building too is different; it has the shape of a triangle and looks more like a ship. Inside you will see the sharp corners of the room has been utilized well. There is a seating arrangement where one can relax and listen to Goan music.
This is a good small museum, very useful for people who wish to know more about Goa. It is easy to understand and learn more about old Goa. Architect Gerard da Cunha is doing a wonderful job of showcasing traditional homes of Goa. His office is little away from the museum where he gave us a brief talk about his work and motivation to make such a museum. The office has a little souvenir shop too. Mario de Miranda’s art work is on display and sale here.
After the talk he took us on a tour of his museum, all the while explaining his vision and idea behind the project. According to him this museum showcases the houses which were the prime expression of the Goan identity. It is the resource cum research centre for traditional architecture of Goa.
Story of Goan House
During his discourse, architect Gerard da Cunha traced the history of present Goan houses to 1510 AD when Portugal invaded India. Portuguese made inroads in Goa with religion and also with their impressive large religious buildings. They encouraged European lifestyle among the converts. New Goan Christian adopted the European stance without alienating himself from his Indian roots. The result was an extraordinary mix of both styles, a new culture. Innovative in form and design! Architect Gerard da Cunha goes on to explain how the houses of Goa were carefully planned and strategically located and merged with the scenic landmarks.
What is so special about these houses? He explains:
“Set history aside and it would seem that each village employed a sensitive urban designer (as the term rural designer does not exist in architectural dictionary) who carefully placed the village green, the market and chose the strategic location for the village church. In this complex he functioned as a sutradhar or theater director carefully taking into account the choreography of feasts and processions. Our deft designer then placed the houses in exclusive neighborhoods and peppered the place with numerous crosses, tulsi vrindavans and chapels.
What made Goans channelize their entire energy in house building and construct every window, column, railing, gateposts, eaves board and pilaster differently? He answers:
I suspect it began with few individuals constructing something special sparking off an interest amongst neighbors and setting off a chain of events that engulfed the whole architectural scenario.
The Tour of Houses of Goa Museum
You can do the entire tour in less than half an hour in a hurried pace. I suggest take more time to tour the Houses of Goa Museum. It has very interesting display collections of artifacts, displays and info some as old as 19th century.
Gallery 1 of Houses of Goa Museum
There are a good number of panels on display here. There is info on Goan houses, sketches of old houses of Goa, and pictures from different localities of Goa. In addition to these there are historic pictorial records and encounters with outside world. It can be overwhelming initially to see all these info and pictures. Most noteworthy is ‘Chronology of World Architecture’. In one glance you get the info on developments that took place in different parts of the world parallely. Also another panel of interest is Mario de Miranda’s – Glimpses of Goa.
Gallery 2 of Houses of Goa Museum
There are details on materials used for construction. The changing scene of interiors, different windows, doors… and all elements that go into making of a house. This is also a good exposure for students of architecture and also those have interest in such facts. Even to those of you who don’t belong to both these categories, these exhibits will arouse interest.
This is the most interesting of all 3 galleries. It converts into ‘35 seat’ auditorium and is used for slide lectures. The displays here are of tulsi holders that you find in front of Hindu household, crosses, raj angan, machila and more. I learned many of these terms for the first time in my life.
The Houses of Goa Museum is located in Torda, Salvador-do-Mundo village of Bardez taluk of North Goa. The distance is 5 km from Panjim and nearly 10 km from Mapusa city. It is very well connected with Panjim.
Tickets and Timings:
Ticket cost is Rs. 100 for adults, Rs. 25 for children.
It is open from 10.00Am to 7.30PM.
The museum is closed on Mondays.