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 1Houses of Goa Museum 2Houses 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.

Corners used as seating area.

Corners used as seating area.

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!You can have a look at the houses here: Visit Fontainhas Quarters.

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.
Houses of Goa Museum Mario's work

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.

Houses of Goa Museum display

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.

Houses of Goa Museum windowsGallery 3 of Houses of Goa Museum

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.

Tulsi Vrindavans of GoaHow to reach Houses of Goa Museum

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.

House of Goa Museum

The above is the pinnable image for my post on Houses of Goa Museum, an Offbeat Destination in Goa. If you enjoyed reading the post you may add the above to your collection.

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51 Responses to “Houses of Goa Museum, Major Attraction of North Goa

  • I have read another post related to Goa’s Spice Plantation tour in the thread and now reading your ‘Houses of Goa Museum’ and both the posts made me nostalgic about my Goa trips with friends when I was in college, a few years ago. Though I didn’t know about this museum. Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

  • What an interesting museum. Certainly a good place to stop by to learn more about the history of the houses of Goa. The museum building is also very intriguing!

  • thanks for sharing, planning a trip to goa next month

  • Never heard of this, but such an interesting museum! Love the architect’s parent’s house. Admire some people’s passion and perseverance to make something out of it!

  • Wow amazing museum. Thanks for sharing.
    Beautiful photos.

  • Maniparna Sengupta Majumder
    1 year ago

    Adding this up to our list. Probably will visit in next January… 🙂

  • So many times to Goa and had never even heard of this place. Such an interesting museum and the architecture of the structure is also so quirky. Thanks for the info Indrani 🙂

  • Hi Indrani,
    Never been here during my numerous visits to Goa. You have provided a detailed information about the Museum and now this cannot be missed during my next visit. Thanks 🙂

  • Wow! Seems to be an amazing place to be. 🙂

  • I love Goa. But surprisingly wasn’t aware of this museum. Will definitely take a point on making a visit next time I am going. Thanks

  • very interesting post.. each house has a story and Goan houses have so many interesting stories to tell…

  • Seeing this first time. Very interesting and beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  • A lot of info about Goa. One of the guys I follow named Earl thinks it is the best place to visit in India. Now I am beginning to see why. New 10 Indian visa will be in my hands in December and I am planning on spending most of next year there. Goa is top of the list.

  • Almost all places close on Mondays.. 🙁

  • This seems so interesting! Goan houses are indeed a delight!

  • Yogi Saraswat
    1 year ago

    There is lot to visit in Goa !! Thnx for this series of Goa which is telling us new places to visit !!

  • Nicely captured Indrani. This place was a surprise indeed.

  • Have heard a lot about this museum. The structure is really something and the museum overall seems very interesting. Great captures.

  • This is indeed a very particular architecture. But what a chance to be able to talk with the architect !!

  • Useful information. Well presented. Thank you.

  • Isn’t it interesting how people interpret the same picture differently? To me, the house in the first photo looks like a bird with the pointy beak. Houses of Goa Museum is an excellent initiative. Preserving and explaining local history is very important but, unfortunately, too often underfunded. It is so commendable that a local architect took it into his own hands.

  • Very interesting and at 100 rupees it is not badly priced.Love the use of corners into a seating area.

  • Very interesting blog and useful Information..Thanks For Sharing.

  • I’ve been to Goa so many times, and literally stay only in north but I’ve never had a chance to explore it or even heard of these museums. This is definitely on my list on my next trip to Goa.

  • This post reminds me of an open air museum near where I grew up, in Transylvania. I think it is important to have this kind of museums because by visiting them you can better understand your roots and how your ancestors used to live.

  • Going back in time and immersing into art and architecture is one of the aspects of travelling I like…

  • Blair Villanueva
    1 year ago

    This is an interesting House Museum, and I like its design! Impressive 🙂

  • Never heard about this place … the architecture of the building is amazing

  • This is interesting cause the structure of the museum looks really strange from outside. It reminds me of some the strange buildings i keep seeing here in Britain. Really liked the gallery. Have not been to Goa but would love to go there one day.

  • I would like to visit this museum. I love learning about history and other cultures and I really don’t know anything about the history of the Portuguese in India, for example. Also I love the house that looks like a face!

  • First thought was that the building itself is interesting architecture. It’s cool that the architect was there to explain the Houses of Goa.

  • I’ve never been to Goa, but it’s definitely on my bucket list! Thank you for sharing such an informative post about this museum, I’d love to check it out one day 🙂

  • Goa is becoming a serious place on my bucket list. The museum looks incredible and full of artifacts waiting to be explored. Thanks for sharing this!

  • This is an utterly offbeat attraction, and a perfect example of why we need travel blogs like this one to showcase them.

  • Komang Ayu
    1 year ago

    Wow a very unique building design. it can save the land. Looks very unique and antique plus lots of green trees around it. I so wanted to visit there.

  • What a interesting little house I love visiting museums whilst away. I’ve never heard of this one but if I am in Goa I will definately check it out

  • How interesting! I loved my time in India for all of the amazing architecture, sights, smells and colors. This is very different from anything I saw there.. but then again. I skipped out on Goa. I am realizing more and more every day that I need to make a return trip to see Goa!

  • I hadn’t heard of this museum before, but it definitely looks interesting! I’ve been reading quite a lot of posts about Goa lately and it’s really making me want to visit. Hopefully I can include it on my next visit to India

  • Well, this is another one of the offbeat attractions of Goa. A really interesting place for a museum and the building is quite unique too.

  • Sounds like a fascinating place to visit. I like the greenery growing on the outside.

  • Oh interesting! I love the creative and angular architecture of the ship house! I love when creative people follow their passion projects and create unique spots like this. Can’t wait to see Goa someday

  • How neat! The houses kind of resemble treehouses! I think my kids would think that at least! Maybe one day we will visit that area of the world.

  • It looks amazing! I’m not an arichitecture student but I do love all the facts that you mentioned. The goa house is truly beaitiful.

  • An interesting piece of history. Love learning how the cultures influence each other. Sounds like a good place to explore. Hope to get to India one of these days.

  • So interesting to learn about the Indian and Portuguese influences blending together for a unique style. Goa is a place I’d love to visit. This looks like a great way to learn more about the history and culture through architecture. 🙂

  • fascinating project of the Houses of Goa! The architecture looks complicated and pretty neat! Wouldn’t mind living in one those houses! 🙂

  • Been dying to visit Goa and this museum has a very unique and interesting theme! I really enjoyed your writing, Indrani!

  • I love touring houses…there is something about just peeking inside someone’s place that is so intriguing! Thanks for sharing this unique offering in Goa!

  • It’s always so cool to peek into someone’s life and it’s always neat to see how all houses have similarities – a mug here, a book there.

  • What an interesting museum! I love the architecture, it is so unique! And what a cool way to learn about the history of an area!

  • What an off the beaten path museum. The building is amazing and it is rich with history. How fascinating to learn about different cultures. Thanks for sharing this unique Goa experience.

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