About 300 miles south of maximum city Mumbai lies the small coastal state of Goa. A Portuguese colony as late as 1961, Goa is known today for its amazing beaches, night-life and music. For many, it is a holiday destination for pristine beaches and revelry. Beach-loving couples opt for a destination wedding in Goa. But there’s more to it than the beaches. The unique history and architecture of Goa make it a multi-faceted beauty.
Goa is split into two distinctive districts: while the north tends to attract a livelier crowd, the south offers a slower pace of life. There are beautiful golden sand beaches in both the regions with roads winding through leafy green hills. For the more adventurous, who want to explore the rest of the state, there is Old Goa. Some of the region’s most famous colonial architecture and Catholic cathedrals which capture this place’s distinctive Portuguese heritage can be found here.
Goa has had many different rulers over the course of its history, but it is the Portuguese legacy which still lives on. The Portuguese colonized Goa in 1510 and brought with them their distinct architectural style. During the course of their 450 years of reign here, they established hospitals and schools, mansions, churches, cuisine and even their language.
The Portuguese rule has left a vivid historical mark here. The traditional art forms of Goa, much of its architecture, and even its sporting passions are strongly influenced by its colonial legacy. Goans display an infective love of music, festivals, dance, poetry and literature, and a rich artistic and cultural heritage, that blends Indian and Portuguese elements seamlessly.
While the British and the French colonisers left their mark on the architecture of huge buildings such as assemblies and railway stations, the Portuguese influence is much more visible in the residential architecture of Goa. What’s unusual is that houses dating back to hundreds of years have been maintained in pristine condition and are still inhabited by succeeding generations of the original owners.
The most substantial and imposing Portuguese mansions can be found in rural areas of South Goa, such as the Braganza House in Chandor, Casa Araujo Alvares and the Figuerido House in Loutolim, and Palacio do Deao in Quepem. These mansions contain a treasure trove of historical memorabilia.
Fontainhas, the famous Latin Quarter in Goa’s capital city Panjim, has many old Portuguese mansions that once belonged to the colonial rulers and administrators. In 1984, this town was declared a UNESCO Heritage Zone. It is really worth exploring the unique colonial legacy of Goa, which is more commonly known for its beaches, and even stay in a heritage property here. Newly-weds can also stay at the best resorts in Goa for Honeymoon.