Vintage houses of Goa, India built by natives in Indo-Portuguese architecture

Old Goa house.

Goan-Portuguese styled villa, Goa.

The Portuguese  who first established the sea-route to India via Indian Ocean and the Arabian sea,  ruled Goa for more than 400 years before it became free in 1961, and many  native home designs conceived by the natives retained  the local style with  Portuguese influence. Verandah, columns and red roof tiles  were not new to India and in Goa these elements gave special appearance to the homes and buildings. The villa type mansions with fine interior are  close to the beach beach.  Countless houses in the state of Goa have  architectural elements of Portuguese and when Goa had been a Portugal colonial settlement for a long time since the early part of the 16th century, the colonists introduced   western architectural elements in Goa and other places in India. The original style is conspicuous  in the traditional places of worship like churches, etc. and also in public and residential buildings. The traditional architecture and styles include clay and heritage tiles, mother of pearl shell window,  cornices, compound walls including gates, columns or pilasters, use of  porcelain and above all  exterior and interior colors.  Moldings, ornate features  and details and railings with intricate design in the houses highlight Portuguese architecture. 

Location map Goa state, India.

The style gives importance to the fa├žade of the structure  and most houses have  symmetrical  frontage with  three divisions with connection, richly ornamental  arched windows with stucco moldings were present in the houses. These moldings and other ornate elements and details were part of   Portuguese architecture. Railing got special attention and was  the most intricate element in the house.   Round in shape with thick walls made of stone without mortar,  the roofs are mostly slanting to drain out rain water. 

According to some experts Goa's distinctive architectural style is misunderstood and misinterpreted by the realtors. The Portuguese as years went by had neither money nor interest in building richly ornamental and well-embellished buildings in Goa unlike the British invaders whose income from the Indian subcontinent  was vast and had the money and enterprise to build palatial buildings. Many of the Portuguese buildings until their leaving the Indian shores were conceived, planned and executed by native Indian talents. Though not ornamental with impressive architectural styles like vaulted halls, ornate pillars, flying buttress, etc.,  Portuguese -styled structures were equally attractive   and make the visitors look at them for the second time. Equally impressive were the interior furnishings and  and beautiful antique wooden  furniture. 

In the realm of housing around the world, the houses that came up between the 18th and early 20th centuries in Goa  stand apart in a separate identity with the fusion of so many elements introduced by the natives of Goa. Clubbing them within the confines of  native  Portuguese  style and architecture  is anathema to countless Goans. Realtors using Portuguese architecture as a gimmick  are doing injustice to to the local talents available in the past. The  State Department of Tourism also does the same ting and it  cleverly  uses  Portuguese colonial rule as a cloak and  makes Goa a fine exotic Portuguese destination, not highlighting several inherent factors and cultural aesthetics  native to this small state.  

The  unique-styled houses that you see in Goa  do not exist in Latin America or in Portugal. Nor do they exist in any of the countries where Portuguese had a strong  influence. Many Goan  historians and architects are particular about their native pride and artistic talents. They were free  to express their artistic, cultural aesthetic preferences. This is the reason why the Goan architecture is hybrid in natures  taking inspiration from  various native architectures - Hindu, Muslim, Jain, etc.

The colonial  buildings  of Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai are different from the architecture of Goa. In the case of  former, Gothic or Neo-Gothic style of design was imposed on the native space designed by British architects incorporating European elements. In the latter case, buildings in Goa were conceived and built by the natives after negotiations with the  owners or authorities. In the case of church buildings,  besides priests  Goan  architects, Goan mason and the local communities played no less role in completing such structures. The architectural style of many  stunning houses and churches in Goa carry an aura about them imposed by an amalgamation of cultural ethos native to Goa. Hence, they are Indo-Goan style. AS  for the British, only in the early 19th century they introduced Indo-Saracenic styled buildings, particularly in Madras (Chennai), borrowing elements from the Muslim and Hindu architecture. Robert Chisholm gave due importance to the value of Native styles and  freely incorporated those features to make the buildings more attractive and unique. British architects very much impressed by the old Kerala temple architecture and used certain elements in their work. 

Typical Goan houses with Indo-Portuguese style: 

The  are innumerable indigenously built pretty old  Goan-Portuguese homes in the small state of coastal Goa. Unfortunately, in the past many of them had disappeared  replaced with  modern construction. The primary factors  are size of the houses and prohibitive maintenance cost. Conservationists are working hard to create an awareness  among the owners to preserve the old houses for the posterity without compromising on heritage elements and the use of old construction techniques. 

Colourful building Fontainhas, Panjim Goa India.

Goa homes, India

Above image: The streets of Fontainhas, Goa are dotted with old traditional houses, etc.,  more than 100 years., some dating back to 18th C. What is unique about them is exterior and interior paintings of various colors. The front part has  red-colored tiled roof, beautiful doors and overhead balconies with well-designed railing.  The Goan-Portuguese designed structures were , it is said, mostly executed by local talents - designers, masons and workers 

An old house in a Goan village, India.

Above image: North Goa old heritage house. Originally  built in 1901, the villa's exterior red color paint on walls  does not match the greenery around its surroundings.  The house is located in a serene place, far away from the urban din and madding crowd.  

restored Goan Portuguese  home

Above image: A meticulously restored Colonial-era century old Goan-Portuguese home, spanning an extensive 10,000 sq ft in the quiet village of Siolim in North Goa

old Goan mansion.

Above image: 250-year-old Portuguese mansion where the furniture, antiques and newspaper clippings recall wealthy colonial life.

Residence in Goa, India India Sotheby’s International Realty

Above image: A table at the garden’s edge. It  is close to the house and kitchen.  It is  a good place to carry on a casual  conversations, exchange pleasantries  and of course engage in down to earth gossiping. 

Goa residence, Goa. India Sotheby’s International Realty

Above image: the home, built roughly 75 years ago, has traditional verandas with thick white columns and ornate floor tiles. A spacious veranda around the house cuts down the heat and radiation, and keeps the interior cool.  Quite useful to relax in the mooring reading a newspaper  or magazine with a hot brew in your hand. .........

Casa Araujo Alvares, Loutolim,Goa.

Above image: Located in picturesque Loutolim village in Goa  is a  250-year-old mansion called Casa Araujo Alvares once owned by the Alvares family. The owner was a prominent lawyer.  Native Goa-Portuguese design.............................  

18th C home, Goa.

Above image: 18th century residence, Palacio do Deao (Dean's Palace) was built by Portuguese nobleman Jose Paulo, who founded Quepem town and was Dean of the church there;  11,000 square foot mansion, which blends Hindu and Portuguese architecture, It is just  30 mts drive southeast of Margao. Look at the  narrowing open passage with  a  series  of steps.  ..............................

Goan residence, Latin quarters.Panjim Getty

Above image: The stately 400 year-old mansion, one of the largest in the state of Goa. This particular district is UNESCO  recognized Heritage  area way back in 1984. 

Fontainhas, Goa.  Wikimedia Commons

Goa House, Fountainhas,