One of the lasting legacies of Goa's colonial past are the magnificent palatial mansions now known as heritage homes.
During Portuguese rule wealthy Goan merchants and high ranking officials built magnificent residential houses on land granted to them by the Portuguese. The design of these homes was inspired by European architectural styles, using local materials such as red literate stone and terracotta roof tiles from Mangalore in neighbouring Karnataka. The furnishings and decorations came from all around the world - mirrors from Venice, Chandeliers from Belgium, porcelain from China and tapestries from Portugal, while the rosewood furniture was exquisitely carved by local craftsmen.
Many of these homes are still occupied by the ancestors of the original owners and some can be visited by appointment only. Others have been transformed into wonderful boutique hotels, such as Casa Anjuna pictured above, and another is now a museum.
Heritage Goa Excursion
This fascinating tour explores Goa's colonial past visiting museums, mansions and churches including the heritage home, Menezes Braganza Pereira house, in the village of Chandor. This 350-year-old mansion is now home to a fabulous museum of chandeliers, paintings, porcelain and period furniture. Another stop is to see the 213-year-old Palace in Quepem, built by a Portuguese noble man, the founder of Quepem town. Surrounded by lush exotic gardens, the house itself is a wonderful mix of both Hindu and Portuguese architectural styles.
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Heritage Home Hotels
Casa Anjuna, North Goa
Walking into Casa Anjuna is like stepping back in time. Each of the 24 rooms is uniquely furnished with antiques and many personal touches and the peaceful gardens are a real delight with palm trees and hibiscus flowers. There’s also a beautiful swimming pool and a simple restaurant that has a great reputation for serving excellent traditional and international cuisine.
From the hotel it is just a short walk to the restaurants, shops and craft stalls of Anjuna, while the nearest beach, a long stretch of golden sand, is about a mile away.
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Panjim Inn, central Goa
Panjim Inn in the Fontainhas, Latin Quarter of Panjim is a small, family run hotel, recognised as the state’s first classified Heritage Hotel. Furnished in antiques and unique works of art, a stay here will transport you back to Goa’s rich colonial past. Although added modern conveniences such as air-conditioning, WiFi and an outdoor Jacuzzi on the Inn’s top floor, will bring you back to the present day.
The hotel offers a self-guided walking tour of the neighbourhood of Fontainhas, which has retained much of its character and charm. Wander its narrow winding streets to discover whitewashed chapels and more wonderful if a little weathered, examples of heritage homes.
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