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Explore the distinctive features of Portuguese architecture and heritage houses in Chandor, the oldest known capital of Goa.
For 400 years the Portuguese’s left an indelible stamp on the land and its people. Their rule also shaped its cultural roots, enriching visitors from all over the globe who pass through this paradise of sea and sunshine.
The language of architecture has been one of the most elegant in sharing its Portuguese heritage on this slice of Indian soil by the Arabian Sea. Even today there is enough local talent to produce those elegant homes that sweep you away to faraway Portugal, the land of their great inspiration. And nowhere better than Goa’s city of Chandor- the oldest known capital of Goa, to understand and appreciate those Portuguese inspirations that continue to thrive to this day. Chandor or Chandrapur is a sleepy village in South Goa, 43 km south of the state’s capital, Panaji; it served as an old Hindu capital before the advent of the Portuguese. Located southeast of Margao via the Chandor-Margao Road the village is steeped in history and offers an opportunity to interact with the current generation of the family members of one of the most prestigious heritage homes in the village.
We meet up the Nossa Senhora de Belem Church in the heart of Chandor village to start exploring this old capital of Goa. Our first major stop is at Menezes Braganza Pereira mansion, whose magnificent 17th-century sprawl presides over one side of Chandor’s village square. This is the largest Portuguese mansion of its kind in Goa and is an excellent exemplar of the grand and glorious mansion traditions of Portuguese rule in India. They Braganza family worked closely and successfully with the government of Portugal for centuries, and in return, was gifted the land that the mansion is built, on as well as the name of the last royal house of Portugal (Braganza). The coat of arms is on display in the ballroom. The mansion is now divided into two wings, each being inherited by the two sisters in the family; it is open to tours today.
Your route takes you past an iconic chapel and remnants of the fortress that Chandor was during the rule of the Kadamba kings.
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