(Last Updated on : 29/03/2013)
The monuments of Goa
have a distinct Portuguese character to them. They are the products of the melding of European and Indian cultures over many generations. It has been endowed with a beautiful coastline over 104 km (65 miles) long, including the small island of Anjidiva near Karwar
.Due to its proximity to the sea, a number of European settlers landed here first, and of them all the Portuguese managed to hold fort here. As a result most of the architecture seen in the monuments of Goa is distinctly European in character. However, this is not the only defining feature of these monuments. A definite Mughal influence can also be seen here as Goa was also under the rule of the Mughal dynasty
for a period of time. Not only that, despite being full of Churches and Christian places of worship, Goa is also famous for various Hindu monuments and temples.
Goa is mentioned as early as the 3rd century BC as part of the Maurya Empire
. In 1310 it fell to the Muslims, but in 1370 it was absorbed by Vijayanagara
. In 1469 it was conquered by the Bahmani Sultans of Gulbarga
and later passed to the Bahmani Sultans of Gulbarga of Bijapur
. The Portuguese enclave was carved out by Alfonso D'Albuquerque. By the early 17th century Portuguese naval supremacy had been displaced by the English and their commercial pre-eminence was challenged by the English, French and Dutch. Goa ultimately fell to British hands in 1808.
As a result of these various occupations and settlements, the historical legacy of Goa can be seen etched in the various historical and religious monuments of Goa.Thus there are a number of forts, churches, museums, palaces, mansions and historic sites which mirror the culture and heritage of Goa. The unique features of the monuments in Goa include central staircases, balconies upstairs and verandahs with a central courtyard. The buildings have been adorned with blue and red colours and the windows with glass or oyster shells.
A number of monuments of Goa, especially the churches and convents, were built during the sixteenth and seventeenth century AD. These display a fusion of Renaissance and Baroque style and have been built using laterite and lime plaster. Many of these monuments are considered as architectural heritage and fall under the UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The Portuguese introduced the western culture to Goa through their monuments during their imperial power. Cocooned between the Western Ghats mountain range
and the warm waters of the Arabian Sea
, Goa became a charming colonial backwater. The towns and villages have a distinct Mediterranean atmosphere, with red-tiled roofs, narrow streets and brightly painted stucco houses, while the people bear witness to centuries of intermarriage between the Portuguese and Indians.