Don’t be surprised if I say Goa is essentially a village. Yes, the real Goa is very rural and untouched. And if you don’t have time to discover this, a visit to a Goa village, namely Ancestral Goa is perfect. One can catch a close glimpse of life in rural Goa and unwind.
To cater to tourists who show interest in the history, culture and life of rural Goa, ‘Ancestral Goa’ in Loutolim was started in 1995 from the dream of a Goan artist to carve a niche for itself on international tourist map.
A privately owned enterprise of Mahendra Jocelino Araujo Alvares, Ancestral Goa has been dubbed by the government of India as the ‘most innovative and unique project in India’s tourism industry’. The Education department recommends it strongly for students.
Basically Ancestral Goa is shown in two parts; one is an old house of the Portuguese ruler which now serves as a museum. The other part is the Big Foot or the open air museum depicting a typical Goan village of that era.
One needs to buy ticket only once and one can hire Hindi or English speaking guide also. We hired Manisha, a very polite English speaking guide. I think these guides get commission for the no. of rounds they do because every girl was very keen on taking up the tourists.
The old Portuguese house has sloped tiled roof and outer walls are green coloured. On top of main door, there is a nameplate of Araujo Alvares. The door has frog shaped door knocker. This house reminded me of my several visits & stays in Europe where I had seen some of very similar things, the door knocker being one of them. Even I have one in the shape of lion head.
The house is a very big one, complete with courtyards, large windows, passages, prayer rooms, separate bathroom for ladies, separate toilets for children, rooms for cook, long dining hall, ‘justice’ room, study, play room etc. and history unravels when the aura of Goan Portuguese ambiance is recreated complete with accessories such as paalki (palanquins), hats, old time radio, typewriter, lamps, paintings, certificates, commodes, toys, baby cots, crockery, utensils, sepia-toned photographs, domed lamps and a designed marble floor to say the least.
I have more than 125 photos of this house alone. All the internal walls are painted in different colours. The house is well maintained. It looked like people are still staying there. The guide explained to us in detail how they used to live everyday life, how the robbers were made fool of or what vessels were used for which type of cooking.
As per the guide, the Portuguese ancestors ruled for around 430 years. The last generation has a brother–sister duo and they are studying somewhere in India (identity of the place is kept private for obvious reasons). Second last generation (their father), though Christian by religion, had great faith in Lord Ganesha and had started the tradition of collecting Ganesha’s idols which his children also continued. Till now more than 5900 idols of different size & shapes have been collected.
Some of the walls adorning family photos. In the above picture, you can see the last descendants (sister-brother duo) of the family on left hand side.
I’ll talk about some tit-bits from this house in later posts.