Goa,  India,  South India,  Travel,  Uncategorized

Braganza Pereira House: A Fine Example of Indo-Portugese Architecture

Day 2 (B) ~ #BlogchatterA2Z challenge

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The Braganza Pereira house has been standing tall, overlooking the Chandor town square, for over 350 odd years. The two-storeyed house is unique to Goa – you are greeted with a very Portuguese facade topped with a local red-brick tiled roof. The endless mother-of-pearl lined windows (28 windows in total) and the decorative imported iron railings create a nice symmetry. Stepping in, you reach a courtyard, typical of traditional Hindu architecture.

The ancient house is flanked by palm trees in the front and a fruit orchard in the backyard. During its heydays, the property spread across 10,000 acres. The Braganza family built this home in the 17th century, on land gifted by the king of Portugal, Don Luiz.

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Several generations ago, there were no male heirs and the house was split between two sisters. The West Wing belongs to one set of the family’s descendants, the Menezes-Braganças. The east wing is owned by the Pereira-Braganza family. The east wing boasts of a ballroom with Belgian chandeliers and Italian tiled floor. It also has a private chapel, with a lovely altar and a carefully-preserved nail that belonged to St Francis Xavier.

Both sides of the house boast of huge rooms, with antique furniture in a classical Italian style, and rare treasures collected over generations from the world. The house has been opened to visitors, for sustenance; tours are typically conducted by family members who have many stories and memories to share.

How does it feel to live in a house that has a life of its own, a nostalgic relic of times gone with tides, a witness to the amalgamation of different cultures, family and social changes, and hopes and aspirations of its inhabitants as well as the nation itself.

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