View from my Balcao (My dad blogs from Goa)…
Mitaroy Goa Heritage HomeStay is a house set apart, in the quaint, quiet bye-lanes of Mala-Fontainhas, a UNESCO Heritage protected Zone right in the heart of Panjim.
It is a 100+ year-old home, white with red-tiled-roof, a kind of a dak-bunglow seen somewhere in the Portuguese-era of the late 1800 and identified with their invasion and occupation of the Indian territory. It evokes the Portuguese word “saudade” loosely translated to ” a kind of deep longing, nostalgic and heart-rending of something lost, something dearly-loved”. It takes one back in time & space, to the relics of the Portuguese raj, visual signs of history presumably dead and done-with, reminiscing the unfamiliar little enclaves of the Portuguese settlers.
The simplicity & intrigue surrounding these little pockets of history strikes a chord in one’s mind ( heart ?) as a defence against an encroaching and threatening landscape across the Ourem Creek, a way of keeping its distance from the onrushing, almost cruel development by virtue of its lonely, recessed locale. Evolved from rudimentary dwellings into extremely comforting, even elegant guest-houses and home-stays, these bunglows carry the history of the Portoguese sahibs-memsahibs who lived hereabouts and developed the surrounding territory that is Goa today. A WalkAbout in these parts is a special treat for visitors in search of history & culture. A 400-year-old (white-washed) chapel dominates the landscape in hushed, respected silence through the day, as does a bright, domed temple.
The architecture is notably simple and simplified, with the heat-protecting red-tiled roofs, airy red-oxide balcaos for catnapping while passing the time of the (hot) days and (cooler) nights in discussion and repartee, built closely-knit, ostensibly to foster camaraderie and a kind of a protection from any intruders, close to the waters-edge and closer to the source of water (fountain …fontainhas in Porto) and large rooms with high-ceilings.
HomeStays & GuestHouses apart, many of these bunglows have been neatly metamorhed into boutiques, bakeries & cafes promoting the Goan culture in all its hues and tastes – a typical vase or jar, a simple prawn-curry-rice, an original version of bebinca(sweet).
Spot an old lady, elegant in her neatly-groomed white hairdo, prim in her laced-dress or marathi-tied cotton saree, powdered & all, staring vacantly out of her lace-curtained window as dusk gathers its folds and envelopes the surroundings in a kind of an eerie darkness, interrupted by the peal of the Church-bell or the gong of the bright-lit temple nearby. That one moment is a beautiful one that remains etched in one’s memory of a Goa that once was Portuguese territory.
A holiday with some history tossed about for a pleasant recall about the last remaining vistages of the Portuguese culture.
Mitaroy Goa Heritage HomeStay offers luxuriously appointed, spacious suites with privacy & silence, breakfast & beer, personalised service and peaceful existence starting at Rs 6,400 per night in a Heritage Suite.
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