THE STATE OF GOA
2000 BCE – 1900 CE
2000 BCE – 1900 CE
THE STATE OF GOA
2000 BCE – 1900 CE
ACOUSTIC HISTORY OF GOAN HERITAGE
Sound measures space and makes it comprehensible. We stroke the boundaries of space with our ears.
Every space has its unique acoustic properties because of the combination of its dimensions, architectural design and use of construction materials. Spaces especially those with heritage or historic value can be conserved through their unique acoustic signatures.
An alternative exploration of Goan history and heritage, a backdoor where the past presents itself, not as historical data or art, but as experience. Over time, all enduring historical spaces recorded in various media will witness losses of context and content. At the outer edges of this information loss is acoustic data. This conservation of Goa’s heritage through sound is produced through extraction of each space’s unique acoustic data that has endured through time as Acoustic Signatures.
Rivona caves are one of the finest spatial examples of Buddhist influence in Goa. This laterite structure is believed to be a natural cave but which was inhabited until the 6–7th century. A distinguished feature of these caves is a ‘’Pitha’’ which supposedly served as a seat for a teacher. The influence of Buddhism is very evident not only through the design and architecture, but also through the spiritual serenity that Rivona caves offer as an experience.
On the fort stands a four-storey Portuguese lighthouse that was erected in 1864 – it is the oldest of its kind in Asia. The fort has an enormous cistern – also, one of the biggest in Asia at that time with a capacity of over 20,00,000 gallons of water.
The fort is divided in two spaces: the upper part functioned as the fort and watering station, while the lower part served as a safe berth for Portuguese ships. Whereas the upper part has a moat, underground water storage chamber, gunpowder room, light house and bastions, it also has a secret escape passage that could be used during war or emergency events.
The most interesting part of the Safa Masjid complex is the huge tank with 44 ‘hammams’ (hot air baths) dotting its four inner sides with typical Islamic Mehrab-style arcs. The tank has a flight of stairs constructed in the essential Hindu bathing ‘ghats’ style. This green rectangular tank holds a mirror to the small mosque which stands elegantly facing it, both built with laterite stone masonry. Safa Masjid is an illustrious fusion of Indo-Islamic architectural styles and as a space, it remains a celebrated venue during the annual festivals of Eid-Ul-Adha and Eid-Ul-Zuha.
Adjoining the enclosure’s entrance are long balconies which have keen similarities to the balcoes (singular balcao) found in Goan Portuguese homes, realising a parallel blend of Islamic and Portuguese architecture.
Namazgah mosque was built by Prince Akbar to commemorate a battle which he and the Marathas, led by Sambhaji, fought against the Portuguese in 1683.
With a pale yellow exterior, the chapel is built with laterite stones and has rectangular window panes as remnants of the Old Portuguese style. This small yet elegant chapel is one of the most historically significant structures of Goa.
The facade has two towers on either side. Two octagonal rooms are surmounted by domicile roofs on either side of the main altar. Apart from the chief altar, the Church of St. Cajetan has six other altars. The altars have been intricately carved showcasing a distinctive sense of artistry. They are gilded in Baroque style with twisted shafts and are adorned with figures of angels.
With windows near the roof and rounded towers, the church resembles a fortress. It has a two storey portico built with laterite and plaster of lime mortar. The roof is tiled and is supported by wooden rafters.
The floor of the church is laid out with marble embedded with precious stones. The imposing facade built out of black granite is an exquisite combination of the Doric, Corinthian and composite styles – its simplicity is remarkable. The interior of the church is built in Mosaic-Corinthian style. Part of the building was partially burned down in 1633 and was rebuilt in 1783.
The main altar is dedicated to Catherine of Alexandria, and there are several old paintings on either side of it. On the right is a Chapel of the Cross of Miracles, where according to local legends, a vision of Christ appeared in 1619. The Se Cathedral’s tower houses a large bell known as the “Golden Bell” which derived its name on account of its rich golden colour. It is considered as one of the largest churches in Goa, and one of the finest in the world.
A small laterite mud shrine was built to install the deity in its new location. The mud-shrine was converted into a beautiful temple whose foundation stone was laid in 1730 during the reign of Maratha ruler Shahu Raje of Satara. Constructed in Indo-Portuguese style, the temple was completed in 1738 and was last renovated in 1966.
The fort was subsequently rebuilt by the Portuguese to boost their defence along Panjim. In the early 1800s, the fort was used as a Military School and had in its armoury, a battery of four guns. The fort has a well, living quarters for the defenders and a chapel dedicated to St. Anthony. Swathes of the exceptionally beautiful Goan countryside landscapes surround the fort making this robust fort, a favourite among photographers.
This historic fort also consists of ruins which may have once been the quarters of the troops stationed at the fort. It was used as a prison till 1955 after which, it was abandoned. Inside the fort lies the church of Santo Antonio which is in excellent condition and continues to be visited by devotees.
THE STORY OF FOUNDATION
ARCHEOLOGY SURVEY OF INDIA
GOA STATE ARCHIVES AND ARCHEOLOGY