Braganza House – Goa

Braganza House in Chandor, Goa, is a Portuguese heritage home that is still inhabited by the 14th generation of the Braganza family. The house is approximately 500 years old and the fortunes in this mansion are all but relics of the past, but the family unwilling to convert their home into a museum.

For just Rs 200 (US$ 2.50), the son, Claudio, takes you around their home and acquaints you with their possessions like the now-defunct kerosene fridge, pottery from Macau, Italian mosaic flooring, love seat and an old fashioned easy chair, palanquins, rosewood furniture, writing desk with sunburst design, silverware from Britain, a Wedgwood dining set and an old piano with ebony and ivory keys now incapable of reproduction or repair.

The opulence of the house will tell you of the great power that was once vested in the owner and the European lifestyle they could afford. Though after Goa was returned to India after being freed from 450 years of Portuguese rule, the Braganzas have only their possessions to remind of their glory days.

The Portuguese came to India in search of spice. Vasco da Gama set foot on its shores 1498, in the southern state of Kerala. He also visited Goa. By late 18th century, most of Western India was under Portuguese rule, Goa and Bombay being the jewels in the crown. Bombay in fact comes from Portuguese word: Bom Bahai meaning Good Port and was ceded to the British as a part of Catherine of Braganza’s dowry when she married King Charles II in 1662. Goa on the other hand gained freedom from Portuguese rule as recent as 1961.

There are many heritage homes in Goa in various stages of disrepair. The Braganza House is among the better kept residences which reminds you of the once forgotten days of European grandeur.

The living room has chandeliers from Belgium and rosewood furniture
The writing desk with sunburst pattern is on the far end of the living room and the green kerosene fuelled fridge beyond
Old French windows with stained glass from Venice
Original marble flooring in the ballroom that was fashioned after Louis XIV’s Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles
The man and the lady of the house sat on the chairs to witness the ball
Perforated zinc ceiling for better acoustics
The chandeliers were once lit by candles before electricity was introduced
Private chapel in the Braganza House
The altar has a relic from Saint Frances Xavier
The left wing of the house is the only one available for viewing
The right wing is inaccessible
The entrance to the grand house
Looking down to the entrance and a level below the main entrance to the bungalow

Heritage homes of the yore

An anchor inscribed on the floor of this house that was built in 1925 with Portuguese lettering by the name of the original owner, Tiago Teles; the anchor being extremely symbolic of the maritime voyages taken by the explorers who came to India in search of spices and finding a home.
The owner of the house kindly allowed me in and showed me his most prized possession – a framed picture of his mother’s painting, a frazzled work comprising flowers from 1934.

Home is where art is.
Goans are not afraid of colours that much I can tell you – this was the house called Tiago Teles built in 1925 though the colours would have been more muted
We will never know who Tiago Teles was but one thing we do know from the anchor he chose to inscribe in this house’s flooring is that he had found a home in India.
Pale blue and lemon yellow would be more Portuguese in colour scape like this house
This Santa Cruz chapel is quite similar in design and colour to other Portuguese churches


    • Anna dear, no post is ever complete without you reading it and posting a comment. Thank you always for being in the other side of my posts.

      Luxury in today’s definition can be a Ferrari or a sparkly jewel or a work of art, but the kind of wealth our ancestors had, was a class apart in a literal sense – private chapels with relics from saints, a fruit orchard in the backyard tended by a gardener who’d bring you a papaya or a pomegranate for breakfast, a vantage point that gets the cool breeze from the sea (this one is priceless in today’s day and age), a private burial site – it’s different kind of riches. A few things like sea breeze, you can find in Oz and I envy you for that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes you are so right… i actually like the “luxury” of the past as opposed to todays. A private chapel or one’s own orchard beats a modern day Ferrari in my opinion! I can definitely vouch for the seabreeze – its blowing a gale this afternoon! Lol. Always a pleasure reading your posts, they bring me such joy! Simple pleasures worth more than any riches! X

        Liked by 1 person

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