The Portuguese Influence
Goan mansions reflect a dozen historical upheavals. But more than anything they reflect the arrival of the Portuguese in 1510 and their stay in Goa till 1961. The Goan craftsmen however worked their mischievous artistry to sneak into Christian idolatry their own primal cult figures.
They joyously moulded the Madonna's as bosomy as their primal Laxmi's (also spelt as Lakshmi's), their Christ's as angular as the Himalayan Sadhu. They blended Mediterranean flora, grapes and vines, with Indian fauna, elephants, tigers and lions.
Salvador Costa Mansion
This mansion in Loutolim, a South Goa village is famous for the many large and beautiful houses spread out in a radius of about 1-km from the nucleus of the village. The Costa mansion was built in the 19th century by two wealthy siblings and priests, Padre Pedrinho and Padre Laurence. Built in the Indian style such as low pitched tiled roof and wide verandas as well as European accouterments such as Gothic- style windows and cluster columns, it's architecture straddles with the best of both worlds just as Goa still does.
Solar Dos Colacos Mansion
Solar dos Colacoa Mansion is situated at Ribandar on the left bank of the River Mandovi, mid-way between Old Goa and Panjim. It is built in baroque style with an imposing facade with a spectacular view of islands and the historical churches of Old Goa. It is, probably, the only Goan mansion that faces the river. Typical of the ambivalence of the times, Nazario Colaco II carved a sideboard of his dining room with scenes from the Ramayana. But this is counter balanced by the strident Catholicism of the family's private chapel.
Dr. Pinto De Rosario Mansion
Pinto de Rosario Mansion in Porvorim, halfway between Panjim and Mapusa, reflects more the joy of possession than reverence for style. Piled up in sideboards and cupboards are rare pieces of cut-glass, silver, blue china, ivory. The objects d'art are yet to be categorised and dated. But the sheer quantity and doubtless quality of most of the items are quite astounding. The Italian floor tiling is the highlight of the parlour. Above the exquisitely carved sofa is a Dutch tapestry, a replica of Rembrandt's Night Watch. The love- chair is said to be 200 years old.
Mascarenhas Mansion in Anjuna, North Goa, is classic due to its characteristic "balcoes" (balconies). The monumental riches will overpower one. The seat along the length of the porch are L-shaped, of expensive wood, the glare is cut off with a mixture of brightly coloured stained glass and, as if to contrast it, light tinted flint glass "such as which is no longer made" with fine floral etchings.
Vivian Coutinho Mansion
Vivian Coutinho Mansion in Fatorda at the entrance of Margao reveals the care that went into the planning of the entrance of a house. The Coutinhos had a well-kept landscaped garden, the green pleasantly contrasting the red of the masonry seats. They broke the monotony of the red wash and the outer wall, interspersing decorative tiles.
The corridor of this massive mansion runs along the front facade and faces the Mandovi River. This is the only extant Goan mansion that faces the waterfront. The walls are washed in Ox-blood colour, one of the three traditional colours of Goan exteriors, the other being White (very Portuguese) and indigo (very Indian).