Saturday, February 23, 2013

Goa Hindu Architecture

Goa had been ruled by various Hindu dynasties such as the Chalukyas of Badami, the Silaharas, the Kadambas, the Rashtrakutas and the western Chalukyas of Kalyani  followed by the Portuguese.  Thus Goa Hindu Architecture is an amalgamation of Indian, Islamic and Portuguese styles. 

Traditional pre Portuguese hindu architecture was more inward-looking with small windows; this reflected the secluded role of women. The houses opened into courtyards, and rarely opened onto streets. Most houses used mud walls with thatched roofs and used locally available materials.

However post the 18th Century , goan architecture as a whole became more outward looking and ornamental, with balcaos (covered porches) and verandas facing the street. During Portuguese rule an owner could be fined if his house was not painted. So paint they did, usually with bright, dramatic colours such as lilac-blues, sunflower-yellows and ruby-reds. White was normally reserved for churches and seldom used in Goan Hindu Architecture 

Gateposts and Compound walls
The Properties were normally enclosed with stone walls also called “ lobraan” – big laterite stones which were un shaped , and owners expressed their individuality by using elaborate designs. Gateways consisted of elaborately carved compound walls on either side of the gate posts.

The Balcao
This resembles a porch and functions as an outdoor living space with benches to sit down and catch the breeze while watching the world go by. These balcaos were bordered by ornamental columns that sometimes continued along the steps and added to the stature of the house.

The Plinth
The role of the plinth was very important for the Goan Culture. The houses of rich landlords had high plinths with grand staircases leading to the front door or balcao.

The Saal
A large room was the first room one stepped in on entering a Goan Hindu home. This space was used for entertaining guests. In later generations this room would normally get split into multiple parts when the property was split amongst the Heirs of the property. From the saal one could enter the rest of the house, which usually revolved around a courtyard.
Goa Hindu Architecture- Saal
Most of the big houses have a courtyard called as Rajangan with a Tulasi Vrindavan in the middle. The Rajangan or just Angan was a large space with internal court open to the sky; roofs from all sides of the house drained into it. The bedrooms flanked the courtyard. 

Goa Hindu Architecture -Rajangan

Goa Hindu Architecture -Angan

Deva kood
Normally this would be located near the kitchen and would be flanked by a bigger hall specially meant for celebrating festivals such as Ganesh Chaturthi and Diwali 


Raanchi kood
On the other end of the saal were the kitchens and service areas of the house. This room would also have an attached store room called as Kothar

Gotho (Goshala)
Most Hindu houses had cattle and they kept them here in the Gotho

These were bathrooms located next to the well at the back of the house.

Bain (The wells)

This was an important feature. Most large Hindu houses in Goa had 1 or more wells for fresh water. One of them was used for consumption and other (normally at the back of the house was used for other purposes)

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