Saturday, October 17, 2015

Cape Cabo - Cabo Raj Nivas

The Cabo Palace Rama Raj Bhavan: The Cabo Fort is known severally in the modern times as the Cabo Fort, Cabo Palace, Cabo Raj Niwas and even Raj Bhavan. Currently the house of the Governor's house, it used to house the Viceroy in Portuguese India. Built in around 1540 AD opposite Fort Aguada on the south headland of the river Mandovi, the Cabo ('cape' in Portuguese) Palace fortress housed the Franciscan monastery, which later (1594 AD) became the official residence of the Governor of Goa. The exact date about the first construction of the fort is not known but in a recently discovered note dated 30th June 1541, there was a proposal to locate a Franciscan priest at the chapel, which already existed.

In 1540, the eighth Governor, D. Estevao de Gama, proposed the idea of constructing some fortifications at the mansion site to guard the entrance to both the Mandovi and Zuari rivers. Slowly, over the years, the Cabo Fort was converted into one of the best equipped and important fortresses.

A small Chapel was constructed at the end of the mansion, and was dedicated to Our virgin lady of The cape (Nossa Senhora do Cabo).  The foundation of the monastery was laid started of on 5th February 1594 by Bishop de Santa Maria and was completed within the period of six months only, exactly on 14th July 1594. The Cabo Fort was constructed with laterite stones available at the site. The pits formed from the extractions of these stone were then covered to form cisterns to which rainwater was carried via the sloping roofs of the buildings - thus providing excellent storage tanks for water.

The Cabo Palace is now known as the Raj Bahavan (the official residence of the Governors of the States in India). It is also among the finest of the Raj Bhavans and also the oldest - as no other residence of a Governor of a State in India had its origin to over four hundred years in the past.

The official reception area consists area consists of a large hall called the Darbar Hall, used at the time of receptions and swearing in ceremonies and other official occasions. The Dining room has a seating capacity of over 30 persons. The living quarters of the Governor and his family are on the same floor. A glossy verandah runs along the entire portion overlooking the Mandovi Bay and the Arabian Sea giving one a feeling of being on a ship's deck.

There are three suites and seven double rooms for guests. The offices of the Governor, his secretariat and staff are located on the ground floor in a separate annex.

The Raj Bhavan has a fine collection of Bohemian chandeliers, Chinese porcelain, silver and furniture. The most remarkable are the pieces of antique Chinese porcelain presumably manufactured in Canton. There is also a worn-out set of crockery having a similar design with same coat of arms. All these had been specially ordered for the use of the Portuguese Governor General. There is also an excellent collection of high quality wooden furniture with exquisite workmanship. A set of intricately carved chairs are simply remarkable for the fact that Hindu Gods and Temples have been carved on them. In the later centuries complete harmony between Christians and Hindus was very evident in Goa.