When Afonso de Albuquerque first tried to claim Goa in 1510, his men encountered fierce resistance from Adil Shah’s forces from their vantage point atop a hillock in Old Goa. Stunned by the intensity of the opposition Albuquerque was forced to retreat. But he was to return in a few months and dislodge Adil Shah. Albuquerque did not forget the high ground from where he had been barraged. After his triumph, he erected a hermitage on the hillock in honour of Mary which later morphed into a chapel known to us now as the Chapel of Our Lady of the Mount. This was originally the site of an old Hindu temple. Albuquerque was known to have sought cooperation of the Hindus in his fight against the Muslims.
From its perch there are sweeping vistas to be enjoyed. The island of Divar to the north across River Mandovi is a picture of serenity, and to the west are the monuments of Old Goa. The chapel recently underwent restoration with funding from Fundação Oriente.
I dig this locale for its vistas and for the solitude it provides for quiet contemplation. But it won’t remain that way for long. The adjacent forest at the foot of the hillock has been depleted and is being primed for construction. Shame on Goans!
The final image in this series is a photograph of a photograph from the archives collection of Central Library in Panjim.