Ponte de Liñhares, the causeway joining Panjim and Ribandar, was built in 1633, and is acknowledged as a signal feat of engineering. Measuring just under 3 kms in length, the route is flanked by River Mandovi on one side and salt pans embedded in Khazan lands – a remarkable indigenous hydrologic system predating the Portuguese, designed to control tidal flow – on the other.
The construction of Ponte de Pangim, which was subsequently renamed Ponte de Liñhares, was ordered around 1633 by D. Miguel de Noronha, 4° conde de Linhares and 23rd Viceroy (1629-1635). It provided a link between Pangim and what later on came to be called the Second Ward of Nova Goa i.e. Ribandar…The bridge has a length of 4448 covados (one covado = 0.66 metre) so that its length is around 2935.68 metres. It has 38 arches on the Pangim side, the sixth being the widest. In its middle section, the bridge has another 3 arches; and at the Ribandar’s end, it has 3 more, with the middle one being the widest…Much of this road-cum-bridge was built within a year’s time.
The main motive which led D. Miguel de Noronha, who was a Portuguese nobleman, to order the undertaking of this major project was his determination to spend locally the revenues of the Estado da Índia rather than have to remit them to Portugal…An estimate of its cost computed at prices prevailing in the mid-1860s put the figure at around Rs. 40,000/- (A. Lopes Mendes). A project of this nature and magnitude would have cost over a hundred crores today, according to experts…
For centuries Ponte de Liñhares has held Goans in thrall with its visually soothing panoramas. But in the past 10 years, the explosion in motor traffic and the haphazard birth of hideous concrete structures on the overlooking hills have destroyed the beauty of the area and turned it into an eyesore.
These images were taken over a period of 3 years in varied weather and lighting conditions; the archival photographs adduced provide a ready historical perspective.
River Mandovi is seen on the left from the Panjim end of the causeway.
This image was taken soon after sunrise from the hill in Ribandar. To the left of the causeway is the Khazan land with its salt pans – tiny mounds of crystallized salt are seen on the lower left.
The sorry legacy of our deplorable builders and politicos in plain sight, looking over the Mandovi bridge (another Third World dud) from Panjim towards Ribandar. Notice the old white chapel of Our Lady of Remedios at the foot of the hill at the other end of Ponte de Liñhares. You will see it again in the archival photographs.
In this c. 1900 view from the hill near the current High Court in Panjim, both the Mandovi river and the Khazan salt pans are seen in their pristine condition. Look carefully for the Remedios chapel at the far end. This and the next image are photographs of photographs from the Souza & Paul collection now in the custody of Central Library in Panjim.
The final two images are photographs of photographs from the book Postais Antigos do Estado da Índia by João Loureiro (sponsored by Fundação Macau, 1998).
Here the Remedios chapel in Ribandar is clearly seen. Take note of the unmolested hilltop and compare with image #3 above.