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.
Thick monsoon clouds loom over the Zuari river in Goa.
This was an unplanned shot. I was returning to Panjim one evening in Sept 2007 after a long day out. As we approached the bridge the atmospherics suddenly assumed an irresistible mien. I had the Canon TS-E 90mm lens on me and put it to use.
In this installment, we look at two of Panjim‘s legendary hotels.
The 19th C Hotel Republica is among the city’s earliest hotels, and is located along Afonso Mexia Road in central Panjim, near the Old Secretariat building. W. Somerset Maugham stayed here in 1938 during his visit to Goa. If I recall correctly, the hotel also had a bit role in World War II history – German spies were caught on its premises. Today, Hotel Republica has devolved into a low budget way station for ill-mannered tourist hordes.
Hotel Mandovi enjoys the same kind of cachet in the Goan mind as that accorded the Taj Mahal Hotel by the denizens of Mumbai. The hotel was erected on the Noronha family land (the family chapel still stands), and is owned by the Quenim family. Built in the Art Deco style, it first opened for business on December 1, 1952. Although some of the old world elegance has now frayed, its restaurant Riorico is known to this day for outstanding Goan cuisine, especially its signature Goan-Portuguese specialties.
All links to Panjim are consolidated here.