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  • Benjamin John

Figueiredo House - Oldest Colonial Mansion in India

Updated: Apr 2, 2020

The best part of the Konkan railway is it's easy connectivity from Kerala to Goa along the west coast of India. The West coast railroad (Konkan Railway) connects these two beautiful states very well. The route has some of the longest rail tunnels in the country. An overnight's train from Cochin will take you to Goa and it's fun.


We were to visit Goa on a very person agenda, we have our uncle staying in Ponda as he has some business in Goa. It was the summer of 2017, and we boarded our train to Goa. It is just above 12 hours, and most of them are overnight trains either heading to Mumbai or Delhi via the Konkan railway. Before building the Konkan railroad, twenty-five years back it was a different route to Mumbai and Delhi. If you had to go to Goa, you had to catch a train to Mangalore and board an overnight bus from Mangalore to Goa, the past twenty years the Konkan railway has dramatically changed the way people travel along the west coast of India.


We reached Goa quite early in the morning, and we were picked up from the station. There was some sleep still left back which we completed after arriving home. In the afternoon, Allwin, my cousin was to take us to a Mansion in Loutolim, a little village in South Goa. We visited this mansion named Figueiredo Mansion built in the year 1590. When you talk about 1590, it is quite a long, a four-century-old mansion. A mansion is those days would have been possible only for the affluent. Figueiredo family is well known in Goa among the Catholic community. Conde Nast Traveler had an article about this Bungalow, placing it ideally to the historical timeline of our country. They titled it as, "A Goan house older than the Taj Mahal just opened its doors for you." It is genuine, and Allwin took us there where we met Fatima, the host of the house. I told her that I would be taking some videos of the place to make a short video about the Villa and she graciously obliged to our request. The video came up with her experience of revamping the whole Mansion into a museum and homestay where guests could experience a slice of real Indo-Portuguese culture and lifestyle.



We reached Goa quite early in the morning, and we were picked up from the station. There was some sleep still left back which we completed after arriving home. In the afternoon, Allwin, my cousin was to take us to a Mansion in Loutolim, a little village in South Goa. We visited this mansion named Figueiredo Mansion built in the year 1590. When you talk about 1590, it is quite a long, a four-century-old mansion. A mansion is those days would have been possible only for the affluent. Figueiredo family is well known in Goa among the Catholic community. Conde Nast Traveler had an article about this Bungalow, placing it ideally to the historical timeline of our country. They titled it as, "A Goan house older than the Taj Mahal just opened its doors for you." It is genuine, and Allwin took us there where we met Fatima, the host of the house. I told her that I would be taking some videos of the place to make a short video about the Villa and she graciously obliged to our request. The video came up with her experience of revamping the whole Mansion into a museum and homestay where guests could experience a slice of real Indo-Portuguese culture and lifestyle.


From there Allwin took us further South, I was surprised to know about his knowledge about the least known beautiful places in Goa. He should have been a guide in Goa, and not do what he is doing currently. We drove South crossed by bridges and rivers and finally arrived a cliff from where we saw that awesome Sunset. The cliff beach was very similar to that of Varkala in Kerala. A laterite cliff and a small sandy beach below the rocks and the water seemed to be very greenish. The place was known as "Cabo De Rama Beach." It was more of the Rural Goa with a lot of Cashew nut trees, and most of the household were into making "Kaju Feni," you get the odor of it even from a long distance. When coming back from "Cabo De Rama Beach," Allwin took us to this interesting Beef burger place, where a woman manages to make hundred of beef burgers for people coming into her outlet. It is a very busy place in Benaulim (South Goa), my brother Matthew had once written a blog about this restaurant as the taste of these burgers conquered his heart.



We were in Goa for three nights; it was very much a personal visit and not a tour. But every day somehow we visited places. There is this amazing waterfall called the "Dudh Sagar Waterfalls" in South Goa, where there is a railroad bridge built over the waterfall. You will have to either trek or go in off road jeeps which are available there. Monsoon is the best time to Visit Dudh Sagar. Since it was summer, the water levels would not be that great. So Allwin suggested we go to a different place which is close by Dudh Sagar, some 15 kilometers from the main road connecting Karnataka and Goa. It was a small Shivaite Temple in the middle of the reserve forest near the village of Tambdi Surla. We were driving from Ponda, and we could see a lot of trucks coming like convoys, all of them were transporting iron ore from the mining centers, most of the roads are dusty. From the Goa-Karnataka check post, you will have to go into the woods for around 15 Kilometers from the Village of Bolcornem. It is 65 Kilometers from Panaji (Panjim), the capital of Goa. This 12th-century temple built by the Kadamba rulers still retains its charm, when you see the whole of Goa is of laterite stone structures, The Mahadev Temple is of Basalt, which they might have brought all the way from the Deccan Plateau. Here is a quick video about The Mahadev Temple at Tambdi Surla.



The next day, we thought we would just go to Colva Beach in South Goa, this beach is very familiar to me, I have stayed close to Colva during by training days at Park Hyatt. The idea was to go for Para-sailing as Jenya wanted to try it out, plus we thought we would have some Goan Fish curry rice somewhere near Colva. We have gone to North Goa very few times; it has always been crowded there, very much similar to Mumbai CST station. I have also stayed in Candolim for a month during a training sessions at Taj Fort Aguada. So we paid around INR 2000 for two adults for a parasailing program. They take us in a small boat to a point quote away from the shores, where we get into a larger boat. We were around six of us on board, and everybody would do a para-sailing around 2 minutes. To my perspective, it was nothing adventurous, but safe and exciting. Something you can try when you are in Goa. They lift us and then drop us into the water and again lift you up swiftly (that was fast) for which the charges are extra. Allwin recommended Mikey's, close to Colva. Since I have already had excellent Goa fish curry rice thalis in the past, to be frank, Mikey's was not great regarding Food, and there was no Kingfish which is generally expected on the plate. They have a beautiful panoramic view of the beach and sea, just like any of those shacks. The food was just okay and had no connection to the price they charge.


So it was time to bid farewell to Goa, and we boarded an evening train to Goa. The tickets booked was for an AC three-tire ticket on the Mangala Lakshadweep Express, the train never reaches Madgoan station on time as some works are happening between Ratnagiri and Goa. We boarded the train; it was a big mess out there. I have always noticed this particular thing. By the time the train reaches Goa, the train becomes shabby. The reason is obvious, the train starts from Delhi, by the time it reaches Goa, it is more than 24 hours. Secondly, the train waste disposal systems are too bad; it is just a small waste bin for 72 passengers onboard a particular coach. Since the rail ministry is allocating a lot of funds for waste disposal and cleanliness, we could expect some improvement in the coming years.


It was some lovely time in Goa; there are still a lot of things to see in Goa. It is not just the beaches and parties in Goa; there is so much for the traveler in you looking out of memorable experiences. We are going to trek up Dudh Sagar on our next trip!


For some inspiration you can have a look at the 12 mind blowing experiences in Goa by Shivya Nath

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