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10 gems in Margao

Margao is famously known as the commercial capital of Goa, buy but there’s quite a bit more to this city than commerce. The area from Holy Spirit Church to the Municipal building abounds with fascinating sights. Let’s walk from the Kadamba bus stand to 10 places worth seeing.

1.   The Old Municipal Building near the Holy Spirit Church looks benign enough, click but it was the site of a massacre – on 21st September 1890. Supporters of the Partido Indiano political party led by Jose Inacio Loyola protested against rigged elections. The local authorities opened fire, clinic killing 22 of the protestors. The Old Market shops and a small Chapel stand near the adjacent Communidade building. Down the road from the Old Market shops stands the District Court building, with its origins in 1777.


2.   Holy Spirit Church – The first mass at the original church at this location was celebrated 449 years ago! The present church, the fifth structure on this site, was built in 1675. The gold-leaf gilt screen behind the altar and the stone vaulted roof are magnificent. Indian influences can be seen in the motifs on the interior of the church (peacock, nagas) as well as the exterior (flowerpot finials). The gable of the church is crowned by a beautiful Pozzoan pediment. The parochial house is two-storied with a timber floor and a well maintained courtyard garden.


3.   House of Alvares near Holy Spirit church. Two cannon shots from the firing of 21st September 1890 remain lodged in the wall of this house. Circular plaques around the embedded shots mark the date 21.9.1890.

4.   The House of Seven Gables is set on a high plinth off the busy Borda road. Oyster shell windows are fronted by balconies supported by corbels. This palatial house of the Silva family has its own Baroque Chapel within. An ancestor, Sebastiao da Silva, was Secretary to the then Portuguese Viceroy, an important post that merited a palace like this! Baroque stucco work abounds everywhere.

5.   The St. Joaquim Chapel was built in 1783-86, the porch being a later addition. Twin bell towers flank the Neo-Roman Mannerist façade. The sacristy of this Chapel is adorned with frescoes painted by the muralist and theologian José Pereira depicting Christ and Creation. Scenes from the Goan way of life, like a fish market, a cowshed, cooking a wild boar for a feast, etc. cover the vault and walls.



6.   The Damodar Sal on the Abade Faria Road is a family temple open to devotees. The word Sal originates from ‘sala’, the Portuguese word for a formal hall. The idol of Lord Damodar was installed in a part of the house of the Naik-Shankwalker family over 250 years back, and the temple came to be known as Damodar Sal. Swami Vivekananda visited this house and stayed here in 1892.

7.   The house of the Lourenco family, a single-storied house on Abade Faria Road with a continuous veranda, has a unique feature. The veranda railing is made from Chinese porcelain, in the ‘eternity and lion’s feet’ pattern. The shutters at the end of the house are fitted with oyster shell lozenges fitted onto timber battens, a popular translucent alternative for the days before glass became freely available.

8.   House of Monte da Silva on Abade Faria Road – The upper floor veranda of this double storied house runs across the entire front, supported by corbels. Four leafed clovers decorate the ground floor windows while exquisite tracery adorns the five-cusped first floor windows. The twin stairway within is built in stone and the sala (hall) is graced with elegant period furniture. Inner courtyards ventilate the front and rear parts of the house.

9.   The Margao Municipal Council building was built in 1905, in a Neo-Classical architectural style. The Municipal Library is on the ground floor. Arched arcades, verandas and a balustrade at the roof grace all the façades of the building. The Margao Municipal Garden has memorials to four prominent Goans.The northern segment of the Garden is called the Aga Khan Children’s Park.


10. The New Market to the south-east was built in 1890-1910 and was known as Afonso de Albuquerque Market till Liberation. The covered market stalls bustle with activity from dawn to dusk. Eateries like the very economical Bombay Cafe and veteran stationery shops like TG Borkar are located around the Pimpalkata shrine. The Francisco Luis Gomes Road also known as Station Road leads on to the Old Railway Station, connecting to the Victor Apollo Hospital and the road to Aquem.