Do you know which gemstone is encrusted in Goan Windows?
What makes Goa so unique from the rest of India is that the history of this little state is very different from the rest of India. The Portuguese ruled Goa for as long as 450 years, and when they left, they also imparted a great deal of their own culture in the land. The religion, food, architecture, clothing and language are still strongly seen in modern day Goa.
Another legacy left behind and is quite evident in everyday use is the magnificent architecture of traditional mansions. Portuguese houses in Goa reflect a style that is hardly found anywhere else. The materials and technique used for constructing these palatial homes were local, whereas furnishing and decoration came from around the world.
What interests us is the stunning windows seen outside most houses, churches, and temples too! Ornate French windows cast in wood are painted in the vibrant shades of lilac, red, blues and greens, with carved detailing, motifs in floral designs and geometric patterns of every sort. Did you know, below these are delicate window panels made with nacre of Mother of Pearl shells placed in wooden framed windows.
It is unclear where the idea of Mother of Pearl windows originated. Some say it came from coastal Gujarat while others point to Cape Comorin. But it took Goan Carpenters years to perfect the art. Since glass came to Goa as late as 1890 and remained an expensive building material well into the 20th century, the mother of pearl was preferred over glass.
It allows subdued, dim filtered lighting into the houses, giving it a warm glow while cutting out the harsh glare of the sun as well as peeping passer-bys. These delicate squares, placed one above the other are easily breakable and may be replaced from time to time.
We are totally in love with these. And must admit that, as much as Goa is talked and known for its beaches, party and food, one must also know that it’s equally rich in history, culture and ancient architecture.