Indo Portuguese Mansions of Goa Known For Their European Architecture


One legacy of the Indo Portuguese era rule found across Goa are the magnificent mansions. They remain even today, and remind us of the splendid Indo Portuguese architecture through heritage houses and churches in the state.

Goa is probably the only state in India that still has well maintained houses that belong to the 1700’s and are owned by the generations of original owners.

Image Credit – Goastreets.com

Contrary to the other rulers in India, the Portuguese have managed to leave a much bigger mark on the Indo Portuguese architecture of the country. The residential houses built during the Portuguese era were designed in such a style that is difficult to find anywhere else in the subcontinent.

These Portuguese era houses are still kept in pristine condition but one can find them in the rural parts of Goa such as Loutolim and Chandor. Even in Margao, which is the commercial capital of Goa, houses date back from the 18th Century in the Borda area.

The materials and techniques used for constructing these houses were probably local but the material required for decorations and furnishings were imported from different parts of the world.

The exterior of a typical Portuguese house was built out of red laterite stones and wood with terracotta roof tiles which were imported from Mangalore. During the 18th and 20th Century the Catholic houses were more modern and outward looking with covered porches and verandas overlooking the street. The large balcões usually had built-in seating for two, where the owners could ‘be seen and see’ the people crossing the street or enjoying a cup of tea while chatting with the neighbours.

The balcões were sometimes bounded by ornamental columns along with steps that led inside the house. It was considered that more the magnificent the steps, the richer are the owner of the house.

Similar to the exterior, the interior of the house was also very distinct and attractive, with some houses having their own dance rooms and mini-chapels. The dining and drawing rooms were usually big and decorated with a wonderful collection of blue china ceramics and glassware along with mirrors from Venice, tapestries from Portugal and chandeliers from Belgium.

Here are four magnificent Indo Portuguese mansions in Goa:

Salvador Costa Mansion

Located in one of the most beautiful village of Goa, Loutolim in South Goa, Salvador Costa Mansion was built in the 19th century by two wealthy  namely  – Padre Pedrinho and Laurence. The mansion is built in an Indian manner with low pitched roof and wide verandas, but with European appurtenances like Gothic style windows and cluster columns.

Image Credit – exploreincrediblegoa.com

Mascarenhas Mansion

Mascarenhas Mansion is a classic Portuguese style heritage home with large balcões, located in Anjuna in North Goa, The mansion is built extravagantly with expensive wood furniture, colored glass and fine floral designs.

Vivian Coutinho Mansion

Situated in the town of Margao, this mansion shows the amount of care, planning and definitely hardwork that went into building it. The lush green garden greatly contrasts the red masonry seats on the balcões. It is probably the only Portuguese house in Goa that has decorative tiles on the outer wall along with red stones.

Palacio Do Deao

Image Source: palaciododeao.com

Image Credit – palaciododeao.com

Built by a noble Portuguese man, who was the founder of Quepem Town as well as the Dean of the Church, this 213 year old mansion has the unusual blend of both Hindu and indo portuguese architecture. Located on the banks of Kushavati River, the mansion consists of a verdant garden with beautiful historical features.