The enchanting story of Mhamai Kamat House in Panaji!



Mhamai Kamat house is located opposite the statue of Abbe Faria. Many people have passed by it without knowing the interesting story behind the house or rather the family that resides into it. The family was torn apart in the 16th Century by the much dreaded Crusades under taken by Jesuit Missionaries in Salcete and their eventual reunion. It is an interesting story from the past.

Mhamai Kamats were based in Guirdolim (Now part of Chandor). Some members of the family had to leave Goa in order to escape the forced conversion under taken by the Jesuit missionaries, due to the policies (Political and religious) of the time. Those members who stayed back to converted to Christianity.

The family now having two separate branches flourished in their respective areas. Goan branch prospered so much so that a daughter of the family was given in marriage to a Portuguese admiral. While the other branch settled in the Vijaynagar Empire and prospered in the fields of commerce and finance. This development led to the family developing links within the Portuguese government in Goa.

In the mid 18th Century the family decided to move into their current house in Panjim. One reason touted for the move is their close links into the Portuguese government. The family was also had close connections with the Raja of Sawantwadi.

Sawantwadi was ruled by the Bhosle family who also controlled the territories of Pernem and Bicholim making then immediate neighbors to the Portuguese. Due to the treaty signed between the Raja of Sawantwadi and Portuguese Government in 1788, they were now allies.

The treaty could not absolve the strained relations the two had shared before signing the treaty. Hence for the Raja to have the Kamat’s on his side was important due to their contacts in the Portuguese government to help him in diplomatic efforts in the future.

The Viceroy of Goa (Portugal) had moved to the Palace of Idalcao (popularly today known as Adil Shah’s Place or the Old Secretariat of Goa) in 1759. Hence the proximity of the house which is almost next door to the Viceroy’s residence was a factor for the move. The family has lived there ever since.


Image – ‘Plan De Goa’ 1750.

Credits – Victorcouto