The Goan Temple: A Unique Architecture on Its Way Out

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By AMITA KANEKAR

 

The architecture of Goa is a heterogeneous one, the result of its long and cosmopolitan history as an Indian Ocean port, a part of the Islamicate Deccan, and then of the Portuguese empire. And one of its most distinctive and heterogeneous developments is in the realm of temple architecture. The Brahmanical temples that were built in Goa from the seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries were creatively inspired by Renaissance Europe (via the churches of Goa), the Bijapur Sultanate, the Mughals (via the Marathas), and the Ikkeri Nayakas, along with the local architecture. These varied vocabularies came together to produce a recognisable architectural ensemble by the end of the 19th century which spread across the region of Goa and beyond.  This is why the Goan temple should be seen as an architectural type in its own right.

 

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To Plaster or Not

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By VISHVESH KANDOLKAR

 

The Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa is important not only because it houses the relics of St Francis Xavier, but also because it is a critical part of Goa’s architectural history. Apart from being a religious building, constructed between 1587-97,the Basilica represents the flowering of Renaissance style architecture in Goa.

 

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Local Identity, Global Architecture

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By VISHVESH KANDOLKAR

 

A thorny question faces a number of parishes in Goa where the congregation has outgrown the existing churches. Some are more than willing to tear down, or drastically modify, their old churches to build bigger ones. Others are horrified at such proposals and argue that these churches, like the one in Nuvem, are part of the unique architectural heritage of Goa.

 

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The Ruins that are Not

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By VISHVESH KANDOLKAR

 

A large crowd had gathered for the Western classical music concert at the remains of St. Augustine’s in Old Goa on 7th January, 2016. Was the gathering purely one whose purpose it was to witness a musical performance, or was the fact that it occurred at a historical location itself symbolic of something more? Or is it that the congregation in great numbers was a performance in itself, a gathering to assert Goan identity, which the place and the music is emblematic of.

 

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Communal Harmony and the Desecration of Crosses

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

While reading Living Together Separately: Cultural India in History and Politics (2005) edited by Mushirul Hasan and Asim Roy, which aimed to problematize concepts like syncretism and communal harmony, I first encountered the metaphor, living together separately. Perhaps, it is an apt metaphor to think about Goa’s encounter with communalism.

 

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Privileging Investors’ Rights over People’s Rights: That is what it all adds up to

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By ALBERTINA ALMEIDA

 

We have seen several developments as well as utterances by ruling party members in Goa in just the last couple of months, in flagrant disregard of their wide ranging adverse implications for the people in Goa and their livelihoods. The justification of the proposed coal hub, of the declaration of six of our river stretches as ‘national waterways’, the hasty passage in the last Assembly session of the Goa Compensation to the Project Affected Persons and Vesting of Land in the Government Bill, and of an amendment to the Town and Country Planning Act  against the backdrop of the ‘transferable development rights’ policy as a bait for succumbing to what those in Government call development, the Central Government’s approval of the Revenue Generating Scheme for the Golf Course Resort Project of Leading Hotels Pvt. Ltd. at Tiracol…these are but some of the ominous signs of suppressing the rights and voices of people in order to privilege investor rights over people’s rights, and to completely overlook the lack of credentials of the proposed investors.

 

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Dale Luis Menezes will make a presentation on “‘Azulejo’ tiles and the Islamicate in Goa”

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Exploring the Islamicate in Goa, Dale Luis Menezes will make a short presentation titled, “Azulejo tiles and the Islamicate in Goa” on September 4, 2017 at 6 Assagao.

 

The presentation will focus on the azulejo tiles used in 17th century monuments in Goa. These tiles which were originally produced by the Persians, found their way to Western Europe through the Arabs. Initially Spain and later Portugal, adopted the art of making azulejo to so great an extent that it became indigenous to these two countries. The Augustinian buildings in Goa (Nossa Senhora de Graça [Our Lady of Grace] church, along with the convent of Santa Monica) located in Old Goa are the only religious buildings known to have used such tiles for ornamentation (c. 17th century and later). The complex political geographies in which the Portuguese Estado da Índia was located consisted of many forts, ports, as well as imperial formations such as those of the Mughals, Ottomans, Safavids and so on. Officials, missionaries, and traders from Goa would often travel within these realms. Hence, one can imagine a space that was connected with each other in dynamic ways, exchanging not just goods, but also cultural artifacts. The fact that such dynamics exchanges were taking place regularly should essentially make us seek the many ways in which cultural artifacts were exchanged. One such way of doing this is to deeply explore the ‘Islamicate’, which, as Marshall G. S. Hodgson and other historians subsequently have argued, is cultural and artistic practices inspired and related to Islam, but which is not necessarily religious in nature. Thus, one can easily expect to find Islamicate art right in the middle of a Catholic church or a Hindu temple. By formulating questions and theories about the origins of the azulejo tiles used in the Augustinian buildings, and the political conditions that may have led to their transport in Goa, this presentation seeks to open up Goan history to the Islamicate.

 

Grounded Ships in Goa: A Brief History

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

While global warming is a threat to coastal areas across the world, Goa’s coastline also seems to be threatened by ships being stranded due to negligence on the part of the owners, and especially that of the Goa government. By focusing on the various ways through which the rules are flouted, not just by the private enterprises, but by the authorities who are supposed to be protecting the public good, one comes face-to-face with a clear break down of the rule of law as well as the administrative setup in Goa. Additionally, the inability to check and control the whims and fancies of private business and private individuals suggests that Goa’s ecology is seen as having no value, to be disposed off on the whims of the rich and powerful.

 

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