History, Throwback, Portuguese era, Freedom struggle of Goa

#FlashbackFridays: SaffronStays Nossa Bela Casa unearths little known facts about The Father of Goan Nationalism

Does your soul get tickled by the love for all things historical and antique? Are your dreams etched in celluloid and do you prefer the good old times? SaffronStays Nossa Bela Casa, Cuelim guarantees that every minute you spend within its walls is going to be pure escapism into a bygone era of grace and elegance.

Goa is everyone’s pass to take that proverbial chill pill. But if you are tired of sunbathing and beach hopping, there is so much more it has to offer. SaffronStays Nossa Bela Casa calls out to all the history buffs because there could not be any better time travel than through its 350-year-old historical gates.

The life of a Goan hero

Home to the father of Goan nationalism, Dr. Tristão Braganza Cunha, SaffronStays Nossa Bela Casa in Cuelim is a nerve center for a classic historical journey. Overlooking a broad spread of farmland, the house proudly looms behind a large arched entrance gate, flanked by twin turrets. Although he was born in his mother’s ancestral home in Chandor, Dr. Cunha spent most of his childhood here before moving to Pondicherry for further studies. An influential writer, thinker & humanist, he fought for the rights of his people who led a subjugated life under the Portuguese colonial rule in Goa.

Dr. T. B. Cunha, Goa Freedom Struggle, Father of Goan Nationalism
Dr. T. B. Cunha

In August 1946, Dr. Cunha was arrested and sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment in Portugal. His whole family was blacklisted and hence they fled Goa. He returned to India in 1953 but died in exile in Bombay just three years before Goa’s liberation. His mortal remains are now enshrined in the pavilion at Panaji’s Azad Maidan and a life-size statue has been installed close to his ancestral abode.

The legacy of the Cunha mansion

Spread across an area of 3 acres, Nossa Bela Casa was at its zenith when Dr. Cunha and his family occupied it. But after a long and illustrious line of owners, the house was uninhabited since 1958 and time took its toll, sinking it into a dilapidated condition. This was until the current owner, Dr. Nikhil Cunha along with the help of renowned Goan architect Dean D’Cruz restored it back to its former glory.

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The house is a two-storied edifice with Rococo curves at the left gable and a modern porch added on to the right. It also has a massive swimming pool and a sweet water well which never dried up. The walls are evenly broken by large ornate French doors. This was the norm in Portugal so that returning sailors might identify their houses from the ships.

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Elaborately carved ebony and rosewood furniture adorn the interiors of the home. A double wooden staircase sweeps up from either end of the ballroom towards an upper landing that leads to one of the six suites with a balcony from where Cunha would implore to his friends and compatriots to rise against colonial powers.

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The intricate column carvings perfectly mirror the rich Indo-Portuguese culture of the land. Ornate Belgian-glass candelabras command attention from the center of each of the dining tables.

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Vintage Finds

The architecture of the palatial Cunha mansion and the antiques contained within it bear the imprint of the man and his passionate endeavors to free his homeland from the clutches of the Portuguese. Rare porcelain from Macau brought by the English and Dutch East India Companies pepper the walls. A treasure trove of antiques, this place is also known to have a palanquin, blue-and-white Chinese ginger jars, the ‘Court of Arms’ adorning one of the walls and the desk which Dr. Cunha worked at. Touching anything in here is like touching history. Like a time-travel machine, connecting you to someone who lived and loved so long ago.  

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The rooms are filled with personal belongings reminiscent of an era when freedom was an ideal and not just a word. Congress working committee meetings and roundtable discussions on the Liberation movement were held by stalwarts here.

The statue of Mother Mary, imported from France, sits in the 150-year-old chapel circumflexed by an archway made of intricate gold moldings and chiseled side cherubs.

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Once a subject of all the State activities, Nossa Bela Casa is now a vessel that holds memories. It offers tranquility and relaxation that beautifully blends old-world charm and traditional Goan hospitality. But, like any history, the history of the Cunha house is one worth understanding.

INR 19,350 for 6 guests (Price inclusive of GST).

To book your stay: http://bit.ly/2MCq4Or

For bookings call us on: (+91) 84240 40040 or mail us at [email protected]

About Nerine Fernandes

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