Fontainhas – Quaint and colourful Goa

The old Latin Quarter in Panjim city , pretty heritage homes in happy colours , windows that are lined with shells , people speaking Portuguese as fluently as the local language (Konkani), serene lanes that invite you to explore , early morning walks through the winding lanes with church goers and school children eager to chat and help, remnants of Portuguese architecture and the little fountain from which this place derives its name – Fontainhas ! It has been a little over three months since my stay in Fontainhas and a post long over due .

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Afonso Heritage home

I have always lived at home in an obscure village in Goa and this was the first time I was in Goa but staying away from our ancestral house. I decided it was going to be a beautiful heritage home converted into a warm inviting guest house – Afonso Guest house. This was our first trip with our nine month old baby and the place had to be sparkling clean with a touch of homeliness. That’s exactly what we found inside this bright yellow immaculate home away from home. To add it to it , the freshly baked bread by the owner for breakfast was the cherry on the cake .

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The blue house next to the chapel
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The chapel next door
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Home and hues
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Pretty nooks and corners

As we rambled for the next few days , we saw colours everywhere .

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Check out the rooster , the balcao ( verandah ) ,tiled roofs
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Another heritage home owned by Linda – the owner of Viva Panjim

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Most homes are brightly painted , have red tiles on the roof , are surrounded by lots of plants and the names of streets and house owners are displayed on Azulejo tiles (Portuguese ceramic tiles).

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Street names on Azulejo tiles
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House names on tiles too
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And flooring too !

My chats with the owner, Aunt Jeanette, revealed that back in the day it was mandatory for every home to be freshly painted after the monsoon season, however , the rules are not so stringent today .

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The main street here is the St. Sebastian Road , named after the St Sebastian Chapel – the only white structure towering amidst a burst of colours.

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The Chapel . Looked forlorn to me amidst all that colour 

Next to the Chapel is a page out of a fairy tale , a wishing well , with roosters perched on top , begging for some love ( a fresh coat of paint may be !) . Defunct and lots of weeds growing inside , how it got its name am not quite sure , but even though the it resembled an ageing woman with disheveled hair and in need of some grooming , it had a charm of its own.

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The wishing well
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Am calling these the rainbow stairs 

The rooster which is an important part of Portuguese architecture can be spotted on roofs of homes and uniformed police figurines also adorn the exteriors of some homes . I read that the latter signifies the home belongs to a freedom fighter , but there was no way to verify it.

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Rooster perched on the wishing well
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Rooster on roofs
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Cop like figures places on exteriors of some homes

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Shell lined windows made me sing ! They looked so pretty , so ingenious and let in the right amount of light .  An owner of a pretty cafe told me how it is now illegal to be selling these shells and heritage homes that are renovating can only salvage a few that hey have or source it from other heritage homes that are being demolished to make way for modern ( not so pretty ) hotels .

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Shell lined window pane – Afonso home

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Pretty , no ?

The place is fab , the people are warm and the food is super too . Viva Panjim is a good option for some authentic Goan cuisine but the real super deal and steal for me was the little cart that dishes out beef delicacies – tongue , rolls , chops , curry , croquettes ! You cannot miss this one right next to the  Library ( another bright yellow structure ).

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On my last day here , I walked to the other side in search of what remains of the font after which this place is named . This is all I saw with no information or sign board in sight . I walked back , this time slower , wishing I had more time to spend here .

I couldn’t sign up for a heritage walk but have no regrets . Wake up early , talk to the locals and they will tell you stories of the past and how their beloved Fontainhas is a font of happiness , love and colours .

 

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23 thoughts on “Fontainhas – Quaint and colourful Goa

  1. These are gorgeous! I’ve never gone to Goa because in the West it is primarily known as a beach and party holiday destination, neither of which interest me in the slightest. But looking at these pictures makes me want to go and wander around there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mick . It is sad that Goa has laregely been advertised as a state only known for its beaches , rave parties and cheap liquor . I wouldn’t blame you for wanting to keep away . The crowds are maddening across most places on the regular tourist circuit . This part of Goa is less frequented and retains an old world charm . I hope you travel to Goa someday .

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Somehow because of annoying Goans whom I call relatives ,I haven’t take to Goa the way I should have too ! The food is super yum though , the architecture yup and some Goans who blog are fun too ,no ?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Nicholas Peart

    Great post. I was in Goa 11 years ago and I stayed for a few days in Panjim exploring some of the history of the town. Beaches aside, for such a small state there is quite a lot to see.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely, even though Goa is the smallest state in India ( in terms of area ) , it packs quite a punch and has a lot to offer . It’s a pity that the rave parties and beach night life are overshadowing the plethora of other sites and experiences that can be explored .

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  3. Oh I did so love reading this post and reminiscing about the land our ancestors came from. South Goa definitely seems to be the place I’d love to hang out if I were to visit again. Thanks for sharing and glad you found that beautiful gem for accommodating your baby and family. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Loretta . Yes South Goa is a pleasant , less crowded and more pristine side of the state . We were in Palolem for a few days before we headed to panjim and the place was a stark contrast to the bustling Colva and Calangute areas. It’s simply amazing how much there is to see in Goa . Sadly , in all these years of my life my travels to Goa haven’t let me go very far beyond home and house hopiping from one relative to another ! I hope to change that in the years to come .

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  4. I love these Portuguese styled houses in Goa. Almost nowhere else in India will you see houses painted with such bright vibrant colours. That’s so Goa! I briefly mentioned about those on Divar in my today’s blogpost on how I’d love to spend a weekend in Goa. Do read!

    Liked by 1 person

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