By Prajal Sakhardande
History tells us fascinating tales of kings, queens, princes, princesses and their glittering palaces, which have a mysterious charm about them a result of the history they are steeped in.
“Are there any palaces in Goa?”
Someone asked me a few days ago. And the answer was yes, we do have our fare share of those fairytale destinations. The Adilshah’s Palace (the old Secretariat) in Panaji, the Cabo Raj Niwas at Dona Paula, the Archbishop’s Palace at Altinho, Panaji, the Solar Souto Maior at Baiguinim, Sao Pedro near Old Goa, the old archbishop’s palace at Old Goa, the Jivbadada Kerkar Palace in Keri-Pednem, the Deao Palace in the town of Quepem, the Deshprabhu Palace in Pednem, the Soundekar’s palace at Nagueshi Bandoda, the Soundekar’s underground palace at Gouli-Moula on the Kadamba plateau, the Conde de Mayem Palace at Mayem, the site of the palace of the inquisition in Old Goa, the site and wall of the Adilshah and viceroy palace at Old Goa, the palace of the Conde de Ribandar, the viceroy’s palace at Panelim, the Maquinezes Palace in Panaji, the Arabo-Desai Palace at Arabo-Pednem and perhaps many more yet to be discovered in various parts of Goa.
All these palaces have fascinating tales to tell. Of these the interiors of the Cabo Raj Niwas, Deshprabhu Palace and the Soundekar’s palace still provide glimpses of bygone eras, with displays of armoury being one of the features. The Deshprabhu Palace located on the outskirts of Pednem is truly steeped in the romantic glitter of history with its origins going back to the year 1693-96.
The Soundekar’s palace known as the Shivteerth Palace proudly displays its royal insignia on its façade and its interiors take you back to those mysteriously charming eras of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Similar is the case with Deshprabhu’s palace. The top rung of the ecclesiastical hierarchy in Portuguese Goa such as the Archbishops, the Deaos lived in beautiful and elegant palaces. The 18th century Deao Palace in Quepem is one such beautiful, soothing and charming example on the banks of the Kushawati River. The Ranes of Sankhlim lived in a palatial Wado and have private Chhatris or memorials built in memory of their dead. A daughter of this Rane family Gajraraje was married into the royal family of the Scindhas of Gwalior.
Our ex-chief minister and present Speaker, Mr Pratapsing Rane belongs to this palatial house in Carapur-Sankhlim. The Desai of Bardez had a palace in the beautiful village of Camurlim in the Bardez taluka. This Desai had fought against Shivaji in 1664 and 1667. The palatial fort-like Wado of the Desai’s still exists in Camurlim Bardez.
The Maquinezes Palace in Panaji, dating back to the 18th century, belonged to two brothers, one of who was given the title of Maquinezes by the Portuguese government. These brothers were Diogo da Costa Ataide e Teive and Cristovam da Costa Ataide e Teive, who belonged to the Portuguese nobility. The tentative site of the Kadamb Palace at Pilar is known to us but we still need to ascertain the veracity of the Kadamb palace site. So also we need to find the Kadamb Palace in Chandor. It must have been in the Kot-Chandor fort area. These palaces have witnessed history. They have been the scene of royal lifestyles, darbars, court politics, court intrigues, plots and so on.