Sunday, November 6, 2016

Palacio Do Deao, Quepem, South Goa

After spending a couple days on the beach, in Canacona, South Goa, my husband and I headed to Quepem Taluka through Goa hinterland and Netravali mountain range of Western Ghats. We made a print out of the map, and when in doubt, kept asking for directions along the way. There are not many sign boards enroute. As I mentioned it is through mountains, grass lands, ghats etc. one of the most beautiful locations I have seen. Since it is soon after monsoons, everything is still lush green. Though we made a list of places to see in Quepem, ran out of time, and ended up spending quality time at Palacio do Deao, only.
Map by permission from Mr. Ruben Vasco Da Gama, Owner
Quepem is not a big town, and you can reach Palacio easily.Through the main gate, you reach the courtyard where you can park your vehicle. There is an old well to the left of the gate. The water level is about 15 ft. below the ground. To the right is a statue of Jose Paulo, the Dean, who founded the Quepem town. He was a Portuguese nobleman and this was his palace, according to records, was built in 1787 AD. 
from the courtyard, one enters the property through a beautiful entrance passage flanked on either side by decorative pillars.
Over the last two centuries, the palace changed a few hands, and finally it was bought by Mr. Ruben Vasco da Gama and Mrs. Celia Vasco da Gama, on condition that it cannot be resold; which means it will have to remain in their family. It occupies over 11000sft. of floor area. 
Ruben will show the 'before' pictures of the residence for those interested; it was in total disrepair and ruins. 
In his own words, Ruben says that he wanted to bring the residence to its former glory. He wanted to preserve the heritage of the bygone era for future generations.
and The main entrance to the residence / palace is via a wide staircase of 20 + steps.
To the right of the main gate, there is a path and a few steps and a doorway leading to back of the building, could be a service entry. I liked this concept very much, especially if it was an official residence as well. There are hedges and trees on either side of the path to the side door, very pretty!

The stairs lead to a huge entrance verandah. There are three doors leading into the residence from here.
The central door leads to a Chapel. This is where the Dean would conduct his prayers. As the congregation grew. He built the Holy Cross Church or Santa Cruz Church across the Palace.
A framed floor plan is hung on the library wall.
A huge hall to receive guests is on the left end of the main entrance. It is furnished with all period furniture. Great views of the gardens all round from the tall windows!
There is a library and an entertainment room, where several old volumes and board games are arranged. The visitors can make use of these facilities and get a feel of the ambience of that era.
A belvedere or a long verandah vertical to the horizontal axis of the Palace is at the back. One can see the beautiful river Kushavati touching the property from here. Noe this space is used for dining for guests. I believe Mrs. Celia Vasco da Gama is great Chef and whips up great lunches and also conducts classes for those interested in learning the nuances of traditional cooking. One has to make prior booking though.
I have to mention here, that, Mrs. and Mr. Ruben Vasco da Gama went to Portugal, stayed there for some time, studied their architecture, furniture and old buildings, before starting restoration of this building. All the features, finishes, door and window details are very authentic designs of that period in Goa. Instead of glass, the windows have traditional fish scales / shells inserted to let the light in.

Well maintained gardens all round the residence are beautiful, the stone paths, the gazebo, the stone steps, the statues, the hedges, trees, flowering plants, the fountains are breath taking.
It is a must visit place if you are anywhere close to Quepem, Goa.
For more details and bookings, go to:

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