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Goa’s First Automated Museum
The three brothers Manuel, Mario and Maendra, the inheritors of the house stumbled upon the idea of maintenance of their ancestral home which badly needed to be looked into and thus resolved not to tear it apart so as to restructure it like many of the modern concrete monstrosities. It was decided to showcase it for the future generations and tourists alike as an exhibit. The reason for its conversion into an exhibit lay in the fact that it already possessed many priceless artifacts of ancient Goa and many or rather most of those traditional objects no longer exist in today’s fast-paced micro-chip age. In fact many Goans themselves get awestruck with the displays and recall their ancestors and make a mention of the items.
This mansion named ‘Casa Araujo Alvares’ after it’s owner Eufemiano Araujo Alvares a prominent lawyer during the colonial era, has an architectural layout in keeping with adaptations to the post conversion and colonial designs; for example the Ross Angonn - an open courtyard centered within the house’s central perimeters.
Since its inception tourists have been making a beeline to monitor its contents. Now, Maendra and his brothers have taken the guided tours a step further and given it another dimension. Casa Araujo Alvares is now outfitted with automated sound and lighting effects. It now boasts of implementing a new technology imported from Florida, USA. When guests enter the mansion the lights get switched on automatically with an ongoing commentary explaining the contents. No longer are the guides explaining the contents but the voiceover and lights automatically guide them through the annals of history. The inclusion of special ambient sound effects helps the visitor to visualize the realism of its content. This is first of its kind in Goa and 3rd in India.
And then, to encapsulate the whole…..
A stairway with balustrades leads you to the traditional Balcao. The very first room showcases a hat stand, an ancient German lampshade, and an antique Palanquin. This mansion also houses an indoor chapel with a unique painting where the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit have been depicted in human form. The next room has items preserved belonging to Eufemiano Araujo Alvares a renowned lawyer. On display are various Portuguese documents including his law degree etc. It also showcases a collection of antique smoking pipes. The next doorway enters a bedroom. On display also, are unique commodes (Portable Indoor toilets) which today are no longer in use and therefore very rare. The children’s bedroom houses antique wooden toys and swinging beds used by the children. All over the mansion are antique chandeliers imported from various parts of the world.
This house also had a strong room, which had a metal door that led to a room upstairs. This room is aligned with a curious piece of history. The house also has an icon room with around 400 icons. This space was used for meditation by the priest of the house. It also houses an attached well which runs quite deep. There are various farming tools that are also on display some of them are of such value as they no longer exist. Another unique feature is the collection of over a thousand and fifty Ganesh idols. This dual aspect is a rarity for it displays an adherence to communal harmony, in an age when it did not have the need to be enforced.
There are two majestic halls one a dinning hall while the other is a formal space with a wooden floor, which also doubled up as a dance hall during various occasions. Interestingly the tour ends up wit some catchy upbeat Goan music which leaves most of the visitors tapping their feet to the rhythm if not subconsciously leaving some of them trying a few dancing steps.
The Alvares families have gone through great lengths to maintain and preserve the antiques and other artifacts.
Open all days
From 9:00 am to 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm to 5:30 pm
Tours are in ENGLISH and HINDI every 15 minutes –
for approximately 30 minutes.