430 years ago, circa 1590, to get an idea of the timeline, take a look at the what India and world was like at that time.
1. Shakespeare had just started writing his plays
2. India was still under Mughal Emperor Akbar’s rule.
3. Galileo had not yet argued that Earth revolves around the sun
4. It is 40 years before the Taj Mahal was built.
5. Let alone Taj Mahal, Shah Jahan, the emperor who built Taj, was not even born.
6. The British East India Company were still 10 years away from making landfall in India.
Basically, before all the path breaking events of 16th and 17th century, in the village of Loutulim in Goa, this magnificent house was erected which is standing proudly standing the test of times. The Figueiredo House, offers its guests an experience that is as interesting and unique as its history.
The property is divided into two parts, one is the home stay and other is the museum. The part of the house behind the museum is the private residence of the Figueiredo family, who still live there. The property houses 5 rooms, which are altered just a wee-bit to accommodate the modern day amenities. Rest of it is just raw and unaltered.
The moment you step inside the house, the aura embraces you with all its warmth. The common areas of house adorned with jars and vases of yesteryears grab your attention as you make your way towards the open air courtyards. The walls of the house are decked up with Mario de Miranda’s illustrations and cartoons, which is an absolute treat in itself.
The Figueiredo Museum tour is an experience in itself that will take you centuries back down the memory lane. Figueiredos have contributed immensely to Goa, with the family members who were judges, advocates, diplomats and members of Portuguese Parliament and legislature of Goa. This influence is starkly visible in the displays at the musuem.
The museum houses lovely rose wood carved furniture that will definitely make you feel that you have teleported to another era, the cupboards and the lockers with ivory inlays, the crystal chandeliers that illuminate the ceilings, an elaborate dining area with exquisite furniture and some of the unique porcelain crockery you will ever see. Mr. Gomez, caretaker and manager of the property, takes you on a wonderful journey, full of stories about every little detail you see in the museum.
While the entire place is treat to eyes, the food served here is treat for eyes, nose and taste buds. Personally supervised by the owners, Fatima and Pedro, the food is not only tasty, but also makes you feel content after having it. We had the finest prawns with lemon rice during our stay there while having some lovely conversations with the owners, who made us felt extremely at home.
Overlooking the lush green paddy fields surrounded by tall coconut trees, the views from the mansion are a treat for sore eyes. In the quiet of Loutolim, you can be fooled into thinking that Goa is still that verdant paradise it once was. Full marks to the Figueiredos for opening up their home to all where one can enjoy the grandeur and stories of this truly historical home.