Among the historical harbours of India, the ports of Goa have played an important role in maritime trade since time immemorial. These ports, including the one at Chandrapura (modern-day Chandor), have helped in turning Goa into an important trade centre. Seated on the bank of Paroda or Kushavati River, a tidal tributary of the River Zuari, approximately 30 km from the sea, the port at Chandor is claimed to be the oldest port of Goa. Read on to step into the history of one of the oldest ports in India and unearth its hidden gems.
Discover the gems of the oldest port in Goa
Chandor has held the status of being the capital city of Goa during the early centuries of the Christian era and even through the medieval period as well. Since it was located in the hinterland and was protected from all sides, it was an ideal choice for being tagged as the capital. Connected to the Kushavati River, Chandrapura was also one of the most important trade centres of Goa.
Many excavations have been conducted in this locale and the neighbouring areas to identify and study the remains of the inhabitants and nautical structures, if any. Located 10 kilometres from the inland of Margao, Chandor boasts of chapels, churches and a historic temple among others, placed within its boundaries.
Chapel of St. Tiago & the Queen's curse!
Located in the south-east part of Chandor, the Chapel of São Tiago is a revered place for the locals and an interesting find for the tourists. When Chandrapur was invaded by enemies, the king and many of the inhabitants were murdered brutally. Out of despair, the princesses and ladies of the court destroyed their jewels and sacrificed their lives by throwing themselves into the river. Faith has it, that the river still leaves gold powder on the shore. The queen, who was absent from the palace then, received the sad news of her husband's demise when she visited the city only to find it in desolation.
The cursed stone.
The legend associated with São Tiago's chapel is that the queen stomped her feet at this stone (pictured above) and cursed all the women of Chandor with a fate, similar to hers as she sensed treachery by the people. Though this might sound like an intriguing story, a folklore to you, the natives of this land have a strong belief in this curse, even to this day. So much so, that young men from Chandor migrate to other places nearby, before they intend on marrying anyone till date!
The ruins of Isvorachem Temple
If you want to unearth the history of Goa and its timeline through monuments, bookmark this right now. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Isvorachem Temple is a site rarely visited by tourists. In the 1930s, Father Henry Heras S. J. excavated the area and unearthed an ancient Shiva temple and one of the biggest statues of Nandi, the bull (the divine guardian of Shiva) in India.
The remains of the statue of Nandi, the bull.
Archaeological Survey of India excavated this premise in 1974, under the supervision of archaeologist- S. R. Rao. This led to the discovery of a 1500-year-old temple complex, which consisted of a garbhgriha (sanctum), adjoined by pradakshinapatha (circulatory passage), a huge sabhamandapa (assembly hall) and an average-sized mukhamandapa (porch). The figure of Nandi was disfigured by the 13th-century raiders, leaving it without a mouth and legs.
The colonial Braganza House
A specimen of Goa's once-grand and glorious mansions, the Braganza House in Chandor is the biggest Portuguese mansion of its kind in the state. This massive palazzo was built by the Braganza family on the land, conceded by the King of Portugal. Currently, the house is divided into two wings- east and west, both open to the public with an entry fee on each side.
The west wing, which belongs to Menezes-Braganza family, houses a huge library of Dr. Luís de Menezes Bragança, a renowned journalist and leader of the Goan Independence movement and looks like a museum, more than a home. The east wing, owned by Pereira-Braganza family is not as palatial as the former, however, the family chapel is the highlight of this part that includes a carefully hidden fingernail of St. Francis Xavier.
Observe the remains of the Nandi from the 11th century on the east of the temple as the rest of it is virtually absent. Discover these gems of Chandor to get in touch with the real history of Goa, through various historic monuments & folklore of the place. Keep a tab on the COVID guidelines and follow all the protocols before planning your date with Goan history.