Chandor – A Small Beautiful Town In Goa

It is a picturesque location adorned by the ancient grand Portuguese mansions. The important places to visit in Chandor are the Braganza House, Fernandes House, and Nossa Senhora De Belem Church.

The History

Chandor was known by the name of Chandrapura and flourished with trading and merchandising operations for about a thousand years till the 14th century. During the 3rd century BCE, the Bhoja dynasty rulers were the first to recognize the potential of the town and hence declared it as their capital. They continued their trade operations with the neighbouring towns via Chandrapura enabling the passing of caravans carrying merchandising goods. But the town lost its importance slowly with the decline of the Bhoja dynasty as well as the Satavahanas following them.

 Eventually, in the 10th century BCE, Chandor gained importance again through the Kadambas in Goa. With the motive of increasing the wealth of their kingdom, they opened up trade links with the Arab merchants. Unfortunately, the dynasty experienced a downfall in the 14th century when Goa was invaded twice by the Muslim rulers. In 1510 CE Goa was captured by the Portuguese. They shifted their capital to Ela, transforming it into their trading zone. Chandrapura was renamed as Chandor and remained functioning as a small trade center. Chandor turned into an obscure town slowly when diseases started affecting the Portuguese people, forcing them to abandon the place.

The main attractions of Chandor

 Braganza House

The House was constructed in the 17th century by the Braganza family. It is a huge mansion divided into east and west wings. The Pereira Braganza family are the owners of the east wing whereas the Menezes Braganza’s family are the owners of the west wing.

 There is a small chapel dedicated to St Francis Xavier inside the east wing of the House. Wonderful artistic chandeliers, ornamentally carved wooden furniture and floors made of Italian marble adorn the halls and rooms of the east wing. It is amazing to watch the elegant beauty of the antiques collected and preserved inside the House. The furniture is mostly made out of Seeso made by the skilled craftsmen mostly during the 18th century.

The west wing is also magnificently decorated with furniture, antiques and family portraits. It also hosts a library, the first one in Goa. The library has a huge collection of almost 5000 books are written in English, French, and Portuguese.

Fernandes House

The House is one of the oldest palaces in Goa built approximately 500 years ago. It has a mix of the Hindu and Portuguese cultures in its architectural creations. Currently, it is the residence of Sara Fernandes and her son. In 1821 the Portuguese have renovated the House and their influence is quite visible in the antiques present inside the House. The unique characteristic of the house is a hidden escape route for the residents in case of an attack.

 Nossa Senhora De Belem Church

The Nossa Senhora De Belem Church was established in 1645 following the Neo-Gothic style of architecture. It is also known as Our Lady of Bethlehem Church. Every year on the 6th of January, the Grand Feast of the Three Kings is celebrated with much vigour and entertainment. You can find the figures of the three men at the Church building.

Isvorachem, The relics of a Shiva temple

Isvorachem was a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva believed to be built in the 11th century CE. But now only the ruins of the temple exist in the current Chandor town. At the temple site, you can find a huge idol of Nandi still standing in galore. Tourists often miss the site due to the absence of the temple structure. But it is worth a visit since it reminds us of the ancient culture and the artistic works of the craftsmen.

 Best Time to visit Chandor

The best time to visit Chandor is between the months of November and March. The weather in Goa is pleasant and calm at this time of the year. You can feel the soothing effect of the cool breeze for complete relaxation of the body and mind. The humidity is low and you can enjoy the calmness in the environment. For the rest of the year, the weather is either hot or rainy which would prevent a comfortable walk around the town.

How to reach Chandor?

The nearest airport is Goa Dabolim airport, situated about 29 km from Chandor. From the airport buses and taxis are available to reach Chandor.

The nearest railway stations are Chandor, Madgaon junction, and Sanjuje Da Arey. However, Madgaon is the major station situated about 8 km from Chandor. Buses and taxis are available from the station in abundance.

The nearest bus stops near Chandor are Fradilem and Ganapati Mandir, about 1.3 km away from Chandor. You can walk down the distance to reach the town or hire an autorickshaw.

The town of Chandor is one of the offbeat tourist destinations in Goa. But it has the historical significance of being a wealthy place flourishing with merchandising and trading operations in the ancient past. Though small, yet it has a huge impact on the history of India.

Featured Photo of ‘Goa, Chandor, Maison Braganza’ by Nicolas Vollmer under CC BY 2.0

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