Walks

THE CHINCHINIM WALK

This short walk is a window to the world of Southern Goa and its churches, chapels, cross and sit-outs especially constructed for ladinhas. It is a world filled with an appreciation of a life gone by combined with the art of living graciously in the modern world.

Begin this walk at Our Lady of Hope Church in the heart of Chinchinim village in the Salcete District of Southern Goa. Do not miss the decorative elements on the church facade that are outlined in gray, one of the many preferred colours for Goan architecture. The Art Deco elements on the two protruding balconies are probably additions that were made several decades after the church was first built. For a look at the church interior, it might be worth attending the Sunday Service that begins at 9 a.m. in English and Konkani.

The furniture in the church is Gothic design with a few Rococco elements that have survived the test of time and changing tastes. The church was constructed in the middle of the 18th century and then refurbished on 30th April 1888. This is a fine example of Goan craftsmanship. Take a look at the marble flooring and the exquisite gold gilding work on the apse. Our Lady of Hope holds a bouquet of flowers in her hand and displays a munificent smile on her face. The Feast of Our Lady is celebrated each year on 8th March and participating in it is a treat for the mind and eye.

The most interesting pieces of accessories in the church are the bowl-shaped lights that hang from the high ceiling. Compare these with the lights that hang at the Mangueshi Temple in the Eastern district of Ponda. Legend has it that the temple of Chinchininath once stood where the church stands today. The church replaced the temple and if you look towards the right, you will see the palatial home of the Loyola-Furtado family, a home that now stands on the site of the temple tank. If you get an opportunity to get invited into the house, the Gothic family chapel in teak wood will provide the historic link that the family had with the church in its neighbourhood.

It is best to ignore the building of St. Mary's High School attached to the church, which mars the beauty of the church grounds and the huge banyan tree in the compound. Instead, take a few steps to your left as you leave the church and walk into the village. A dirt road takes you to some curious examples of what is now popularly called Mickey Mouse Architecture and then to a house named Gabdena House. Take a right into the dirt lane and slow your pace down to experience life in a Southern Goan village. The house on your right in a typical rural setting was built in 1888-1890 and is a home for the elderly. It bears an impressive name OUR LADY OF MISSIONARIES OF MARY CHARITIES ASSOCIAI ION and is run by the Provedoria or the Public Assistance, one of the oldest welfare institutions in Asia.

Go past the open wooded grounds on both sides and come face with Sonia Furtado's beautiful heritage home. The house is graciously opened to visitors on request.