Monday, July 15, 2024

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Archaeological Museum and Portrait Gallery

Place : Old Goa, Goa
Timings : All days of the week 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM; closed on Fridays
Exhibits : The museum has rich and rare collection of objects that found throghout Goa.
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Located in the convent of St. Francis of Assisi in Old Goa, the Archaeological Museum and Portrait Gallery is the most popular museum in Goa. Set up by Archaeological Survey of India in 1964, it was recoganized in 1982. Now, maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), it is one of the most visited places in Old Goa. The museum was converted into its present form from an old Franciscan monastery.

The museum has rich and rare collection of objects that found throghout Goa. The museum also provides an opportunity to glimpse the quality of Goa's medieval past, as well as an impressive array of sixty portraits of the Portuguese viceroys and governors of Goa, wooden sculptures, pillars, capitals, ceramics, coins issued by various Hindu, Muslim and Portuguese rulers, postal stamps likewise many other objects which belong to the Portuguese period in Goa.

Vishnu with ten incarnation, Surya, wooden sculpture of John the Baptist, Gajalakshmi, ivory sculptures of Jesus Crucification, sati stone, Persian and Arabic inscription, portrait paintings of Com Joa de Castro, Vasco da Gama, Portuguese arms like rifle etc are other highlights of the museum.

The collections of the museums are displayed in 8 galleries found in this gallery are simply awesome, and that is why it become an important place to visit in Goa. The portraits are displayed utilizing both natural and artificial light.The main areas of the museum consist of the Key Gallery, the Portrait Gallery and the Sculpture Gallery.

Previously, the museum has a long hall lying to the left side of the entrance was converted into 2 galleries with a newly constructed wide staircase at the extreme west to facilitate access to the first floor.

The main hall of the museum is in the ground floor and it is flanked by a 6 metre tall statue of Alfonso de Albuquerque’s (first governor of Goa) in its entrance gate. Previously, it was situated in Old Goa and at the Azad Maidan in Panaji before being moved in this museum after Independence. The main hall also displays a handful of tatalising items from the Kadamba city of Chandor excavated in 1974, a grey basalt Vishnu statue from Ponda and a stading Surya statue, both made in 11th and 12th centuries. At the far end and downstairs, stones inscribed in Marathi and Persian testify to former masters of Goa, while the hero and sati stones, one showing a fight in country boats, another showing a Kadamba naval flight.

There is a model of Vasco De Gama's rather small Sao Gabriel in which he sailed to India in 1498 and a statue of Uma - Maheshwara from a Shiva temple at Kurdi which depicts that Goa was rich in quality Hindu art before the Muslim and Portuguese occupations. There is a bronze statue of St.Catherine in the courtyard which was originally on Viceroy's Arch.

The portraits of Portuguese Governors start with Joao De Castro are placed on the first floor which provides an interesting study in the evolution of court dresses. Other objects on display are lintel of a temple depicting various types of Shikharas, architectural pieces, sati-stones, hero-stones, an inscribed slab containing Kannada inscription of 'Devaraya' etc.

At the foot of the staircase, the beautifully carved bowl of fruits includeds jackfruit, pineapples, grapes, papaya, banana and cashew.

Additional facilities provided for the visitors included potable drinking water, video show on World Heritage properties in India, clean inventory, children activity center and publication sale counter.

Timing: All days of the week 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM; closed on Fridays
Admission Fees: Rs. 5/- per head (Children up to 15 years free), Rs.100/- for foreigner.Video photography by the visitors is not allowed.