The most common touristy places in India are famous for its forts and palaces, and wherever there are forts and palaces there are museums. Most of these museums have a display of how rich and powerful our kings and rulers were and how much arms and ammunition they had, their guns and swords, crockery and furniture, the precious gifts they got from all over the world, the jewels they collected and so on. These might all be very fascinating but it is sad that history is recorded and learnt through the lives of rich and powerful. Nobody thinks of archiving the lives of ordinary people.
That’s what artist and restorer Victor Hugo Gomes set out to do and the result was Goa Chitra Museum, one of Goa’s most interesting places to visit. It is an ethnographic museum that restores and preserves traditional objects and artifacts which narrate the lives of Goa’s indigenous people. Things like fishing nets, fishing boats, utensils used in making Feni (traditional Goan liqour), traditional hand operated machines used in making ice cream, singer sewing machines, old rusted irons, lanterns and candle stands are some of the very antique things kept in the museum.
It also has a section dedicated to wheels which has a collection of hundreds of wheel carts dating as far back as 16-17th century. Some of these carts we have only seen in European period films.
Mr Gomes have collected and restored many of these objects from old demolished houses. It is his passion for preservation and restoration that today the museum has over 4000 objects reflecting the agrarian lives of Goa’s people.
I found the place extremely interesting as I came across such objects and tools which I didn’t even know the name of or what their uses are. But strangely, I overheard some people around me saying things like, “Oh what’s the big deal, even we have such things at our home.”
It is perhaps true that people of my generation have seen some of these objects in their homes kept somewhere in the loft or attic or something but there is no doubt that if we don’t understand the value of preserving these things then our next generation would never see them anymore.
The museum is in South Goa close to Benaulim beach. For more details visit http://www.goachitra.com/index.html
Here are some of the photos I took.
The museum looks like a charming little cottage dotted with coconut trees
I can tell you I have only seen this kind of a cart in Pirates of the Caribbean Movies.
The utensils for making Feni
Fishing net, boat, baskets
Items for gardening. The next generation would not have enough land to do gardening and even if they do, they will not use these tools anymore, they’ll use Made In China plastic goods.
Items used by Carpenter. In the age of Pepperfry and Urban Ladder new generation would never know how furniture are made?
Traditional ice cream and juice maker
An array of earthen pots
A collection of antique lanterns. Damn artistic.
For photos on my Flickr Album