Walking through Grande Morodd, Pequeno Morodd and Goletem

by Fr. Nascimento Mascarenhas

Walking in Goa villages can be a pleasant and calming experience. After having passed through an avenue of coconut palms and flat fields of Cotula in Saligao, I begin my walk in the Goan village of Saligao from the middle of the road that passes Grande Morodd and Nagoa village proper. This road also links with the Dom Pedro V road that runs from Mapusa to Parra on its onward journey through Saligao, Pilerne, Reis Magos (Verem), connecting to the National Highway 17, at the Mandovi bridge, and proceeding till Panjim, the capital of Goa.

Our Saligao historian, the late Fr Joao Antonio Jacinto da Costa (1918-2008), said: “Morodd means fields before being inhabited by people”. In the book Comunidade de Saligao, on page 99, entitled Actas ou Assento e Outros Servicos (Minutes and other Services) (1756-1760), which I remember as I walk ahead, were the names of the nine wards (vadde) of the village of Saligao at that time. They were Salmona, Arady, Santo Antonio, Dondo-vaddo, Mollebata, Murdavady, Cotella, Vhoddlem Morada and Dacutem Morada. I remember that Morodd also means paddy field land on a higher plane. As I walk I remember in a flash what I had read some years back in a book entitled Saligao: Focus on a Picturesque Goan Village, authored by J Patrocinio de Souza and Alfred D’Cruz. There they say that the village of Saligao in those bygone centuries was largely inhabited by madde or maddos i.e. mhars or mars. There of course must have been other natives, but the mhars that were the most numerous, as can be seen from the names of several wards of Saligao, such as Vhoddlem Morada, Daktem Morada, Murdavady and Muddo (in Mollembhat). All those names are derived from Mhar, the original inhabitants. It also indicates where the madde resided (before the arrival of the Gaud Saraswat Brahmins from Chundamani (Chorao in Goa), between 7 and 10 AD at Saligao). These Brahmins subjugated the adlo lok or the natives (Mhars). The Saraswats made themselves masters of the village, more by brain than by brawn, taking possession of the village common land and constituting themselves into a Comunidade.

The first house I spot at Grande Morodd is that of Miguel de Souza and Pedro de Souza – nicknamed Tipri – belonging to the 9th vangodd of the Comunidade of Saligao of the year 1756. During the period of five years from 1756 to 1760, there were many Alardos and Saligaokars had to do watch-and-ward duty as soldiers. In this book of the Comunidade de Saligao their names are given vangodd-wise, along with their nicknames wherever applicable. My old friend, the late Ornelas de Souza (Tipri), was from this household.

Goan heritage

A little further I notice the house of Dr Eric R de Mello who was twice President of the Saligao Union, Bombay (1945-1948 & 1957-1960). He guided the Union with great tact and skill combined with unfailing courtesy. Famous in Goa, everything he touched turned to gold. Eric was born in 1906 in Mombasa, Kenya, where his father Vicente Caetano de Mello served as a distinguished Civil Servant for 33 years. It was the father who started the family tradition of scoring firsts:  He was the first Asian in the three territories of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania to be conferred the MBE (Member of the British Empire) by the British Government. They also honoured him by naming a main road in Kisumu, (the capital of Nyanza, a province in Kenya) “De Mello Pride”.  It is also a matter of pride for us Goans that De Mello Pride is one of the few roads to retain its original name after Kenya’s independence; the others have been Africanised. Young Eric was sent to Bombay for his schooling, where he distinguished himself as a scholar and a sportsman, at St. Stanislaus High School, Bandra, and at St. Xavier’s High School, Dhobi Talao. At the MBBS examination, Eric stood first in Bombay University and bagged three gold medals. Eric captained the Bombay University Hockey Team in the Aga Khan tournaments and was also a member of the Lusitanian hockey team that won the Aga Khan tournament in 1929. The de Mello household is nicknamed Goddgoddo.  Heta Pandit, who bought this house a few years ago, has maintained the Goddgoddo house in all its old glory. She is the founder of an NGO called Goa Heritage Action Group and an author of several books on Goan heritage.

From here as I look towards the right I see the house of Prof Luis Jose Carvalho. For many years he taught several generations of students at the then famous St. Joseph’s High School, Arpora. His daughter Zita Carvalho, now a Sister of the Franciscan Missionaries of Christ the King, was for a long time our teacher at the Mater Dei School in Saligao. I remember her late brother Armando Carvalho once president of the Saligao Club in Toronto, Canada. Sara, her sister, is a social worker in Canada. Francis Carvalho from the same Goan house was my colleague in singing and acting in the popular tiatrs of late Rev Fr Robert Vas, our Parish Priest in the fifties. He was appointed Spiritual Director of the Saligao-Pilerne Seminary in the same year I joined the Seminary in 1957.

Quite close to this household is the residence of Veronica Carvalho. She was the air-hostess along with her daughter of Transportes Aereos da India Portuguesa (TAIP). The planes flew from Goa to Portugal via Karachi then. I fondly remember their father, Damaso Carvalho. From this family we had one of the oldest priests of the Archdiocese of Goa. He was Rev Fr Gonzaga Carvalho, who lived more than 103 years. George Carvalho, the president of the Saligao Institute in Saligao (inaugurated in 1929) is from the same family.

On the left I see Rev Dr Almir D’Souza’s house. He was the Director of the Pastoral Institute in Old Goa, and at present is the parish priest of Ucassaim. In the neighbourhood is the house that once belonged to Fenelon D’Souza, married to Atila D’Souza. They were both members of the Golden Jubilee celebration organising committee of the Saligao Union (1936-1986) in Mumbai, and now very much involved in the affairs of the Saligao medical centre, in Cotula.

Walking along I come face to face with another Goan heritage house, this one belonging to the late Augusto Lobo — the one-time popular Regidor de Saligao. A little away is another vast heritage house, that of the late Avelino Fernandes, former manager of Bank of India, Saligao. Next comes the house of Natu Noronha, who descends from Baltazar de Noronha (1567) — one of the first converted Christians of Saligao and gaunkar of the Comunidade of Saligao. Baltazar was the employee (Naique) of the captain of Bardez named Baltazar Lobo e de Souza. The Noronhas in Hinduism were known as Naik Salgaoncars. Quite close is the residential house of Nagesh Naik who has won several prizes in All Goa Mango competitions.

Rosary chapel in Saligao

Now I reach quite close to the chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary (N. Sra. Do Rosario). It was built by soliciting subscriptions from the people and erected by decree of Archbishop Santa Catarina (1784-1812) dated 10 September 1793. The chapel was rebuilt in 1930. It has a confraternity of the patroness of Grande Morodd chapel. In its neighbourhood there is a vast house belonging to the late Dr Antonio Menino Machado, ganvkar of the 6th vangodd (Saligao has 12 vangodds of the Comunidade of Saligao).

Rosary chapel in Saligao, Goa : Saligao Serenade

Rosary chapel and Dr Menino’s heritage house in Saligao

Just opposite the Rosary chapel lies the Clinica Ave Maria founded by Dr Antonio Menino Machado. It came into existence in 1934 and the first child born there was Antoinette D’Cruz from Cotula. There was a chapel inside the hospital dedicated to St Anthony. Mass was celebrated in this chapel for the first time on 6 May 1950. At a time when there was no electricity in Saligao, Dr Machado had installed an electric dynamo that provided electric lights to the hospital and his residence. After the death of Dr Machado the hospital was closed and at present a German-Japanese couple are the proud occupants of this hospital, which is now a residential house.

Walking a little away from the Grande Morodd chapel I spot the heritage house of Paulosinho Machado. He showed great affection to me whenever I went to meet him. Close to his house, among the coconut trees, some buildings have now come up. During one of my earlier walks in this area I visited the Nagoa church which served the village of Saligao as well, before the construction of Mae de Deus church.

As I walk on I also remember Damasceano and Bridget Dantas and their sons Norman and Glen. Norman became a high-quality writer and author. Damasceano had a printing press in Panjim called Printwell. Damasceano’s brother Ramond was also well known. Ramond wrote a number of articles on Saligao.

Very close to the Dantas family lived the Ribeiros. Tomazinho Ribeiro, a six-footer, was a highly respected personality. His ancestor was the first convert of Bardez. A certain Mangarna Sinai coming from Cortalim fixed himself in Pilerne. He was a notary of the Municipality of the Province of Bardez, who was christened Pero Ribeiro. One branch of the Ribeiro family after some years came to Nagoa de Bardez and settled there. Eventually they bought property in Grande Morodd, Saligao, and built their house there. They have a genealogical family tree. In addition, I cannot fail to mention the late Jose Ribeiro, formerly of the Burmah Shell Company at Vasco da Gama and President of All Goa St. Vincent the Paul (SVP) Society; he was a leader in liturgical and para-liturgical services in the Saligao Church of Mae de deus, Grande Morodd chapel and in the ward. He has passed this legacy to his sons Tom and Savio Ribeiro, both very much involved in social and religious matters. I also remember Richard D’Souza from this ward, who was the Director of the Forest Department of Goa

I now reach the Saligao – Nagoa border. Here lies a newly built Hindu temple known as Nagnath Rashtroli Prasanna Devasthan. For the last four consecutive years since 2004 (this walk is of the year 2008) the Committee of the Devasthan has been holding the All Goa Mehendi Competition at Grande Morodd as part of the Ganesh Chaturti festival.

On my way back I remember the late Jacinto Travasso from Grande Morodd. He was the senior sacristan for many years at Saligao Church, and was loved by all Saligaonkars. He was a very efficient worker at his trade, kept the linen clean and vestments in order, and baked the hosts for communion. As children we would sit around him as he cut the hosts and he would give us the remnants, with which we would happily fill our stomachs.

Village fields

Village fields in Goa

Village fields in Goa

I meet the ever-smiling Justino Fernandes, my old classmate who worked for many years in Kuwait, and is now a social worker. My eyes fall on the Grande Morodd fields at a distance. There was a football ground too. We used to play a lot of football matches there in the days of our youth. The inter-ward tournaments brought cheer to the folks of Grande Morodd. Modddakars, since the commencement of the Saligao Church festivities in 1874, always were the first to start the novena to our patroness Mae de Deus. This practice has continued uninterrupted over the years, with the feast always celebrated on the first Sunday of May in Saligao and everywhere else in the world where Saligaokars meet together.

From Voddlem Morodd I take another road towards the church. On the way is Dakttem Morodd, or Pequeno Morodd as it is popularly known. This is a relatively new road. In the early fifties it was just a lane. The famous tiatrists (Konkani stage artistes) of Saligao were born here. I see the original houses of Champion Alvares, C Alvares and F Alvares. Alvares Champion’s baptism name is Sebastian Alvares. He was born in 1915 and was an ace singer – the title of “Champion” was given to him by Saib Rocha, a stalwart of the Goan Konkani stage. He was very original in composing mandos like Istimosanv Rozachem, Ago mhojea Jakin bai, etc. Champion Alvares died on 4th January 1991, but not before he put together his songs into a music cassette.

Celestino Alvares, King of Konkani duets

Celestino Alvares

C Alvares (Celestino Alvares) was born on 11th August 1924. He became an ace director but was known by everyone as the “King of Konkani Duets”. He received an award at the hands of India’s Prime Minister Indira Gandhi – the award was for best actor in the Konkani film Nirmon. C Alvares wrote more than 100 tiatrs. Besides Nirmon he acted in other famous Konkani films like Amchem Noxib and Bhuerantlo Monis. His video cassette entitled Faxi Mogachi, as well as his audio cassettes, are still popular.

A little away I see the house of the late Eustaquinho de Souza, the versatile mistri (choirmaster) of the Saligao Church for many years. He had a very good voice and excelled in playing the organ and violin in the church. He also composed masses, which are sung even to this day in Goa churches. He wrote music for the tiatrs of Fr Robert Vaz. Along with Jose Cardeiro and the Saligao singers he played for mando festivals in Panjim. The motetes that his daughter Laura sang with the Saligao singers on All India Radio were a treat to hear.

I climb a few steps and come face to face with Joao Jose’s residence. He was our church warden (meirinho), a deputy to sacristan Jacinto Travasso. I met him a number of times at the clergy home where he visited me and exchanged lots of news and views about Saligao. Most of the boys living behind the church in Pequeno Morodd are baptised with the name Boaventura and they always celebrate the feast of St. Bonaventure in the church. Bonaventure was a Bishop and doctor of the church. He was known as a seraphic doctor who enlightened minds with the splendour of his teaching. His wisdom came from meditating on the humanity of Christ during His Passion. The statue of St Bonaventure adorned the altar of the College of Sao Boaventura in Old Goa from 13 July 1618. This image was brought to Saligao and placed on the altar of St Francis Xavier in the late 19th century.

The people of this ward of Pequeno Morodd and Cotula along with Goletem celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Victory (N. Sra. Da Boa Vitoria) in September, on a Sunday after the 8th. The chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Victory was built before 1753 by Paulo de Menezes. The chapel was demolished and its stones were used for building the Mae de Deus Church. The image of Our Lady of Victory with her Confraternity and all its belongings were transferred to the new church. The Confraternity was made into an association during the tenure of Fr Francisco Athaide, the Vicar of Saligao until 2007. The Menezes family has a very big house at Pequeno Morodd.

Very close to the Menezes house was another mansion, that of Pinto Lobo. They were originally from Pomburpa and settled later in Saligao. In the early fifties the Saligao youth were given retreats in this house by the priests from Saligao Church, and I attended them too.  Fr Hermino Pinto Lobo was one of the famous priests from this family. He excelled in conducting choirs. The private altar from his house at Pequeno Morodd was placed in the sacristy of the church when the house was sold. Now it is known as Villa Saligao and has a Cottage Industries Exposition showroom. Villa Saligao also has an authentic Italian cuisine restaurant and a jazz club all set within its beautiful gardens. Nearby is the famous Florentine’s bar and restaurant run by a local family, famous for its chicken cafreal.

Ayurvedic treatment centre, Saligao

ANHC Ayurveda Clinic Saligao

Then we have the residence of Cornel. Next to it is the house of Dr Mario of zadd pallamfame. In the vicinity is the Ayurvedic Natural Health Centre (ANHC) which is recognised and recommended by the Ministry of Tourism in Goa. The Saligao ayurvedic treatment centre also has a herbal garden and an organic food gallery. The herbal garden at the ayurvedic center in Saligao has over 200 varieties of medicinal plants and herbs used in traditional ayurveda. The Saligao ayurvedic clinic of ANHC provides consultation from qualified doctors and experienced therapists. The goals of the ANHC ayurvedic centre in Saligao include promoting and preserving positive health and establish a harmonious balance between man and nature.

Then comes Goletem, a small ward annexed to Pequeno Morodd. There is an interesting story attached to the place. The old chauddi (meeting place with an attached office) used to be a landmark not only of Saligao but also of Bardez. It was one of the centres in the district where all those condemned to the gallows were assembled and marched towards the execution spot. It is said that the chapel of Nossa Senhora de Boa Vitoria was later built to cover the scene of bloodshed. All those condemned to death were taken in a procession along Goletem, which was an abbreviation of gol veti vat, meaning way to the gallows – a veritable Via Dolorosa – to “Sullachem Morodd”. This practice carried on until Marques de Pombal abolished capital punishment all over the Portuguese world. Today, a stone cross stands in mute testimony at the spot where criminals were put to death. People conduct a litany service at the cross every year, most probably knowing nothing of the gory history of the spot.

Saligao cemetery and crematorium

Whilst returning home via the Chogm Road running from Candolim to Porvorim via Saligao, I notice the Saligao cemetery. The village community of Saligao, through its procuradoes Francisco Joao Marques and Vicente Caetano Saldanha, informed the Ecclesiastical authority that the cemetery, according to the Decree of 21 September 1835, was built in 1838 surmounting all difficulties and was blessed on 15 May 1839. The first burial was on 20th of the same month. The cemetery had a chapel with all vestments and requisites and it was certified by the vicar of Parra, Fr Antonio Jose de Sa, on 6 August 1839. In our times it has been enlarged and beautified with number of plants. It has a chapel where every year on All Souls’ Day, Mass is celebrated for the departed souls. There are a few monuments as well as niches in the cemetery. A few years ago, the Hindu community of Saligao built a crematorium to the left of the cemetery. During my young days the Hindus used to cremate their dead on a hill above the Mater Dei institution. There was just a makeshift road leading to it, and it was very tedious transporting the wood required for the cremation.

The parish church of Saligao, with its neo-Gothic architecture, came into existence on 26th November 1873, dedicated to Mae de Deus. There is a bandstand and two monuments — Our Lady of Mae de Deus and Our Lady of Fatima. The monumental Cross built in 1873 inexplicably “disappeared” in 1973. However the present church committee (2008-09) is thinking of building a new Cross between the two monuments.

The parochial school established in 1873 was endowed with its own building raised in 1878. This building was demolished in 1972 and a cement stage has come up in its place. Beyond the fence lies the house of George da Gama, who plays the organ and violin in the church and teaches music as well. The two fields have been bought by the Fabrica da Igreja and there is a facility to park vehicles outside the compound walls.

There are a lot of hidden treasures and heritage buildings in this area, as well as the residences of famous people, which might have been missed by me. Readers from Saligao are requested to fill in those gaps to enable better knowledge of our past for the present and future Saligao generations. Your comments would be much appreciated. What I have written is just a humble beginning.

12 comments on Walking through Grande Morodd, Pequeno Morodd and Goletem

  • Exmo. Pe. Nascimento Mascarenhas,
    You surely did electrify myself. I just could’nt believe and thank you immensely for your kind thought in remembering my Avo – Sr. Prof. Luis Jose Carvalho, Yes, I am the youngest sibling of D. Sara married in Margao to Sr. Jose Joaquim Miranda. It brings an honour for me, not only to read about my blood, but alslo the neighbours, i.e. Tipri, Godgodo (I know only Sunny), Primo Damaso Carvalho, ofcourse you did hit a note on my favourite cousin Prima Veronica, whose husband Primo Rico (Alarico Mascarenhas), Sr. Nagesh Naik (I still remember his father – Sr. Roghovir Naik), as Nagesh and his brother (Pundolik or Purushotum) used to teach me Hindi after our arrival from Mombasa as my mom wanted to keep me away from wandering the fields stoning lizards (Topio) and climbing coconut and mango trees, You also mentioned of Sr. Tomazinho Rebeiro (my mom’s Padrinho). Then Dr. Menino Machado (whose son Francisco’s wedding I attended as a tiny tot). I remember their hospital just opp. their house, also the big hall, next to Pro. Damaso’s house, Did you forget Sr. Miku Noronha (Pe. Bento’s father) (whose house we used to go collect Fruita de Adao, Don’t know what happened to Nagesh who had a cut lip, and always followed us whenever we arrived from Margao, also Sacrula who used to preach and wind up with a 2-finger blessing. Then the then Fr. Manuel Lobo and his bro. Francisco. Pe. Manuel used to organise walking trips to Calangute via Nagoa. I was fortunate to have him in our Parish at Holy Spirit Church, Margao.
    Sr. Padre, You surely took me to a nostalgic trip to Grande Morod. Thanks also for remembering my aunt Zita (Titia as she is known) my uncles Tio Joao and Tio Antonio who was a doctor, and Xaxai (Francisco), My mom has never been to Canada. Also Armando, is the son of Gabriel Carvalho (Gabru) and not our relative.

    OOH! I could just talk and talk and think and think about Saligao, The cycling path from Lourdes Convent through Cotula to Grande Morod.

    Forte Abracos and Melhores Cumprimentos
    Higino Miranda.

  • [...] lived in a well-kept mansion. He had a maternity hospital opposite his residence built in 1934 at Grande Morodd (also known as Vhoddlem Morodd).  His private maternity hospital was first of its kind in Bardez. [...]

  • [...] this scenic beauty of the full moon and all the lullabies gave our famous tiatrist and lyricist C Alvares from Goletem in Saligao the inspiration to compose “Dol Mhojea Bai“, a literary gem from the Konkani [...]

  • Derek

    Hi Derek,
    I came across this article on the net. There is a mention of Dad’s book which may interest him.

    Warm regards,

  • Paul Fernandes

    Dear Fr.Nascimento Mascarenhas,

    It was nice Walking through Grande Morodd, Pequeno Morodd and Goletem with your writing.

    I in the year 1962 came from Mumbai to live at Grande Morrod. Did my studies at St.Joseph’s High School at Aprora. I remember you too while serving as Alter boys at Church or at times at the Chapel of Our Lady of Rosary.

    Looking for to read your latest book “Land of Sal Tree” as my friend at Grande Morrod has already kept a copy for me. I have to Anjuna since 1986 but visit Saligao every time that I visit Goa. Visit my neighbors bring back old days that I spent with them enjoying life as a youngster.

    I have lots to catch up to do reading the other articles on Saligao that I would have missed. Cheers and good health.

    Paul Fernandes
    Grande Morrod/Mahim, Mumbai.

  • Hubert William D Souza

    My House has not been mentioned maybe it belonged to some other party and we bought it or my grand father bought it. Anyway it was nice going through Grande morrod.

  • Hubert William D Souza

    My house is very near to the Hospital of Dr. Menin Machado

  • Hubert William D Souza

    Dear Father,
    I first came to stay in Grand Morrod in 1952 from Mombasa, Kenya. It was so beautiful clean rain water and even though there no electricity, the moon light use to shine brightly. There were many foxes around. I stayed in the bungalow where the European School stands. The river by the side there were fishes and youngest use to fish there. This bungalow was right opposite Tipris. I bought one of books and lots of interesting facts are there. Like only Dr. Minin machado had his own electricity. There was a hall were tiatres were held.
    Today Grande Morrod is full of non Goans and noisy.

    With regards
    Hubert William

  • veena

    Dear All,

    I am looking for one Mr. Benjamin Percy Machado or one Mr. Hubert Francis Machado. Can any one help me in getting touch with them or their relatives.



  • Cherie Zieschang

    I’m Eric Rosario deMello’s daughter. I’m trying to do my family tree and would appreciate any information about Eric’s grandfather(s) and grandmother(s).

    Thank you!

  • Maurice rocha

    Tracing family of Sebastian Rosario rocha around 1850 from goa .would appreciate any leads
    Maurice rocha

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