History of Donvaddo - I

[This article was initially written in 1992-93 by a team from Saligao, in association with Fr Nascimento Mascarenhas, and published in the Souvenir of the sesquicentennial celebrations of St Anne’s Chapel (1843-1993). The team comprised Orlando Vaz, Emmie Sequeira and Franklin D'Souza. The version reproduced below was modified and updated by Fr Nascimento in mid-2004]

Attempting to document the history of the ward in Saligao village known as Donvaddo is a difficult task, due to the paucity of written records. The same is often the case for the general history of many Goa villages. After referencing the few available documents and early sources, one has to rely on the accounts of Saligao villagers relating what they remember being told to them by previous generations in the village of Saligao, as well as what they themselves witnessed growing up in the village of Saligao in Bardez, Goa.

Konkanakhayan, composed in 1751, states: “Kashyapa, Vatsa Brahmins lived in Saligao (vide p. 23, stanza 15). Ravindra Patkar, writing in Gaud Saraswat Samaz Parichay Grant mentions the two gotras (clans) mentioned above and adds that there are also other clans like Bharadwaja, Kaundinya and Kutsa and that their main deity is Shri Vetal-Xervani. The temple and deities were located in wards Salmona (Sevi Xervani) and Mollebhatt (Shri Vetal) at Sallganv or Saligao. At the time of conversion to Christianity in the XVI century, the Hindu brethren moved on to Advalpale, near Assonora in Salgan-vaddo and fixed themselves there with their images. They constructed a temple and located the deities therein.

The Goa Boletim Oficial  (Official Gazette) of the year 1931, Number 96, 2nd October, gives the rules and regulations of the Temple of Xervani-Vetal of Advalpale, as well as the names of the Mahajans as Porob Salgaokar, Naique Salgaokar, Sinai Salgaokar and Dhondd Salgaokar and also from where they came from in the XVI century. The list of the four mahajans is also repeated in Goa’s Official Gazette of 3rd November, 1966, wherein besides the above four mahajans it also mentions non-Brahmins Petcar Salganvkar as members of the temple (vide B.O. Article 2 of chapter 1, p. 387). Patkar mentions two types of Dhondds (tax collectors), namely Dhondd (Ghole) belonging to the Kashyap gotra (clan), Bardezkar (sub-division) having Vetal-Xervani as deity, place Advalpale .The other Dhondd family with their deity as Vetal –Xervani in Advalpale,  Kudalldeshkar (sub-division) also belongs to Kashyapa gotra. Their kula-deva (family deity) is Brahman to which Vanadevi is added; Vetal-Xervani being Gram-devi, village Goddess, common to all.

An interesting discovery was made recently while researching the history of Goa villages and studying the 11th vangodd of the Saligao Comunidade of the Year 1796. In the list is a surname of one ‘de Souza’  that gives the name of a person and adds into brackets “Dhondd”. The entry names  “Luis de Souza and orphans of Luis de Souza”. In this vangodd there are other surnames like Carneiro, de Mello, Mascarenhas, Cunha and Trindade, besides de Souza. Were they all brothers in Hinduism? And then perhaps acquired different surnames in the course of the baptism ritual – according to god-father, or baptizing priest or governor, bishop, viceroy and so on, as we see in some scattered historical notes? Who is this first Dhondd Salgaokar and what was his name before it was changed?. As we are short of any documentation at the time of conversion that took place in Saligao and other parts of Goa, we cannot give the correct name. But one thing is certain, and that is that the “de Souza” was a Dhondd as mentioned in the Comunidade document.

Canon F X Vaz in Oriente Portugues (1916) and (1920), says DON[O]-VADDO means village of Dhondds = tax collectors or DHAN-VADDO = rich ward (vide, Etimos da Aldeias; also, vide, COSTA, J A L da; A History of Goa, Mapuca, Goa, 1982, p.337)

So the name Donvaddo in Saligao is probably derived from Dhondd or Don, meaning tax-collectors – who apparently resided there. The zeal of the Portuguese and the European priests to convert the local people of Goa to Christianity forced the Dhondds to flee to the lands under the Head of Sawantvaddi, though history has it that one Dhondd family converted. The other reference to the presence of Dhondd is the Donnachi Baim (the Dhondd’s well) situated in the centre of the ward. If one walks around the vaddo, one can see quite a number of large and spacious houses which have seen better days, the obvious inference here being the existence of rich people in Donvaddo ward of Saligao.

Names of Properties

In the property book known in Portuguese as Indice Real da Freguesia de Saligao, Book 22, No. 126 dated 13-XII-1916, Donvaddo is also referred to as “Predio Vangodd”. Some names of other properties recorded therein are: Vissolacho Sorvo, Modully Addy or Donwaddeachi Addy, Botiani or Botiani Ford, Donwaddechi Arady or Odduly Addy, Oxel, Biddleachem Verica, Coliechem Batta, Dactem Batta, Gerod or Serod, Odachem Cantialem, Congotto, Gorbatta, Kamer-xet, Moi, etc. Pausttovaddo was also in Donvaddo in the south-east. Consequently the boundaries can roughly be given as Sequeira’s house (Padre Franky) in the east, the nullah (vau) in the north, another nullah (or the road beyond it) in the west and a portion of the hillock including the Seminary of Our Lady in the south. (Note: The playgrounds of the seminary fall in Sonarbhatt. The part of the building up to the seminary chapel falls in Donvaddo, Saligao, while the seminary hall, classes, etc, are located within Pilerne).


Because of the lack of any records, nothing can be said with certainty about the inhabitants of Donvaddo in Saligao up until the arrival of Christianity in the taluka of Bardez, Goa. The existence of sizeable tracts of agricultural land towards the north of the area offers a clue that agriculture was the main occupation of the people. Even today, come rain or shine, people from the ward are seen toiling in the paddy fields or growing sweet potatoes, onions, chilies, tomatoes, fresh vegetables, cereals, etc. In times of yore, following the other folk of the village, sugarcane was also grown.

Considering the existence of fields and prevalence of agriculture in Saligao village, it goes without saying that domestic animals like cows, buffaloes and goats were reared. Donvaddkars, in addition to being agriculturists, were also involved in pastoral activities, and the verdant hillock in the south provided excellent pastures.

A couple of households in the south-east of the ward were involved in leather tanning. With the passing away of the older folk, the domestic tanning industry died a natural death. In days gone by the south of the ward was home to bamboo weavers who earned their daily bread weaving baskets, mats, winnows, etc, besides mending broken items.

The chapel of St. Anne in Mudd’davaddi was built in 1843 and Donvaddkars fulfilled their religious obligation there by attending Mass on Sundays. It was however quite difficult to get to the chapel. The path through the fields ended near the present culvert across the nullah. One had to cross the nullah a little to the right of the culvert and wind one’s way through private property. It was then that Pedro Damiao Carneiro came to the rescue of Donvaddkars. He was instrumental in constructing the culvert and the road beyond, right up to the door of the chapel. (Incidentally, Pedro Carneiro served as the treasurer of St. Anne’s Chapel for 16 years from 1879 to 1895). To commemorate this golden moment in the annals of Donvaddo, a soul-stirring song was composed on the occasion. The lyrics in Konkani are reproduced below, courtesy the late Jose Carneiro and his sister-in-law Regina Carneiro:

Ek chefe mukhar soron

Kamer-xetant reuniao kelo.

Modlean marog dakhoun dilo

Sogllenche motint gelo.

Khottlantle haddun re renderu

Salak marli re bunheadu

Donvaddcheo bailo re vochunu

Khorem-kuddvi ghetleo re zhomunu

Dulpod: Salganvantu zoddim zattai vatte pasun

Donvaddkar vencer zale sankov bhandun.



Souvenir of St. Anne’s Chapel 1993; Livro de Comunidade de Saligao, 1795-

1796; Boletim Oficial of 1923, 1931 and 1936; and those mentioned above.

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