Take a peek into Goa’s past at Goa Chitra, in Benaulim

Goa Chitra, an ethnographic museum, located in Benaulim, was set up in 2009, and contains thousands of painstakingly-restored artefacts, collected by the founder, Victor Hugo Gomes, over the span of several decades.
Take a peek into Goa’s past at Goa Chitra, in Benaulim
Altars in a variety of styles can be found at Goa Chitra, in BenaulimGomantak Times

While you are in Goa, visiting popular tourist spots, don’t miss the Goa Chitra Museum, located in the quaint village of Benaulim, in South Goa. This museum is actually a conglomerate of three museums – Goa Chitra, Goa Chakra and Goa Cruti – spread across an area of approx 1,17,000 sqm.

Goa Chitra houses over 4,000 artifacts, connected with Goa’s agrarian roots. It is fascinating to see the sheer multitude of traditional farming implements and the ancient tools of the trade, all of which is the result of the dedication and hard work of one man – Victor Hugo Gomes, the founder of Goa Chitra – the artist-curator-restorer, who began his collection over 30 years ago.

Carts, carriages and related objects form the focus of Goa Chakra, which has a collection of various ancient modes of transport from all over India; while Goa Cruti’s collection is based on Goa’s colonial past.

Goa Chitra's collection includes local pottery, farming tools, musical instruments, carts and palanquins from a bygone era. Each artefact is supported with information about the item, collected following careful research. These objects give an insight into Goa’s roots, and how our ancestors worked the land.

In Goa Chakra, you will also find a variety of carts, including this one, which comes all the way from Uttar Pradesh, and was used to carry bales of cotton
In Goa Chakra, you will also find a variety of carts, including this one, which comes all the way from Uttar Pradesh, and was used to carry bales of cottonGomantak Times

MORE THAN A MUSEUM

Gomes travelled to remote areas and collected all kinds of interesting things in an attempt to save what was left of the Goa of yore. He would take these items home and painstakingly restore each of them. Among his finds were recycled materials such as woodwork, doors, windows, pillars, railings and other elements from over 300 demolished, traditional houses. Using the help of local artisans, these objects contributed to the structure of Goa Chitra, giving it a blend of traditional elements and modern technologies.

The basic purpose of the museum is reviving age-old traditions, which would have otherwise been lost with the passage of time. Keeping this in mind, the museum also invites local artisans to hold a variety of workshops (clay, mosaic, block printing etc) as well as set up stalls on the premises to sell their wares.

This conglomerate of museums also attracts a large number of school and college students on educational excursions. With a thriving internship and volunteer program, this museum has hosted and guided plenty of national and international students over the years.

From clocks to tools, all manner of objects used in a bygone era in Goa, can be found in Benaulim's Goa Chitra
From clocks to tools, all manner of objects used in a bygone era in Goa, can be found in Benaulim's Goa ChitraGomantak Times

Set against the backdrop of a traditional organic farm, the campus also has a zoo to attract kids and students, as well as an activity centre, called Goa Chitra Kids Club to sensitise children about creating objects and art using natural materials.

The Goa Chitra Museum has been rated as the “topmost contemporary museum” in India by the Archaeological Survey of India, and is the recipient of three international awards – the Fundação Orient Scholarship 2009 (Portugal), VX Verodiana Award 2009 (USA) and the Felga Gracias Award 2014 (Brazil) – and has garnered the attention of Indian as well as foreign media. It has been featured as a “must see” place by TIME International (July 2010), a “Hidden Gem” by National Geographic Traveler magazine (April 2013), by BBC News (December 2013) and several other national magazines/journals, including MARG magazine of the arts. The museum has also been awarded the Bravo Badge by TripAdvisor, and ranked as the No 1 attraction in South Goa.

Even Robert De Niro, the famous Hollywood actor, and his daughter have been to this museum. So also, the Indian Congress President, Sonia Gandhi, among several eminent personalities. You, too, can be a member of this museum. The membership program entitles members to special discounts for all workshops, fund-raising concerts, and other activities of the museum.

WHERE: Benaulim

TIMINGS: 9 am to 6 pm (7 days a week)

ENTRY FEE: ₹ 300 (additional discounts for groups & students)

CONTACT: 0832 2772910/11

Altars in a variety of styles can be found at Goa Chitra, in Benaulim
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