Both connected and removed from the bustle of the tourist trail is Siolim, a sleepy village on the south bank of the Chapora river in north Goa, close to Mapusa. It is also near Assagao village and the tourist haunt of Anjuna, but Siolim is not overrun by tourists.
The perfect place for those looking for something different. That’s what struck Raimund and Ute Imo when they discovered the 150-year-old house called Raj Angan (royal courtyard), located in the heart of Siolim, not far from St Anthony’s Church, and amid a clutch of typical village houses.
“We learnt that it was originally built adhering to the principles of vaastu shastra,” says Ute, “but we couldn’t really stick to that after we took over as we had to make a lot of changes to renovate the place to our liking.”
Spread over two floors with a total carpet area of 1,000 sq. m and surrounded by a 4,000 sq. m garden, the luxury villa took two years to complete. “We bought the place and started the renovation as we had to move out of our old house. However, we soon realized it was a lot bigger than we actually required and would cost a fair amount to maintain.”
So the Imos thought it would be a good idea to let the rooms out to a select clientele. Which they did, for a while. However, Raj Angan is now a private villa and is not available for rent.
Built around a sunlit central courtyard, the house borrows from various influences including Moroccan and Portuguese, as far as the structure and decor are concerned.
The ground floor has three bedrooms; Rani, Raj and Clara. Rani is the only room in which they were able to retain the original tiles. The traditional patterns give the room a special charm. The other rooms and areas on the ground floor have similar versions, but have been fabricated locally.
Raj is a smaller L-shaped room in blue and white. It shares the bathroom with the room next door, named Clara after a favourite aunt whose portraits hang on the walls. An adjoining veranda provides access to the garden.
Also on the ground floor is a living room near the front porch and a spacious modern kitchen, with rather unusual window grills designed by Ute’s mother, an artist.
An exposed laterite staircase goes up to the first floor which has a spacious living room. The master bedroom suite has its own private covered terrace and there is a great view of the garden and pool area below. A private bathroom connects to the second terrace, which, when shielded by blinds, can be a retreat in itself. The “full moon terrace”-cum-kitchen in china mosaic could be the perfect dinner setting. Indeed the whole villa is completely in sensory sync with the lush garden that surrounds it.
1. The courtyard’s colour scheme of bright blue and white can be seen across the rest of the property. The tulsi vrindavan, in pink, takes centre stage, and the white columns holding up the roof form a ceremonious enclosure for the shrine.
2. The distinctive facade of the house opens out into the garden on practically all sides. The traditional Goan window design is marked by arches and is made up of an intricate network of mother of pearl (an organic-inorganic composite material produced by some molluscs).
3. Rani, one of the bedrooms on the ground floor.
4. The kitchen with its unusual window and door grills designed by Ute’s mother, an artist.
Text: Tracy BarretoPhotographs: Sanjay Ramachandran
Location: Siolim, Goa
Area: 1,000 sq. m carpet area + 4,000 sq. m of garden
When this article was first published, a part of Raj Angan was open to guests. It is now entirely a private villa and no part of it is available for rent.
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