Old Goa: Villa of Garcia de Orta

A map made by Mr. Joshua Benjamin, ex-Chief Architect of the Government of India, locates the villa of Dr. Garcia de Orta at a parking lot in Old Goa.

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Gideon Avni at det parkinglot. Together with Indan archaeolgoist K.K. Muhammed (left) and Kishor Ragubans from ASI, Museum of Archeology, Old Goa.

Dr. Shalva Weil of Hebrew University visited the office of the ASI, Goa Circle, 31st of January 2014. Dr. Weil requested for information related to the residence and medical gardens of Garcia da Orta.

There are several written records revealing the location of these estates. A map pinpoints the residence of the da Orta family, a map made available in a report from Jewish researcher Nissim Moses (Not dated PDF-file). The da Orta residence is located on the north side of the public road, at the entrance of the Church square in Old Goa. The
map is provided by Mr. Joshua Benjamin, ex-Chief Architect of the Government of India.

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An excavation can me made, based on this map, and other written sources.

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The likely location of the Villa of Dr. Orta is provided on this map.

In the book “Health and Hygiene in Colonial Goa, 1510-1961” Fatima da Silva Gracias writes about the medical garden of Garcia da Orta:

“Many of these plants were cultivated by Garcia da Orta in the gardens attached to his residences in Goa and Bombay. (page 224).

In wikipedia the residence of Gracia da Orta in Mumbai is explained to be a “manor” with “a large garden”.

Garcia da Orta worked at the Royal hospital:

Some valuable information is recorded in the book “Medicine, Trade and Empire, Garcia de Orta;s Colloguies on the simple and drugs of India (1563) in context”, edited by Professor Palmira Fontes da Costa, (Assistant Professor at Universidade Nova de Lisboa).

“Of course, the India folk remedies and drugs supplied to stock such shipboard medical chest, even in the eighteenth century, followed closely the very same recommendations established by Garcia da Orta through his Colloguies and remedies proffered during his tenure as Chief physician of the Hospital Militar de Goa”. (Page 220)

The medical gardens of the Royal hospital:

“Portuguese-flagged vessels departed from Goa, bound for destinations throughout the Lusophone world. having stocked their pharmacy boxes (often at governmental; expense) with local medicines, usually supplied from the apothecary gardens and storerooms of the Royal Military hospital”. (Page 220).

“The origin of the Goa Military Hospital medical garden dates form the very earliest days of the colony: Crown directives created a framework for its administration in 1520. a decade after the
Portuguese took this key port and established Goa as their capital, the hub for operations in all of Asia. According to the hospital’s official the hub for operations in all of Asia. According to the hospital’s officialregulations, it was the head pharmacists duty to oversee the cultivation, harvest, during and conservation of the medical plants, that grew in conturnos (in contours of and, or along the perimeter) around the Hospital grounds. 29. (HAG, Livros dos Moncos do Reino, 646, f. 39)”.
(Page 222).

On 13th of July, 2015, Mr. Ivar Fjeld provided this information to the ASI, including the map, and requested for a new examination of the site.

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About ivarfjeld

Born in Bergen, Norway in 1965
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