DIAS – FROM AGGRESSION TO RECREATION: Very few amongst us are aware that the original name of Miramar
beach was “Potta de Gaspar Dias”. And still fewer know about the existence
of a now extinct fort, which played
a major role during the initial part of the Portuguese regime. The canon, found
near Dempo college, and presently displayed at the rotunda at Miramar, is the
only vestige of its existence, in its original place.
BRIEF HISTORY: Five centuries ago, when the tentacles of
the Portuguese Empire, touched the shore of Kerala, it was an accepted fact in
their endeavor, they consolidated themselves on the western coast, with Goa as
their entreport, and by wrenching the power from the Adilshah of Bijapur. They
lent a helping hand to the various religious orders to erect imposing churches
& convents in the city of Old Goa, the then hub of activity and the capital
city of the Adilshahi empire.
Simultaneously they tried to secure the city of Goa by fortifying it all around,
to avoid the impending dangers from the neighboring province, as well as the
threat from the enemy ships.
The only defense, then erected on river
Mandovi, was the fortress of Reis Magos, which was called FORTE REAL (Royal
Fortress). This fort was constructed by Viceroy Dom Afonso de Noronha in
1551-54. The month of the river was very narrow, and the present width is the
consequence of erosion and the sand bars.
Panaji or Panjim, as it was then called, was
an extensionof the village of
Taleigao. This area was full of sand dunes and marshy saline sand and had a
number of rivulets giving it an appearance of a cluster of islands (TISAWADI –
thirty divisions). Sparsely inhabited, the only significant building was the
Palacio of Adilshah, which was used by the Portuguese to keep vigil on the
river. Facing a probable threat by the Dutch Fleet, the king of Portugal
instructed the Viceroy to fortify the city Goa. It was these directions, that
lead to the construction of the FORT GASPAR DIAS.
HISTORY OF FORT GASPAR DIAS: It was
in 1598, during the Governship of Viceroy Dom Francisco de Gama,
Count of Vidigueira and the great grandson of Vasco da Gama, that
the wheels of construction of the fort began. On completion of the
Fort, it was named “FORTE DA PONTE DE GASPAR DIAS”, AFTER THE
NAME OF THE BEACH Gaspar Dias. Since there are no structural
remains of the fort today, it is surmised that the fort lay at the
present roundabout at Miramar, at an area called “PIRDOOC”,
and towards the northern wall of the present Clube Tennis De
Gaspar Dias compound. It may be imagined that the fort spread from
there to the present residence of Damodar Mangalji and may have
extended up to the road junction near the Agricultural Office,
Tonca past the M.S. College of Law.
DOWNFALL OF FORT GASPAR DIAS:The constant threat of an attack by Sambhji,
in 1683, shifted the attention of the Portuguese towards the protection of the
mainland areas. It was mooted to shift the capital to Marmugao. It was this
strain, that prompted Marques de Pombai, to order Governor Filpe de Valadares
Souto Mayor in 1774, to demolish the Fort Gaspar Dias. For some reason it was
not demolished. On 6th September 1799, a fleet of 6 English Ships
disembarked at Aguada and occupied the Fortresses Aguada, Gaspar Dias, Cabo and
Mormugao for almost 15 years up to 1814. When they left, they had done
considerable damage to these Forts.
On 10th February 1835, during
the Civil War days of Prefecture, the First Regiment of Infantry and the
Artillery Battalion which was stationed in Panjim, made counter revolutionary
movement. This rebellion was quashed and the Fortress put to flames. Seven years
later, the Fortress was restored and partly reconstructed in 1842.
A committee created by an Order dated 4th February 1869, suggested that the Gaspar Dias Fort was not of battle use and
that the same could be converted into sanitary quarters for convalescing
military personnel. And so served as a sanitarium in 1878.
Later not much is known about Fort Gaspar
Dias and so it crumbled with neglect and was ultimately razed to the ground to
make way for development works for the road to Dona Paula.
According to Jeronymo Osorio do Castro, at
the beginning of the century, this area served as a burial ground for Hindus and
Muslims, and a place for the city’s garbage!!.
FORMATION OF CLUBE TENNIS
DE GASPAR DIAS: The original name of the beautiful beach was
Praia de Gaspar Dias. It got attached this name of Miramar (Miragem de Mar –
Mirage of the Sea), by virtue of an existing hotel by the name HOTEL MIRAMAR
built by Luciano Roncon, who had in this hotel a half for Ball Room Dancing.
This attracted the young and old as a place for merrymaking.
With the major hub of activity now shifting
to Panjim,, there was a felt a need by certain quarters of the Fidalgos for some
entertainment and for a place to relax, in the evenings. Since this area near
Prai Gaspar Dias was reclusive from the main city. In the year 1921, some like
minded gentlemen took the initiative and met to lay a foundation of a Clubhouse
at Gaspar Dias. Finally, on 25th April 1926, a shack constructed of
local materials like bamboo mats etc. was put up. This modest clubhouse was then
named “Clube Gaspar Dias:, obviously the same was located on Gaspar Dias
Beach. Thus came to birth premier Clubhouse in Goa, built with the sole
intention of providing a place Panaji and surrounding areas.
The land for the Clube de Gaspar Dias was
generously gifted by the Joint Family of CAMOTIM MAMAI, when Shri Subraia P.C.
Mamai was the Head of the family. The main activities of the Club were Card
games such as Poker, Sol, Bridge, Canasta or Board games such as Draught or
Chess. With the men engrossed in their games or in conference, the accompanying
ladies busied them themselves in embroidery or in conversation, whilst serving
home made appetizers.
During the summer season, many amateur
musical groups made their appearance and enthralled the crowds that gathered
during the weekends. With the growing popularity of this place, a need for
privacy arose. With this in mind, a few years later a wooden structure was built
to offer exclusivity to it’s members frequenting the clubhouse.
Governor Massano de Amorim patronized this
Club frequently on many an occasion. There were many such dignitaries to whom
the Club has played Host.
In 1934, Mrs. Josephine Hogaz, an American
Industrial Magnate, introduced the game of Tennis in Goa. She also provided the
finance for the making of the first tennis court in the Club premises. This game
became very popular with its members. When in 30’s, along with many other
recreational facilities, another Tennis court was built, and the game of tennis
became the main game of the members. The Club then inherited the name of “CLUBE
TENNIS DE GASPAR DIAS”.
Though sadly, the name of the first
President is not available, during 1974, under the Presidentship of Oliviera
Chavas, who was the Director of Post & Telegraphs, the activities of the
Club became more organized. The Bye-Laws were suitably drafted and approved by
the Order (Portaria) No. 609 of 2nd January 1948 and published in the
The Golden age of the Club came in 1950,
when Sridora Caculo, an affluent businessman was approached and agreed to
construct a full fledged Clubhouse,
and also partially funded the costs.
The Casa Social de Camotim Mamai, further
donated additional land, making the total area of the Club to approx 12,000
sq.mtrs. The present premises of the Club, housing the indoor Badminton Court is
a mute testimony of the initiative taken then. From then on, the Club witnessed
an upsurge of activities from sports to educational, and which are still on the
main agenda of the Club.
It is important to note here that at the
time of liberation of Goa in 1961, there were just 11 members on the Rolls of
CLUBE TENNIS DE GASPAR DIAS. They being Shri. Vaicuntrao Dempo, Shri Anselmo
Rodrigues, Shri Robert Hepp, Shri Nathurmal Melwaqni (Treasurer, Shri.M.M.
Desouza, Shri Mickey Desouza (Secretary) and Shri Jorge Renato Fernanades. They
may be considered as the lifeline of the Club, in carrying its tradition from
the Portuguese regime to a free Goa. After liberation, the revised bye-laws of
the Club were finalized in August 1966 and a notification to this effect was
published in the Government Gazette dated 8th September 1966. In
keeping with the rules of the land, the Club was later registered under the
Societies Registration Act 1860.
The Clubhouse is situated at a prime
location, on Goa’s most attractive Miramar Beach, which has the honour of
having a mausoleum of the First Administrative Governor of Goa as also of the
First Chief Minister of Goa. A few enterprising members in 1993 namely Mr. Sunil
Naik, Arch. Pradip Bhandare, Mr.Vilas Bhangui and others, under the guidance of
its then President Mr.Dinkar Bhobe, took the bold step to upgrade the existing
facilities of the Club. They took up the ambitious project of constructing a
futuristic and an exclusive building for the Clubhouse at a staggering cost of
Rs. 1.5 crores.
The Club received the blessing of Late Shri
Vasudeva V. Dempo, Chairman of the Dempo Group of Companies and the able
assistance from all its Committees & active members. Today the CLUBE TENNIS
DE GASPAR DIAS boasts of an impressive and magnificent Club house, second to
none in Goa.
are areas earmarked for different indoor games (Cards, Table Tennis, Billiards,
Snooker etc.) outdoor sports (Tennis, Badminton, Swimming Pool, etc.) a children’s
room, a library and other literary activities. The Phase II shall see completion
of 18 well furnished rooms and a swimming pool. Phase II shall portray this
Association as an envious project, on par with such allied elite Clubs in India
and aboard with luxury facilities such as Steam/Sauna/Jacuzzi etc. Arrangements
are also made to provide its members with dining and drinking facilities with
the uppermost floor of the complex housing the proposed air-conditioned
Restaurant & Bar.
With 75 years of glorious history of
promotion of wholesome family entertainment, playing hosts to some elite
dignitaries & sportsmen of different bygone eras, and now being consolidated
as a full fledged sports consortium, the CLUBE TENNIS DE GASPAR DIAS is on the
threshold of carving for itself a name on the allied sports & entertainment
scenario around the globe.
above commentary is excerpted by Mr. Sanjeev V. Sardessai, on
occasion of the 75th Anniversary of Clube Tennis De
Gaspar Dias, from the researched article. “The extinct Fortress
of Gaspar Dias” by Dr. P.P. Shirodkar in Purabhilekh Puratatva,
the bi-annual magazine of the Dir. of Archives and from the
articles in the Info-Mate, the in-house magazine of Clube Tennis
de Gaspar Dias.)
can take advantage of our affiliations with
other Clubs on reprocation basis.
are requested to patronize the Club's Gym cum
Fitness Centre, Bar and Restaurant and take
advantage of the inhouse recreation facilities
Billiards / Pool, Carrom, Table Tennis,
Badminton and Tennis.
details are subject to change, please contact
office for current updated details.
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