Vaishnavipratima is as unusual a studio as its name. Just like its name, it stands for uniqueness, uniqueness in approach, uniqueness in designs and uniqueness in attitude.
This interiors studio opened its doors on the 14th of September in Soccoro, North Goa. Expansively created in a 90-year-old Portuguese Villa, the visuals take your breath away right from the entrance. As you move in, the individually designed pieces of art start talking to you. One biggest uniqueness about the store is that no two pieces are identical, Pratima has carefully chosen it to be this way. Unless placed on order, all her designs are individualistic in nature.
The store has both a mix of traditional and contemporary designs as well as ultra modern, chic and minimalistic designs. From bold chairs to rustic looking almirahs, sofa sets, lounge chairs, designer shelves, beds, colorful cushions, photo frames, paintings, artifacts, you name and its there. The huge villa has been beautifully designed with various sorts of art forming a cluster.
The first room of the villa showcases some beautifully designed and handcrafted furniture pieces. The color tones strike great contrast from subtle pastels to bold color pops, the area looks stunning with this combination of colors. This area showcases consoles, bookshelves, bar cabinets, wing chairs etc. and these all are made by Indian artisans.
Pop art dining couture and various artists’ works are on display in the second room. The third room comprises of an elaborate four-poster bed with cushions, throws, and rugs, giving it a very homely feel. There is also an open cafe area in the passage and back foyer of the villa and will soon serve exotic teas and bites.
This studio also houses some exquisite jewelry and designer apparel pieces; Chanderi Sarees designed by Prama and Pratima Pandey has designed the indo-western outfits and Bhavaa jewelry comprising of semiprecious gemstone collections. These have been introduced for the first time into the brand.
About the Brand
With its maiden store in Mumbai, Vaishnavipratima expanded its wings to Goa. Goa is the ideal choice as more and more people are investing in properties in Goa. And most of these properties are converted into villa homestays and resorts and thus the need for an exclusive interiors studio is obvious. Thus the brand opened up its second store in Goa with its signature collection and some add-ons like the jewelry and designer wear.
The Woman Behind the Brand
A self-made and self-taught interior designer, Vaishnavipratima started her passion by designing and redesigning her our house along with those of some close relatives and friends. In 2012, she thought of taking it up as a profession and started working on interior designing projects for other people’s home. The year 2016 saw her making it big by opening her first store in Mumbai. The store has a vast collection of home decor items that are customized and exclusively designed drawing inspiration from Pratima’s travel and aesthetic sense.
Normally, we don’t think of a lifestyle shop and food together, for most of us they are two different things and we have to go separately for eating and shopping, but If I tell you about Artjuna, it offers more than just food, its a perfect place to shop apparels, fashion accessories and even furniture, yes you read that right, Artjuna has all this and a lot more to offers its visitors.
Right from the entrance, the warm vibes engulf you, the place has such a colorful and vibrant feel to it that one can simply spend hours chilling there. I am sure once you step in, you make up your mind right then, that you don’t want to leave soon. It’s a place that holds your attention and keeps it intact until you leave and even after that. For me, Artjuna has been a wholesome experience. The Bohemian fashion apparel, accessories, and furniture is something that Moshes and his wife Anastasia, two passionate people who own the place, have collected over the years. Their love for art and classy things is evident in their collection. If you really take a closer look at the items on display, they give you a feel of a very personalized collection, it’s not that they have just picked up anything and everything to fill up the place, but its a very selective and tastefully placed collection.
An old Portuguese house that has been converted into this lifestyle shop and restaurant also houses a decent sized library for book lovers and also a place for yoga and recreation.
Coming to food, Artjuna takes great pride in not just saying but maintaining high-quality standards in all their food items. They strictly use fresh farm produce, seasonal vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, imported tahini and wild honey to prepare healthy meals. They serve Meditteranean, Israeli and Lebanese cuisines. This garden ambiance adds to the overall appeal of fresh serves and healthy food. Every juice that you order at Artjuna, is prepared right after you order, nothing is pre-prepared and kept and hence the freshness is always guaranteed.
I began my culinary experience by ordering a Watermelon Salad with Feta, as it has been one of my all-time favorite dishes and Artjuna totally lived up to my expectations. The best part was the Feta, it was perfectly balanced and not over salty as most of the places serve. To go along, I settled for the Energiser, a combination of beetroot, carrot, orange, ginger and some cinnamon which gave the kick to this fresh juice.
Followed this up with a Mazzet Plate, served with Pita Bread, this platter had a perfect selection of Meditteranean flavors, with a smooth tahini, greek kalamata olives, olive pate, feta cheese and mixed vegetable pickle. It makes for a really delightful dish and is surely a must try.
Baba Ganoush was another dish that I tried, flame roasted eggplants, creamed into a thick paste with tahini, and seasoned with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil, this makes for a flavourful dip to enjoy with pita and I loved it. The creaminess was almost mouth melting.
A chocolate fondant cake with vanilla ice cream and a chocolate eclair is what made for the amazing desserts. The cake was so soft and fresh, that the quality of the products used was once again brought to notice.
The place has its own charm and I insist on a visit at least once, the second time you would not require any conviction from my end :). The food, the ambiance, the warm people, the lifestyle shop, the books and a couple of dogs and cats will give you more than you need to enjoy a day out. Trust me on this one, not that you shouldn’t trust me on others ;), but do give it a try, it will be worth your while.
As far as I am concerned, I enjoyed myself thoroughly and look forward to visit the place soon again. Let me know what you think about it, have you visited it yet, or is it on your list now?
Fontainhas is an old Latin quarter at the Altinho foothills in Panjim. It’s one place in Goa where the Portuguese influence is still very evident, so much so that this is the only place in Goa which has Portuguese as the main spoken language.
The name ‘Fontainhas’ was derived from a natural spring, Fountain of Phoenix that sprouted in 1770 and is present to date. Fontainhas was founded in the late 18th century by a wealthy Portuguese named Antonio Joao de Sequeira. He used this land for coconut plantations. But, in the early 1800s, due to the spread of epidemic in the Old Goa, the Portuguese government headquarters was shifted to Panjim. As a result, this area was transformed into the residential area for Portuguese administrative officers and rulers. In 1984, UNESCO recognized Fontainhas as a Heritage Zone.
Narrow lanes, bright and vibrant houses, small cafes, old bakeries, art galleries and every nook and corner that tells an interesting Goan story are some of the characteristics of this amazing place. Even within the hustle bustle of Panjim city, Fontainhas has maintained its serenity and quaintness. All thanks to The Local Beat Goa, I recently enjoyed a heritage walk of mixed with lots of fun and facts about the place. After grabbing a refreshing glass of watermelon juice from the Mamaramma Cafe, just next to the St. Sebastian Chapel, we started off by driving through the uphill lanes of Altinho and the Maruti Temple became our first halt.
Coloured in bright hues of orange, a colour that represents the monkey god ‘Hanuman’, the structure of the temple is a perfect mix of modernity and ancient heritage. As I moved in, I came to know that the temple has two idols of lord Hanuman, and even without climbing up to the main temple, one can see the bigger idol through an opening in the lower floor wall. Well I bowed down my head in front of both, the main idol which is housed in a big hall looks majestic.
The prayer hall is huge and a big chandelier in the centre makes it look magnificent. There is a lot of open space around the main temple and the view from the top is breathtakingly beautiful. You can practically see the entire Fontainhas area from there and especially the spring.
We climbed down the stairs that lead to the Fontainhas spring. It is believed that there was a tunnel from the temple till that spring, which now stands closed, and the door was sealed with a cross. The two structures that line around the spring used to provide light in that tunnel, are mosque like structures and hence this place becomes a wonderful amalgamation of 3 religions.
From there on we strolled through the lanes of Fontainhas, visiting a few art galleries, which house some of the best art that leave you awestruck. Its so interesting to see these old world charm buildings, you know the windows in some of the old houses use shells in place of glasses, as glass wasn’t available back then. And trust me they look so amazing that given a chance I would want my windows to be made of sea shells.
We also visited one of the oldest bakery, named Confeitaria 31 De Janeiro, it still uses the old stone clay oven and bakes some amazing stuff. I tried the french rolls and it really took me back in time, normally don’t get that kind of taste anymore. They were so fresh and delicious. The name 31 De Janeiro holds a significance in history, Rua 31 de Janeira (31st January Road) is named after the day when Portugal got independence from Spain on January 31, 1640
From a light drizzle to thunder shower, monsoons made the walk even more interesting and beautiful. I also learnt that the houses in Fontainhas still need to get painted after every monsoon, it was a rule laid out in the Portuguese time but is followed till date. This keeps the beauty and vibrancy of this place in tact year after year. One of the historic houses that I came across had big well in front of it, though the well is not in function now, but the serenity and peace of the place is inexplainable. You can really spend some quiet time there breathing the natural and man made beauties together.
Another place where you can sit back, relax and enjoy some great coffee and snacks is the Bombay Coffee Roasters. The front wall of this cafe is quite a popular one with photographers. The mosaic is really worth a look and the place offers calm and comfortable interiors, has wi-fi and is ideal to spend some quality time alone and get some creative work done, or simply chill out with friends.
Talking about mosaic, its not just about the wall of Bombay Coffee Roasters, but this tile art is one of the most significant characteristics of Goa and especially the Fontainhas. Azulejo is the Portuguese name for these beautifully hand painted ceramic tiles. This art originated in the 15th century and travelled to India when the Portuguese settled in Goa. Though back then these Azulejos were imported from Portugal, and there were no Goan artists to do it, the art from literally died. It was brought back by a man named Orlando De Norohna, who had a 5 year degree in commercial art from Goa college of arts. He went to Lisbon to get himself skilled with guitar and came back with Azulejos. Since then the art has been fully revived and many students took interest in learning the same. Today Goa is the only state in India where these tiles are made. Take a walk around Goa and you will see these Azulejos as a part of its landscape. From name tiles to murals, each Azulejo tells a Goan story. Azulejos De Goa in Panjim, is one of the best shops to hunt for these stunning hand crafted tiles.
Moving on, we came to one of the major landmarks of this old quarter of Goa, the St Sebastian Chapel. It was also the point from where we started and the point where we concluded our lovely heritage walk. The Chapel of St Sebastian is a popular tourist attraction in Goa, built in 1818. This chapel is dedicated to St. Sebastian.In earlier days, when people were troubled with the disease of pests and plagues, they turned for help to St Sebastian who treated them through his mediation and miraculous interventions.
This whitewashed church has a striking crucifix which originally stood in the Palace of Inquisition in Old Goa. In the crucifix Christ’s eyes are opened. It’s a rather unusual sight to witness a crucifix with Christ’s head up and eyes open, it’s believed to be so in order to instil fear of god. The god is watching those who are troublemakers and they shall be punished for their sins. The Chapel also houses a statue of the Virgin Mary, two marquetry chests and three elaborately carved screens from a church in Diu, which once formed part of the colony of Goa.
This heritage walk of Fontainhas filled me with so much information and beauty, that the memories will last a lifetime. All I could do is capture it in my camera in order to cherish and relive these moments again and again. This is one thing that you should definitely not miss when in Goa
Goa has always been my most favourite place on this planet and it always will be. I have been to Goa so many times and yet I am always ready for my next visit. There is so much to Goa that however times you may visit, there is always something new to discover about it, and thats the best part. You cannot get tired of exploring Goa, and when you have experts who can guide you through the most unexplored parts of Goa, you simply can’t ask for more.
I am talking about Goa Unlimited, who can be your idle travel partners in Goa. Read the full story here