Bicholim, Goa, India
Equipment and Infrastructures
The town of Bicholim is located northeast of Panaji along the Valvota River, a tributary of the Mandovi. This dry region is marked by extensive uncultivated areas with few trees, though there are some small areas of cashew groves. It is one of the most expressive cores of Muslim population in the context of Goan territory. The old Namazgah Mosque stands on a hill overlooking Bicholim and is the major symbol of that community. The court is located on General Craveiro Lopes Square, with its main façade facing the road linking Mapusa to Sanquelim, seat of the former district, a status later assumed by Bicholim. The Bicholim court functioned in the garrison quarters until its own building was ready in 1941, although the work was only officially completed a year later, with arrangement of exterior spaces and construction of the enclosure. The work was done by the builder Pedro Cipriano de Souza from Mercês village on Goa Island, according to a plaque on the site. The building has one floor slightly raised above street level and originally had a U form. The façade has a veranda with colonnade and is symmetrical with respect to the portico marking the Court entrance. The original volume was also symmetrical, but not the interior division. The side entrances are at the ends of a corridor that runs the length of the building and accesses the audience chamber in the centre of the building, which also opens to the veranda. The back has several additions, the first of which probably dates to the early 1950s and the last to 2003. The metal grille closing the veranda was certainly put in place after the original construction. The Court building was presumably part of an effort to reorganise Bicholim’s urban grid around the old Largo dos Quartéis, which since 1935 has been called General Craveiro Lopes Square. The town originally developed slightly to the south.