By : Isidore Domnick Mendis
Unlike the hustle and bustle engulfing other coastal villages of Goa, Velsao-Pale in Mormugao taluka, comprising seven wards, is pacific in nature. Neither are its white-sand beaches nor the other places of its countryside crowded with tourists.
According to the 2011 census, Velsao has a population of 1,520 persons and Palehas 1,990 persons, respectively. The vadde (traditional wards) include Primeiro, Razvoi, Falvaddo, Igorje vaddo, Pale, Belem, eastern side of the railway line, western side of railway line, Dando, Fabrica, etc. Villagers say that Velsao means ‘a place to rest’. The etymology is derived from the word Vel (time), sa=sartam (pass) and ao=aum (self). Velsao is part of the Velsao-Pale-Issorcim panchayat.
“Many famous luminaries come from Velsao- Pale,” says Tito Brito, a resident of Pale, whose grandfather colonel Maria Souza Brito, a senior Portuguese official in the government, was involved in the survey for laying down of the railway line from Mormugao harbour to Colem.
“In every generation, Barreto family members, especially priests and bishops hailing from the majestic house, have contributed in propagating Goa’s name worldwide,” says Orlando Barreto, who resides in the Barreto mansion.
Assumption of Our Lady Church
Constructed in 1635, the parish church in Velsao celebrates the principal feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary for three days – August 13 to August 15
St Stephen/St Estevam chapel
Older than the parish church, it was built before 1635 and it appears in ‘Xaxticheo Igorzo,’ a book written by the Jesuit priest Fr Moreno de Souza
Lord Krishna Temple
Situated at Belem vaddo, the 75-year-old temple, whose patron is the central figure of the Bhagawad Gita, is another important place of worship
Infant Jesus Academy
The only secondary school in the village, which was established in 1980, caters to more than 350 students and is run by the Velsao Pale Education Society
“It was a title given to five families in Goa. These families were from Utorda, Goa Velha, Nagoa, Velsao and Pomburpa,” says electronics engineer Savio Sequeira, a resident of the eastern side of the railway line and great grandson of Antonio Jervis de Sequeira, a noted resident of the village
This modernized football ground in the village was the pride of its residents, but, now it is in dire need of regular maintenance and care. The ground has become completely barren, even the paint has peeled off the goalpost
Jose Michael Barreto (1694-1770) was a noted intellectual
Francis Xavier Peregrino Barreto (1751-1820) served as Conego (below the post of bishop) in Panjim
Antonio Jervis de Sequeira (May 25, 1843-August 4, 1906) was a member of the Geographical Society and had the biggest library in Goa
Monsignor Tomas de Aquino do Rosario Barreto (1870-1961) was vicar-general and vicar capitulor, and served as bishop
Late Carlo Nazaro Dias was under secretary (Home dept) in Maharashtra
Cardinal Ivan Dias (April 14, 1936) is former archbishop of Bombay
Alwyn Barreto is the first bishop of the diocese of Sindhudurg, Maharashtra
Joaquim Pirmo D’Souza was a former senior engineer in the PWD
Melba Souza was manager and ex-headmistress of Infant Jesus Academy
Mario do Ceu Carvalho – a retired teacher, is now, actively involved in fermentation of wines
Ivor Antonio Barreto, senior government official
Velsao, bathed by the waters of the Arabian Sea and beautified with coconut palms all around, is a paradise of tranquility and peace. There is no problem of law and order. People of Velsao and Pale are proud of their land, its thriving natural beauty and the heritage of grandeur- Thomas Gomes | social worker, Konkani writer, resident
The villages of Velsao-Pale are a perfect example of religious harmony. Both Hindus and Catholics participate in each other’s festivities; be it the palki (palanquin) procession during Diwali or church or chapel feasts-Ram Chandra Naik | resident & activist