Although its architecture appears to be typically colonial, the Secretariat as it is known, is Panaji´s oldest surviving building, originally built by the Muslim ruler Yusuf Adil Shah of Bijapur around 1500.
It was actually Adil Shah´s summer palace cum fortress and formed an important part of his defense with an arsenal of 55 canons and a salt water moat.
But it was no match for the might of the Portuguese. Afonso de Albuquerque´s troops stormed the building in 1510. Soon afterwards it was converted into a rest house for the Portuguese Viceroys, who used it for an overnight stop, on their way to and from Portugal.
As per tradition, the new incoming Viceroy stayed here while awaiting the receipt of the ceremonial keys to the city of Old Goa at the Viceroy´s Arch. Similarly, the outgoing Viceroy had to wait here, for a ship going back to Portugal, after handing over his responsibility at Old Goa.
Around 1759, when Old Goa was no longer the preferred capital, the palace became the official residence of the Viceroy. It was known by then as the Idalcaon Palace, from the words Adil Khan, the Portuguese corruption of the words Adil Shah.
The Portuguese carried out quite a few demolitions and renovations changing the overall appearance of the building, which retained its official viceregal residence status until the Viceroys moved to a new residence at Cabo near Dona Paula in 1918.
Since the time of Goa´s liberation in 1961, the building served as the home of the Goan State Legislature or Assembly and was known as the Secretariat. However, with the construction of the new Assembly building in Porvorim across the Mandovi river, the Secretariat now houses the Administrative offices of the Government.
There are plans to move these offices also to a new building in Porvorim, near the new Assembly building and open the Secretariat to the general public as a Museum.
On either side of the Secretariat there is a statue depicting a famous Goan personality of the past. One statue is that of Dayanand Bandodkar, who was the first elected Chief Minister of liberated Goa. The second statue is that of Abbe Faria, one of Goa´s most famous sons of the Portuguese era, who did pioneering work in the field of hypnotism.