Let’s go back a few years – may be even decades, for some of us – to the first chapter of Indian social science – which if you might remember, begins at Goa, when Vasco da Gama first discovered India and put it on the world map for all to see. Portuguese as he was, Goa, to this day has traces of that culture due to the Portuguese influence that it has seen over the years. One of the starkest proofs of that is the number of historical churches that cluster the tiny state.
The most legendary, possibly, of them is Bom Jesus Basilica, built in 1605, which is known for housing the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, the patron saint of Goa. Known of for its classic baroque architecture and architectural pieces in gold, wood, stone and granite, this church sees many a faithful every year, especially when St. Francis’ body is brought out for display in its silver casket, every ten years.
Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception is perhaps the most legendary landmark of the state. At 450 years old, this church stands tall, for not only is it beautifully is it preserved and maintained. The bell of the church is the second largest in the world.
The Church of St. Francis of Assisi is beautifully old school with paintings depicting St. Francis’ life adorning the church walls. It is so quaint that you’ll be able to hear your thoughts in absolute clarity. The adjoining seminary now houses the painting that once stood preserved in the Panaji Secretariat.
The Se Cathedral is the Taj Mahal of churches, in construction time, if not anything else. It took a staggering 80 years to build. Dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria, its Golden Bell, when rung, can be heard all across Goa. This church, located in Old Goa, boasts of 14 beautifully carved and beautifully preserved altars.
Driving away from the Portuguese influence on architecture is the Church of St. Catejan, strikingly similar to St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, due to its notable Italian and Roman architectural influences. As is with the others, this one too has stood the test of time when it comes to preservation.
Most of us know of and talk only churches when it comes to Goa. But the Shri Manguesh Shantadurgai Prasanna Temple is as much a landmark as any of the churches. Every year, it sees flocks of devotees arriving in time of Shivratri which is when an elaborate fair is organized too.
Dhiraj – has written 36 posts on this site.
Dhiraj is currently working at a Social Media Consultancy and has keen interest in Digital Marketing.