January 10, 2013

Old Goa- Of Cathedrals, Churches, Chapels and Convents...!!



It was a lovely morning ride on my hired Royal enfield all the way from Anjuna to Velha Goa. Velha Goa!! That is the Portuguese translation for Old Goa. In fact the name Velha Goa is quite commonly used by people of that region. From Panjim, along with the enfield I had River Mandovi for companionship through the villages of Ribander till I reached the UNESCO world heritage site of Old Goa. As I rode from Panaji, the landscape, houses, people and everything changed. Even though it was crowded, the place with numerous Cathedrals, Churches, Chapels and Convents still holds an old world charm. The prominence of Christianity cannot be ignored in this part of the world.

Built by the Bijapur Sultans in the 15th century, the city was evangelised from the 16th to the 18th century by the Portuguese before abandoning it in the 18th century after it was hit by a plague. The beautiful structures have intricate carvings both on the outside and inside. 

Basilica De Bom Jesus with its imposing facade and baroque architecture stands tall and was the first one that I visited. The Basilica looked quite different from others with   respect to its dark colour and size. Though it might seem dilapidated at the first look, the Basilica with its reddish brown colour, ornamented pillars and magnificent carvings stands rock solid even after 400 years. Dedicated to infant Jesus, this grand structure also rests the mortal remains of St.Francis Xavier which is taken out for public viewing once in ten years. The interiors of the basilica has a lot of art work, murals and numerous altars which captivate every visitor.


Basilica de Bom Jesus





Remains of St.Francis Xavier




As I came out of the Basilica, a few meters away stood the white coloured Se Cathedral of Santa Catarina. Dedicated to the Catherine of Alexandria, it was once considered the largest cathedral in Asia. Built in Portuguese architecture, it was constructed to portray the power and fame of the Portuguese. The cathedral also houses many altars, paintings and a large bell known as the Golden bell.

Se Cathedral of Santa Catarina





From Se Cathedral I moved to Church of St.Francis of Assisi which also has baroque style architecture with beautiful frescoes on the walls and ceilings. The church also houses some brilliant 17th century wall paintings. Next to it lies an archaeological museum which displays ancient statues and portraits.

Church of St.Francis of Assisi




Half a kilometer away lies the beautiful Viceroy's Arch next to Mandovi quay. The arch built in 16th centuy must have been witness to thousands of people landing on the goan shores.

Viceroy's Arch
Near to the arch lies the Gateway of the palace of Adil Shah. Built before the arrival of the Portuguese, it is only the gateway that survives now.


Gateway of the Palace of Adil Shah
From the gateway I walked towards the immaculate looking Church of St.Cajetan. It is built in Corinthian architectural style using laterite blocks with two towers on either side of the main dome. The interiors of the church  look neat and its altar is one of the most beautiful ones I have ever seen.

Church of St.Cajetan


The beautiful altar



I walked further towards the de Bom Jesus Basilica and from nowhere appeared the Chapel of St.Catherine which looked abandoned and dilapidated. It was built by Alfonso de Albuquerque in early 16th century when he took over the possession of Goan territory.

Chapel of St. Catherine

In a different direction but not far away from de Bom Jesus lies the Towers of St.Augustine church. Built in the early 16th century this church was over a period of time abandoned and neglected which led to the fall of the vault and the body of the church in mid 19th century. By the mid 20th century every part of the church collapsed except for one of the four towers that existed. Now this single tower is the only remnant left.

Tower of St.Augustine church

Next to the Augustine tower lies the Convent of Santa Monica and a christian museum which definitely is worth a visit.
Convent of Santa Monica
A few meters away from Santa Monica and Augustine tower is the Church of Our Lady of Rosary. Built in the 16th century it has a mix of renaissance and gothic architecture. The view of the Mandovi river from the church is spectacular.


Chuch of our Lady of rosary


There are many more churches, structures and museums to excite any traveller in Old Goa which have not been mentioned here. The above list shows the most well known and frequently visited locations in Old Goa.

Signing Note- Velha Goa is the true portrayal of real Goa...!!

Route- Panaji- Ribander- Old Goa

Distance- 12 Kms

56 comments:

  1. Beautiful!!!Its been years since I went to goa, and even then, was sick for most of the trip! we still went to many places though, and all I remember are these beautiful churches and cathedrals. wasnt writing a blog then, though and didnt even click photos. would love to go again someday!

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    1. Thanks Anu. Old Goa is definitely a must visit.

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  2. Wow! Wonderful tour!
    Please protect your pictures.

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  3. A wonderful post! Thank you Niranjan:)

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  4. Beautiful tour. It is a long time since I had been here. This inspires me to take one more trip.

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  5. One of the most beautiful posts i have seen recently. thanks for sharing.

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  6. Fabulous. We missed so much of this when we went.

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    1. Thank you. You can always visit it again.

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  7. Lovely series of magnificent monuments from splendid Goa !

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  8. Hi RN,

    Superb pictures, thanks for sharing. I've always wanted to visit this place, however, due to lack of co-ordination and time, the plan couldn't materialize. I guess the time has come to pay this place a visit :)

    Regards

    Jay
    My Blog | My FB Page

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. The pleasure is all mine. Head there soon.

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  9. Beautiful! I love everything about Goa. My Favorite!

    Pixellicious Photos

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  10. nice pictures and descriptions, plz add details to all your pictures.

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  11. Wow! This must be from the New Year trip, alle? A really well put together post. On one of my trips to Goa, our guide told us -- In Goa, if you throw a stone into the air, it either falls on a pig or a church. :)
    The churches are a so much a big part of Goa, right. Thank you for the little history. :)

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    1. Thanks a lot Divya. This visit was during my visit in October. Once you are in Old Goa, where ever you turn to you end up looking at a church. :)

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  12. Beautiful pics and post... I have been to Goa numerous times but have not seen these churches till date... Guess need to go to Goa again :)

    Snigdha
    www.getsetandgo.wordpress.com

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    1. Thank you. The churches of Goa are a must visit.

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  13. Hey Niranjan, You kindled my nostalgic Memories. Old Goa is always my favourite place which is rich in heritage. Thanks for sharing

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  14. hi..came across your blog...nice documtatn..I wonder if you knw that the Church of St.Cajetan alter is standing over a huge well ...i.e. under the alter table there is this lid tht one can see the roof light reflected in it :))..do check it out on your next visit...happy blogging :)

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    1. Thanks for dropping by. Never knew about this little secret. Must check out on y next visit to the church. Thanks for sharing this.

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  15. I wonder if the guide is a guide for real???Fact is that Goa has Max. mumber of temples and not churches :) :D ...one can find max number of churches only in the Tiswadi,Bardez and Salcette taluka(on the coast)..(portuguese conquest was in these 3 talukas) :) ...and Ponda Taluka has the max temples...reason:during the conquest the deities wer shftd from the coast to the hinderland :))))...The portuguese didnot know about the geographic location so the temples were safe in Ponda...:)) ...n about the pigs i wonder where he had been :))...surely in the pig sty :P...M an architecture student and have studied about the local architecture and culture and the rest of the country too :))))...so if you happen to visit again...will actually show real Goa ..happy blogging..

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  16. These are awesome infos. Thanks a lot for sharing them. Would love to see the real Goa next time am there. You seem to have researched and studied a lot about Goa.

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  17. Told you m an architecture student :))..have to study it..it not book study but more of site study...visitng places,speaking to people,etc :)) ... I have traveld the entire county leaving the south east India :((...

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  18. Woww!! You should have a lot of stories to tell. Keep travelling. Btw, South east or North east?

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  19. Actually KA and KL is inluded to the list above :( ..been 2 few places in KL & KA :(..i knw it does not fit in South east term...

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    1. Hmm.. Keep exploring! Where you headed to next?

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  20. Beautiful churches. I've been to some of them back in '95 as part of my school trip. Time to re-visit them and refresh my memories. Thanks for the compilation.

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  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  22. contents are really good.thanks for sharing.
    Thanks for sharing. from - chennaiflowers.com

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  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  24. Very nice photos collection of Basilica de Bom Jesus.


    Rajani, Can I share this on my facebook page... ?

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    1. Thank you. Yes, you may share the link on your facebook page.

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  25. Last weekend we visited all these places .... :)

    Beautiful pictures and charming old goa :)

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    1. Thank you. Hope you had a lovely time.

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  26. Thanks for sharing with us useful article..

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