Goa is a celebration of Indo- Portugese cultures. Better known for it`s silvery ribbon beaches, and swaying, sun kissed palm fronds, Goa is the symbiosis of the East and the West. An integral part of India with a distinct Portugese flavour, Goa had a history all it`s own, till the Portugese captured it in 1510, and cast their magical spell on Goa and all things Goan. The interesting mix of influences is seen in Goan food, their music, lifestyle, culture, art and architecture.
The Basilica of Bom Jesus and the Se Cathedral need no introduction, but the lush Goan landscape is dotted with freshly whitewashed, lesser known, pristine churches. Join us on a journey through this forsaken Rome of the Orient........
Our Lady of Rosary
Cylindrical turrets attached to the fažade and the sides give this church a castle like appearance. It is one of the oldest churches of Goa, crowning an imposing hill in Velha
(old) Goa. It has a two-storeyed portico, and was built in 1544-1549. To the right of the main altar, lies a marble cenotaph, commemorating the marriage of Dona Catarina, solemnized by St. Francis Xavier. The foliage decorating the pillars reflects the regional art style, seen in temples. This votive chapel was built to fulfill a vow taken by Afonso de Albuquerque
The Reis Magos Church
A silent spectator on the banks of the gently flowing Mandovi, this church is one of the only three places in Goa, where the Feast of the Three Wise Men is held. Also known as the Church of the Three Magi Kings, it was built in AD 1555. It`s whitewashed gabled fažade, was once a Franciscan seminary, dedicated to St. Jerome. Some believe, this church was built on the ruins of a Hindu temple. In January, every year, the Festa dos Reis Magos is celebrated with great pomp and gusto, to commemorate the journey of the three kings.
Church of Mae de Dens ( Mother of God)
Nestled in the picturesque landscape of Bardez, at Saligao, stands the Church of Mae de Dens. The statue after whom this church was named, was known to possess miraculous powers. A fine reflection of Gothic architecture,
The Church of St. Anne
Standing silently on the banks of the Siridao river, in Talaulin, this church is popularly referred to as Santana by the people. It is dedicated to the Mother of Mary, and unmarried youngsters are known to have their wishes granted at this church. The architecture is a medley of European style and regional flavour.
St. Francis of Assisi, Velha Goa
Located to the west of Se Cathedral, is the Convent of St. Francis of Assisi, built in 1517. Built first as a chapel, it was later transformed into a church in 1521. Built in the Tuscan style, the interior of the church is decorated with murals and floral artistry. It was converted into a museum in 1964.
Mary of Immaculate Conception Church
One of the oldest churches built in Goa, its main altar is simplicity personified. It is offset by two flanking altars, heavily gilded and deeply carved in an ornamental style. On the sides stand two immaculate marble statues of St. Peter and St. Paul. The statue of St. Francis Xavier stands encased in sheer glass.
The temples and churches, stand in silent testimony to the history of Goa. It is believed that several churches were built on the very sites of former temples. The architecture that has emerged is an eclectic mix, of rich Gothic, ornamental baroque and regional temple architecture. The peal of church bells, amidst temple processions. Churches with Hindu touches and Goan temples with Christian artefacts. Anything goes, after all, it`s Goa!