Visit the OLD GOAN CHARM!
Bound by beauty and history, the erstwhile Goan capital of Old Goa has a true splendor of erstwhile colonial Portuguese charm that sets it apart from the other touristy beaches and attractions of Goa. Also called as Velha Goa in Portuguese was mainly deveoped by the Bijapur Sultanate. If you are someone who prefers to explore the old worlds historically prominent places – then you should head towards old Goa.
The current capital Panaji and old Goa are separated by a few kilometers alongside a scenic drive the lifeline Mandovi River. Old Goa initially served as the administrative headquarters until it was abandoned after a deadly plague broke out.
To explore the old Goa’s charm – I first headed towards perhaps one of Goa’s most famous church and among the most revered by Christians worldwide – The Bom Jesus Basilica, which has the tomb and mortal remains of St Francis Xavier one of the revered saints. The church is called “Bom Jesus” meaning ‘good Jesus’ / ‘infant Jesus’ to whom it is dedicated.
At a distance of about 10 kilometres east of Panaji, the Bom Jesus Basilica although partially in ruins is a World Heritage Monument and is still a fine example of Jesuit architecture.
As you enter the calm interiors – the eyes ponder over the architecture that’s been restored and what stands out is a carved creation projecting on the southern wall – a profusely carved wooden pulpit with a canopy on top. The pulpit has on its three sides the figures of Jesus, the four evangelists and four doctors of the church. The bottom of the pulpit depicts seven figures as though supporting it.
(The pulpit as described by lonely planet)
The Se Cathedral, dedicated to St. Cathedral is located just opposite to the Basilica of Bom Jesus and is marked mainly for the plainness of its style and architecture. If you look at the structure closely, one of the towers (located to the southern side) is missing that apparently got damaged in 1776 and never got built again. The facade with just one tower gives the structure its unique look.
Another gem from old Goa is now under the Government of India’s Archaeological Survey of India, attracting large number of tourists on and off seasons.
As the former Portuguese colonial capital, Old Goa formulates as a historic city with the old charm of Goan-Portuguese form of life seems to come alive with this one.
As we moved further , we came across this splendid monument just across the circle. I was informed that this was the Church of Our Lady the Immaculate Conception.
Built in 1541 and known as one of the earliest built churches in Goa, This church was completely re-built from its foundations in 1619.
The interior of the church is relatively simple by the standards of the time and is still used for Sunday worship and is always abuzz with crowds on the adjacent street known to house some of the best shopping complexes.
Ah, you visit Goa and not visit the beach side ? I did too.. but I preferred the lesser known , calmer, cleaner part for this too.
The Cabo de Rama Fort has one of the best picturesque views of the ocean and is roughly at a distance of 30 kms from Margao. said to have been built by Hindu rulers and named after the Hindu god Rama- It is said that Lord Rama, stayed here with his wife during their 14 years of exile, which in later part of history the fort also served as a prison for political prisoners during the Portuguese rule.
Nothing can be more fulfilling than traveling to the land of beach, sun and historic churches!
So Go Goa !
P.S. I am presenting here my understanding and perspective in a condensed format to keep the blog short and interesting.
You could comment below if you wish to know more in detail about any specific portion of the story/ photographs mentioned.