Goa is often renowned for its wonderful beaches, but apart from beaches what fascinated me the most is the monuments listed in World Heritage Sites “The churches and convents of old Goa”. A visit to Goa is never complete without visiting churches and chapels in old Goa. The monuments are situated in Old Goa also called Velha, a historical city in the North Goa District. Old Goa was the capital of the Portuguese Indies from 1565 to 1760 until they abandoned it due to outbreak of a deadly disease. Old Goa which is now scarcely inhabited is an archaeological site. All these churches and chapels are just close to one another and can be covered on foot. The entry to all the monuments is free; a nominal entry fee is taken at the museum.
Before we explore the wonderful monuments of Goa, I would like to share my experience in the state. Well Goa is a wonderful state, which can be visited any time in the year, though winters are preferred. We visited the state in our extended holiday weekend in October 2014. Well make sure that you book your stay a lot early if you are visiting the state during national holidays, as we had a difficult time in finding a reasonable stay, and finally we had to take the help of a travel agent. Also we could not arrange any vehicle for our first day tour , we were too late to book a two wheeler, as all of them , who had association with our hotel were already booked, so we had to take local ride in a state transport bus, it was not bad though and economical too
And yes, since we could not find an accommodation in North Goa, we had to stay in peaceful and serene south Goa, which is quite different from vibrant and bustling North Goa. So we took a bus from South Goa Margoa, to Panjim in North Goa, and then an auto from Panjim to Churches and Convent site. The very first view of the site was awesome “ This is beautiful” was my first statement as I entered from the gate.
The site is really wonderful and the architectures of all the monuments are mesmerizing. Some of the monuments at the site are St. Catherine’s Chapel, Church and Convent of Francis of Assisi, Basilica of Bom Jesus, Church of Saint Cajetan, Church of Our Lady of the Rosary and St. Augustine Tower.
Se Cathedral and Basilica of Bom Jesus are situated on either side of the main road. Basilica of Bom Jesus holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier. Bom Jesus is said to be one of the grandest Churches to be raised in Asia, It is made of Black granite with elaborate façade and highly decorated ceiling. Se Cathedral, It is one of the oldest and most celebrated religious buildings in Goa and is one of the largest churches in Asia .It is dedicated to Catherine of Alexandria.
These monuments illustrate the work of Christian missionaries in Asia. They have exerted great influence in the development of architecture, scripture and painting during 16-18 century. These churches have marvellous interiors and beautiful wall paintings and wood carvings.
This is definitely not a site to be missed when you are in Goa