During our trip to Goa, India, we visited Old Goa, where all the churches are found. In this article, I am showing some of the pictures that we took along with historical information that I found as I was searching online.“Old Goa is a historical city in North Goa district in the Indian state of Goa. The city was constructed by the Bijapur Sultanate in the 15th century, and served as capital of Portuguese India from the 16th century until its abandonment in the 18th century due to a plague. It is said to have once been a city of nearly 200,000 where from, before the plague, the Portuguese traded across continents. The remains of the city are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Old Goa is approximately 10 kilometers east of the state capital Panjim. (Wikipedia, Old Goa)“
We rented motorbikes and drove from our hotel in Vainguinim Beach, Dona Paula to Old Goa. As Google maps calculated it, we drove around 17.5 km and by car it should have taken us 31 minutes. Yet, we were on our rented motorbikes, and we didn’t know where we are going. The road actually took us around an hour. We enjoyed the cruse along the Mandovi River, and we stopped to take some pictures on our way.
We were driving according to a map that I got for free from a gift shop, and to some photocopied notes from a book called India made by lonely planet. The photocopied notes were very helpful and they lead us to the churches we were looking for.
Before leaving Panjim, we passed by the church of the Lady of the immaculate conception. This church is very known and is still used on a daily basis to celebrate mass for prayer.
After visiting this church we set road on the highway to Old Goa, and we left Panjim.
The road was very nice, the highway overlooked the Mandovi River, which was nothing but pure nature, we drove slowely and enjoyed the scenery.
Saint Peter’s Church was one of the churches we found on our way. It wasn’t on my map, yet we stopped by and took some pictures.
As soon as we reached the church area, we could see Se Cathedral, St. Francis of Assisi and Bon Jesus Basilica for they are all huge cathedrals. All around the area were people selling random things, including food, juice, ice cream and souvenirs.
We started our trip by visiting Se Cathedral.
The Sé Catedral de Santa Catarina, known as Se Cathedral, is the cathedral of the Latin Rite Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Goa and Daman and the seat of the Patriarch of the East Indies. Located in Old Goa, India, the largest church in India is dedicated to Catherine of Alexandria. It is one of the oldest and most celebrated religious buildings in Goa and is one of the largest churches in Asia. (Wikipedia, Se Cathedral)
St. Cajetan Church, Old Goa: The St Cajetan Church is located in Old Goa. It is famous for the high vault on which are inscribed the words of Christ ‘My House Is a House of the Words of Christ”. St Cajetan, lies about half a km away to the north east of the Se Cathedral and close to the ruins of the Viceregal Palace. (Source: Maps of India)
The Basilica of Bom Jesus holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier. ‘Bom Jesus’ (literally, ‘Good (or Holy) Jesus’) is the name used for the Ecce Homo in the countries of Portuguese colonization. The Jesuit church is India’s first minor basilica, and is considered to be one of the best examples of baroque architecture in India. (Wikipedia, Basilica of Bon Jesus)
Church of St. Francis Of Assisi, Old Goa: The Portuguese built the Church of St. Francis of Assisi in 1661. This church lies on the western side of Se Cathedral, with the Palace of the Archbishop in-between. Laterite blocks were used in its construction that is lime-plastered. The convent, which is an annexure of the church, houses an archaeological museum. The statue of St. Francis of Assisi, made of wood, embellishes the pedestal that bears the emblem of Franciscans. A statue of Our Lady of Miracles, brought from Jaffna, Sri Lanka, adorns the facade. The statues of St. Peter, St. Michael and St. Paul are also seen here. Painted panels portraying the life of St. Francis of Assisi are retained on the adjoining walls.
A bit further from all the church assembly is the church of the lady of the rosary. Since it was one day before Good Friday, there were people inside the church praying, so we didn’t want to bother them and enter, we saw the church from the outside.
Lady Rosary Church: On the western side of the Holy Hill, called Monte Santo, lies the Church of Our Lady of Rosary. The church gives an excellent view of the Mandovi River and Divar Island. History evidences that in 1510, Alfonso de Albuquerque organized his army at this site and eventually became victorious. This church holds a high regard as St. Francis Xavier imparted his teachings here to the locals. The main altar has the image of the Lady of Rosary. (Source: Maps of India)
St. Augustine Tower: St. Augustine Tower is one of the spectacular monuments in Old Goa. Served as a belfry, this 46-meter-high four-storied magnificent tower forms part of the facade of the St. Augustine Church. It was built by the Augustinian friars in 1602. The church was built by 12 Augustine friars, the construction of which was finished in 1602. The church is in ruins today, with the bell tower being the only remains of the site. However, sometime between 1841 and 1871 the bell of the tower was removed and kept at Fort Aguada Light House. Later it was transferred to Panaji in the Lady of Immaculate Conception Church. (Source: Maps of India)
When we were visiting, there was a filming of a bollywood movie, I remain curious to see what movie it ended up being!
The best church that I saw during that day was the Church of Saint Cajetan, it’s not a very known church, yet it is very pretty. I also enjoyed looking at the grandiose Saint Augustine church ruins, and imagine how big it must have been before becoming ruins!
The day exhausting, we walked a lot, it was very hot and humid, we were dying from hunger and thirst, on our way back, we tried to stop at a restaurant to eat, yet it was around 3pm and all restaurants take a break at that time, so we found a small store, and bought some snacks and ate at the hotel.
That was a good long day… and as usual, we ended up at the beach at night, drinking beer!
What good is a vacation if it’s not celebrated with some alcohol!