Heritage in Goa

When you think of Goa, what comes to your mind - beaches? booze? Yeah, its the Las Vegas of India. What happens in Goa, stays in Goa. But then did you know Goa has a UNESCO World Heritage Site too? Yes, Goa also has a lot to offer a heritage enthusiast as well!
Pic Courtesy: Jupitus Smart via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0

1. Churches and Convents of Old Goa: Well, India was majorly a colony of British. but there were some sockets of India which were under French, Danish, Dutch and Portuguese. Infact, colonization in India began with Portuguese when Vasco Da Gama reached Kerala and got mesmerized by pepper and wanted to take it all with him without paying customs duty! Well, as colonization began, Goa was the capital of Portugal India and Old Goa stands till date as a reminiscent of the Portugal India! 
They built several churches and convents here. This site being a standing symbol of an important phase of history, is today, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The most important of all the Chuches & Convents is ofcourse the Bom Jesus Basilica which has the remains of St.Francis Xavier. 
Pic Courtesy: Aruna Radhakrishnan from Irinjalakuda, India via Wikimedia Commons CC BY 2.0

While this is the most important, the oldest Portuguese Church that still stands here is Church of our lady of Rosary built in 1543 (this is not the oldest church in India though. Christianity flourished in India much before colonization!).  
Another important church is the Church of St.Francis of Assisi. The current structure was built in 1661 and the altarpiece is a masterpiece of 1670. The entire interiors is filled with several frescoes painted around the same time. While all these churches are still in function, there are some which have lost the race too! The ruins of St.Augustine's church also makes into this list. This convent & church was built in 1597 and by 1946, the entire church including the facade crumbled down. However its tower still stands majestic
Pic Courtesy: Kavya Rastogi via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0

2. Caves of Goa: Buddhism flourished in this region majorly under Emperor Ashoka and the fabulous caves of Ajanta and Ellora were excavated and painted. Goa too has quite a few smaller caves too some Buddhist & some Hindu. One of it is Arvalem Caves. Its believed that the Pandavas during their exile, stayed here. This is a simple, 5 celled cave and has a Siva Lingam inside.
Rivona Cave, built in 6th C CE is a Buddist cave and is filled with several frescoes. Unlike any other cave, this is made of laterite stone. Khandepar caves built later in 10th C CE and are also Buddhist caves made of laterite. This is a 3 celled, 2 tiered structure. All these sites are protected by ASI (Archaeological Survey of India).


To Stay:
While there are tons of beachside shacks to luxury hotels in Goa to stay at all price points.

To Get There:
Goa has a international airport and Panaji has a railway station that connects to all major cities of the country.
Mumbai is the nearest cosmopolitan city.
From Mumbai: 500km

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

10 comments:

  1. I'm a diorama builder and that photo of the ruined tower just gave me an idea for my latest diorama. :) Anyway, you're right. Visiting a place should not just be about entertainment and parties. Most of the "enjoyment" and fulfillment is about learning and immersing in the culture and heritage of the place.

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  2. I am always fascinated by the rich heritage of Goa, even though Goa is more famous for its booze and beaches. If we can look past the materialist veil, we can sure appreciate Goa's rich culture and heritage.

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  3. Well, I did not know that. I guess my first impression about Goa is all wrong.
    Anyway, I would love to visit as many UN heritage sites as I could. :)

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    1. Thank you for sharing too about the hotel options and price points. Looks like we can afford this trip. :)

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  4. Never been to Goa but hoepfully one day soon! It is also good to know there is so much heritage sites to see.
    Anna

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  6. Actually, I never heard about Goa as Las Vegas of India. The name always brought me back to World History lesson when it colonized by the Portuguese. But somehow I forgot about the pepper. The one stuck was the Catholic religion they brought along.

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  7. You are absolutely correct that when we hear of Goa, it absolutely comes with party on beaches and boozes but it has some different side also. I have seen some pretty old churches in Goa but do not remember properly that those and the ones you have mentioned are same ones. I was not knowing about Buddhist caves in Goa and would try to explore during my next visit to Goa.

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  8. I didn’t realize Goa had such a history. The UNESCO site designation have protected a unique part of history here. Christian missionaries really pushed exploration. I’m so glad to hear that the frescoes from the 1600s have survived.

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  9. I agree with you that Goa is much more than just beaches and nightlife. From the awe inspiring architectural churches to historical forts to bird sanctuaries, dams and waterfalls - Goa has got everything. Your post has has brought back my memories of the Goa trip. I'm yet to explore the caves though. This calls for a next visit.

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