Unforgettable Goa, a heady blend of serenity and excitement down a 100 km coastline, studded with some of the world's most beautiful beaches- Calangute, Colva, Baga, Dona Paula, Bogmalo. Idyllic seaside stretches where you create your own kind of holiday. Sun bathing in a quiet secluded spot or choosing the exhilarating thrills of parasailing, speed boating, water skiing, wind surfing and deep – sea diving. For the Goans, life is a celebration - to the melody of guitars and mellow songs
Goa is an pleasant getaway with its beautiful beaches. Picturesque villages along the coast with white washed churches and red tiled houses set amidst groves of coconut add charm to the landscape. Near Panaji, is the old Portuguese capital of Velha Goa noted for its fine churches in the baroque style. These include the Basilica of Bom Jesus, the magnificent Se Cathedral and Church of St. Francis of Assisi.
Variously known as "Pearl of the Orient" and a "Tourist Paradise", the state of Goa is located on the western coast of India in the coastal belt known as Konkan.
The magnificent scenic beauty and the architectural splendours of its temples, churches and old houses have made Goa a firm favourite with travellers around the world.
But then, Goa is much more than just beaches and sea. It has a soul which goes deep into unique history, rich culture and some of the prettiest natural The vast expanse of the Arabian Sea on the west forms the magnificent coastline for which Goa is justly famous.
Terekhol (Tiracol), Mandovi, Zuari, Chapora, Sal and Talpona are the main rivers which weave their way throughout the state forming the inland waterways adding beauty and romance to the land besides being used to transport Goa's main export commodity of Iron and Manganese ore to Mormugao Harbour. Along the way to the coast these waterways form estuaries, creeks and bays breaking the sandy, palm-fringed coastline behind which lie the fishing villages among the coconut groves.
Panaji (Panjim) is the state capital located on the banks of the Mandovi river and Vasco, Margao, Mapusa and Ponda are the other major towns. Goa is serviced by an international/national airport located at Dabolim near Vasco. An intra-state and inter-state bus network also plays an important role in getting locals and visitors alike in and around Goa.
The vast green expanse of the Sahyadri mountain range ensures that Goa has an abundance of water. The sea and rivers abound in seafood - prawns, mackerels, sardines, crabs and lobsters are the most popular with the locals and the visitors.
A Portuguese explorer, Afonso de Albuquerque sailed up the river Mandovi, defeated the Bijapuri army and rode into the capital triumphantly bearing a Portuguese Standard in one hand, and a Gold Crucifix in the other. A curious blending of cultures took place, affecting every sphere of Goa life, from religion to architecture, cuisine to art. The chapter of Goa's history ended 451 years later when Goa ceased to be a Portuguese colony, and became a part of the Indian Union.
451 years of Portuguese rule has imbued Goa’s towns and villages with a unique culture. Whitewashed chapels and churches that dot the landscape are surrounded by sleepy villages and rice fields
Churches Of Goa
The emerald land of Goa, is studded with temples and churches, which remain as silent but forceful witnesses to the intense religious history of the diverse people who lived here. Hence a pilgrimage to Goa is a unique experience.
Basilica of Bom Jesus
Built in 1605, the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa beckons visitors from India and abroad. Declared a World Heritage Monument, the church houses the sacred relics of St. Francis Xavier, patron saint of Goa, who died while on a sea voyage to China on 2nd December, 1552. The following year, while transferring his remains to Goa, in accordance with his wishes, it was found that the saint's body was as fresh as the day it was buried. This miraculous phenomenon continuously attracts the devout of all lands and an exposition. The public viewing of his body takes place every ten years, which attracts lakhs of pilgrims from all over the world.
The Church of Our Lady of Rosary
In Velha Goa or Old Goa, crowning a hill, which was known as the Holy hill, is one of the earliest churches, the Church of Our Lady of Rosary. In Panjim or Panaji, as Goa's capital is called today, the oldest Church is dedicated to Our Lady of Immaculate Conception. The huge Convent of Santa Monica, dating from 1606, was the first Nunnery in Asia. Today, after centuries of changing fortunes, it has been restored and is once again a residential convent.
The Rachol Seminary
The Rachol Seminary in South Goa has a chequered past. Originally a Muslim fortress it was first converted by the Portuguese into a church and later into a prison. In the late 16th century, it acquired respectability as a seminary for Theological Studies, with the Jesuits rechristening it from College of All Saints to the College of St. Ignatius Loyala, the name of their Founder.
The Se Cathedral
The cathedral built in purist Tuscan style and is staggering in proportions. In one chapel is kept the Cross of Miracles, said to grow in size & have healing properties. Heavily gilded central altars depict the martyrdom of Saint Catherine, to whom the cathedral is dedicated.
The Se Cathedral nearby is dedicated to St. Catherine, as it was on her feast day, 25th November 1510 that Alfonso de Albuquerque conquered Goa. Believers are awe-struck to hear of the Cross of Miracles, which is placed in the cathedral, its earlier church having been destroyed. People have had a vision of Christ on this cross and the rock on which it was found was said to spout water while, today, the cross is slowly growing. Earlier, it was at Se Cathedral that the sacred relics of St. Francis Xavier were shown to the public.
Church of St. Francis of Assisi
Not far away stands the beautiful whitewashed Church of St. Francis of Assisi, which today houses part of the archaeological museum. Exhibits include prehistoric items from a distant tribal past as also reminders of Goa Dourada, Golden Goa, also known as the 'Pearl of the Orient' or 'Rome of the East' during its heyday. It was the concentration of magnificent churches, symbol of a powerful conquering presence, which justified this last title.
In fact, the Church of St. Cajatan, built by an Italian architect in 1651, was modeled in miniature on St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Today a theological college is housed here.