Goa Journals

A Whiff of Portugal

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A July 2005 trip to Goa by phileasfogg

The Basilica of Bom Jesus Photo, Goa, India More Photos
Quote: The Portuguese were the first of the imperial powers to reach India and the last to go. In the 500 years they ruled Goa, the Portuguese built mansions and forts, spread a new religion, and left an enduring imprint. A definite taste of the West, but based firmly in the East.

The Basilica of Bom Jesus

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Attraction

The Basilica of Bom Jesus Photo, Goa, India
Quote:
The Basilica of Bom Jesus is supposedly the oldest church in South Asia (or so our guide- Rs 50 for a tour of the Basilica- said). That sounds odd, because the nearby Sé of Santa Catarina was built before the Basilica. But no matter. The Basilica’s a venerable building, more so because it’s the resting place of St Francis Xavier.A massive reddish-brown building of laterite and basalt, it was built by a lone benefactor, Dom Jeronimo Mascarenhas, who contributed all funds, plus the land on which the church stands. Construction began in 1594, and the church was consecrated in 1605.Since we were visiting in the offseason, the Basilica was comparatively empty. We stopped a while outside th...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 6, 2005

The Basilica of Bom Jesus
Velha Goa (Old Goa)
Goa, India

Sé Cathedral

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Sé Cathedral Photo, Goa, India
Quote:
Right across the road from the Basilica of Bom Jesus stands the equally impressive Sé Cathedral, the largest church in South Asia and the Episcopal seat of the Archdiocese of Goa. The church is a large cream-coloured building set amidst lush, green lawns; carefully maintained flowerbeds; and pretty hedges, all landscaped perfectly to showcase the magnificence of the cathedral itself.The Sé took all of 80 years to build (finances apparently having gone a little haywire somewhere along the way), but construction finally ended in 1652. It’s suffered over the years - of the two square bell towers, only one still remains (the other was struck by lightning in 1776), but it’s quite stunning nevertheless w...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 6, 2005

Sé Cathedral
Old Goa
Goa, India

The Archaeological Museum

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Attraction

The Archaeological Museum Photo, Goa, India
Quote:
Adjacent to the Church of St Francis of Assisi, the Convent of St Francis of Assisi today houses the Archaeological Museum. It’s not terribly large, but it’s interesting, and reasonably well maintained. Much of the original building has been retained- the central courtyard, with its shrine to St Catherine, still has candles burning in front of the statue, and in places you come across reminders of olden days. A small stone font jutting out of a wall, for instance. Or a niche containing a stone column brought from San Thome, and believed to have a tiny niche at the top containing a piece of iron from the lance with which St Thomas was martyred. Even otherwise, with its high ceilings, its whitewashed wa...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 6, 2005

The Archaeological Museum
Convent of St Francis of Assisi, Velha Goa
Goa, India

Menezes Bragança Mansion

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Menezes Bragança Mansion Photo, Goa, India
Quote:
Think Portuguese Goa and you think churches, which is why the Menezes Bragança Mansion is a pleasant surprise. The Spanish consul to Portugal built the mansion over 350 years ago, and it passed on to his descendants. Somewhere along the way, a rift between two brothers split the mansion itself. As time went by, one half of the family prospered and filled its home with modern conveniences: refrigerators, radios, and gadgetry. The other half couldn’t afford such luxuries and hung on to what it had inherited, which is lucky for visitors, because this part of the mansion looks completely, pristinely 17th century.We arrived around noon and were told by the maid that Mrs. de Menezes Bragança (who guides ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 6, 2005

Menezes Bragança Mansion
Colossians Boulevard
Goa, India

Church of St Francis of Assisi

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Attraction | "The Church of St Francis of Assisi"

Church of St Francis of Assisi Photo, Goa, India
Quote:
Nowhere as splendid as its better-known neighbours (the Basilica of Bom Jesus and the Sé Cathedral), the Church of St Francis of Assisi is a relatively small yet elegant church. It stands next to the Sé Cathedral, and like the cathedral, is built of blocks of laterite covered with lime plaster. Like the cathedral (and in fact all the other colonial churches and convents in Velha Goa), the Church of St Francis of Assisi is a UNESCO World Heritage site. And like the Cathedral, this church too is pretty old--it dates back to 1661. But that’s where the resemblance ends--because, unlike the Sé Cathedral, the Church of St Francis of Assisi is no longer in use. Which means that the gold leaf on the altar doe...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 6, 2005

Church of St Francis of Assisi
Next to Se Cathedral, Velha
Goa, India

Chapora Fort Photo, Goa, India
Quote:
Much of Goa seems like a place that’s not quite India--and yet is. Massive white churches with typically Latin curved facades and a huge bell hanging from the centre stand amidst lush green fields of new rice. Roadside shrines with plaster or tile crucifixes or a painting of Jesus are bestowed with incense sticks and garlands of marigolds--just like thousands of Hindu temples all across India. The names on the houses along the streets are Fernandes, Menezes, Gonsalves, Gomes, Lobo, Mascarenhas- and the houses themselves have terracotta-tiled roofs, and coconut trees standing sentinel in the backyard. The food and the drink include ingredients fairly uncommon in other parts of the country, from Goan `p...Read More