Velha Goa

Goa has a rich history that is reflected in its interesting mix of heritage and culture. Before becoming part of the Indian Union in 1961, it was ruled by the Portugese for nearly 5 centuries.Old Goa or Velha Goa is popularly considered the Rome of the East with some of the most beautiful churches.

Velha Goa is a UNESCO designated world heriatage site and is being preserved by the Archeological Survey of India. the 7 km drive from Ribandar is a beautiful green drive along the River Mandovi dotted with colonial style houses. Returning to this beautiful place after nearly 25 years, I could not help but be overawed by the magnificence of these structures. so here we go on a photo tour of few of the many structures of the place.

The first visit is to the museum and the Church of St. Francis of Assisi

Main Alter

In the same complex lies the Se Cathedral which is the largest church and has a Portugese-Gothic style of architecture with the exterior being tucson and the interior in Corinthian style

Exterior of the Cathedral

A slanting tree gives a different perspective
some photos of the gorgeous interior

Main Alter dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria

statue of St. Francis Xavier

gilded alter of the Blessed Sacrement

the main alter with the pews

Basilica of Bom Jesus
this church is made of laterite  and is dedicated to the Infant Jesus. while the facade is in Renaissance style, the alters have a distictly Baroque style. It was consecrated on 15 May 1605 and houses the remains of St. Francis Xavier, the Patron Saint of Goa

the exterior of the basilica of Bom Jesus

Main alter

Chapel of St Francis Xavier with the casket containing his remains

A closer view of the silver casket

going ahead, we walked up a hillock towards the St. Augustine monastry and found this Church of Rosary

and the church of St. John of God which has an Old age home attached

Ruins of St. Augustine Monastry
this is a sprawling complex with chaples and a monastry attached. In its heydey this must have been brimming with activity. The Augustine monks were apparently not well favoured by the Portugese rulers and they were forced to abandon this monastry. it fell into disuse and is now in ruins.

the main tower of the Church of St. Augustine is a well known landmark and can be viewed from a distance

A full day needs to be devoted to do justice to this unique hertage site. A useful publication is the Archeological Survey of India's World Heritage Series on Old Goa.