Goa is a place admired by a lot of tourists. Apart from the beaches, this state has got a very affluent culture. The multi-religious fabric of Goa’s society shines brightly, imbibed with the spirit of “Sarva Dharma, Sarva Bhava” or Equal Respect for all Religions.
Goa abounds with famed churches and temples and a harmonious co-existence prevails between people of various faith. Irrespective of whether they are Catholic, Hindu or Muslim, many Goans prostrate in symbiotic reverence before deities of other faiths than the one they profess. Religion dwells in the hearts of Goans wherever in the world they may be.
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Most Popular Historical Monuments of GOA
Basilica of Bom Jesus
Built in the 16th century, this magnificent edifice is the most popular and famous of all the churches in Goa. The mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, kept in a silver casket, are enshrined here. The casket was wrought by Goan silversmiths in 1636 – 37. Dedicated to Infant Jesus, this church is now a World Heritage Monument.
The most imposing of all the churches at Old Goa, its vaulted interior overwhelms visitors with its sheer grandeur. This Cathedral has five bells, among them the famous Golden bell, the biggest in Goa and one of the best in the world. The church is dedicated to St.Catherine of Alexandria.
Church of St Francis of Assisi
The entrance and the choir were built in the Manueline style, the only fragment of its kind in the East. First built in 1517, it was later rebuilt twice, in 1521 and in 1661. The interior is illustrated with exquisite paintings and the floor has a large number of tombstones with coats-of-arms. The adjacent convent now houses the Archaeological Museum.
22 kms from Panaji (26 kms from Margao) at Priol Ponda Taluka this famous temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is located on a hillock surrounded by lush green hills. Though small, it has an air of distinctive elegance.Its lofty white tower at the entrance is a countryside landmark.
28 kms from Panaji in Pernem Taluka, the temple is said to be more than 500 years old. Made of black stone, two life size images of elephants in a standing position at the entrance welcomes visitors.. Dussehra is celebrated with gaiety when over 25 thousand devotees assemble at the temple.
Aguada Fort situated 18 kms from Panaji and situated on a headland of the river Mandovi, this fort was built by the Portuguese in 1609-1612, to command entry into the river in order protect Old Goa from potential enemy attacks. A spring within the fort provided water supply to the ships that called there, giving it the name “Aguada” (meaning ‘water’ in Portuguese). The fort, at present, houses the Central Jail. A 19th century lighthouse is situated inside the fortress.
Big foot located in Loutulim, 9 kms from Margao, this centre for art, culture and environment is an aesthetically developed open-air site designed to illustrate Goa’s traditional past. Set in eco-friendly surroundings, this mockup village traces 100 years of Goa’s lifestyle and heritage. A giant size footprint, Big Foot, the only designer dance floor in Goa, is used as a venue for the promotion of dance, music and traditional culture.
Cabo De Rama Fort
Cabo De Rama Fort, the southernmost Goan fort is situated about 25 kms south of Margao. This ancient fortress, now in ruins, was built before the arrival of the Portuguese. A view from the boat offers a nostalgic experience. Cabo Raj Niwas was built in 1540 AD opposite Fort Aguada on the south headland of the river Mandovi, this fortress housed the elegant Franciscan monastery which later (1954 AD) became the official residence of the Government of Goa.
After Goa’s liberation in 1961, it became the residence of succeeding Governors of Goa. It commands a breathtaking view of the Arabian Sea and Mandovi River and has a magnificent church at the edge of the cliff. Adil Shah of Bijapur built Chapora Fort fort on the southern headland of the Chapora River. It was known as Shapur and is now in ruins. It has a commanding view of Vagator beach.
Mormugao Fort fort near the internationally famous Mormugao Habour was built to protect the harbour situated near Vasco da Gama town. Its work started in 1624. It once covered an area of six miles in circumference, contained a towering bulwark, three magazines, five prisons, a chapel and quarters for the guard However, except for the chapel and a portion of the boundary wall, little is left of this fort.
Tiracol Fort fort was built by Hindu rulers and later taken over by the Portuguese. The fort also has a church inside with a beautiful façade, but is generally closed, and only opened for occasional feasts. Its imposing height offers a breathtaking view. The rooms of the fort have been converted into a heritage hotel.