Explore the laid-back Goan lifestyle with us.
India’s smallest state by area and fourth smallest by population; Goa was a Portuguese territory for 450 years until it was annexed in 1961. The Portuguese zest for life remains strong in Goa while Hindu and Christian influences also hold a strong presence. Known for its famous beaches, places of worship, architecture and horticulture, Goa is a prime destination for both international and domestic tourists.
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While Goa is steeped in both Christian and Hindu traditions, its central focus is to satisfy each visitor’s susegado – their desire to unwind and live life. Goa also hosts some of the most remarkable churches and Portuguese mansions in India, including the Basilica of Bom Jesus, a World Heritage Monument that has housed the sacred mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier since 1695.
English is widely spoken throughout the state. Konkani is the language of most Goans while Marathi and Hindi are also widely spoken. Some older generation Goans speak Portuguese and the state’s European population of shopkeepers and service workers communicate in French, Spanish and Italian.
Goa enjoys six months of temperate weather each year. October to March is the perfect time to hit the beaches. The winter can bring chilly nights and the monsoon season (June to September) typically brings heavy rainfall.
Shri Manguesh Temple Ponda
One of the largest, wealthiest and most frequently visited temples in Goa. Its principal deity, a stone - Shiva lingam, was first brought here in the 16th century although the present building was built over 200 years later. The courtyard is dominated by a seven storey deepmal, the most impressive lamp tower in Goa.
Basilica of Bom Jesus Church, Old Goa
Basilica of Bom Jesus, where the body of St. Francis Xavier, renowned 16th century missionary lies in a glass and silver casket. This church was built by the Jesuits and consecrated to the Holy Name of Jesus on 15th May 1605. The imposing façade built of black granite in an exquisite combination of the Doric. Corinthian and Composite styles. It is remarkable for its simplicity.
Se Cathedral Church, Old Goa
Dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria, the exterior is built in half-Tuscan, half-Doric style, and the side is Mosaic-Corinthian. The octagonal baptism basin to the right of the entrance was carved out of one single block of granite, St. Francis Xavier is said to have baptised thousands of Goan converts in it.
St Assisi Church, Old Goa
The church of St. Assisi was founded in 1517 by eight Franciscan monks and originally built as a small chapel with three altars and choir chancels. After it was demolished, the church, as it stands today, was built in its place in 1762. The old frescoes, painted in the European tradition shows scenes from the life of St. Francis.
Tours of Goa’s capital city of Panjim are best routed along the esplanade from the typically colonial Secretariat building which was previously known as the summer palace of Goa’s 16th century ruler the Adil Shah. Today it is the home of the Goan State Legislature which explains the presence of the armed guards at the doors prohibiting a closer look. Just past the Secretarial, you will see Panjim’s most striking statue – the Abade Faria-priest, revolutionary, and the founding father of modern hypnotism glaring down with outstretched arms over the body of an unconscious woman at his feet seemingly under his hypnotic spell.
The fort, 18 km from Panjim was built by the Portuguese in 1609-1612, to command the entry into river Mandovi, to protect Old Goa from potential enemy attacks. There is a spring within the fort. Presently, the fort houses the central jail and a light house, nearby for sight-seeing.
The Menezes Braganza Pereira house is located at the Chandor Village in Goa. It is known to be more than 350 years old and is situated near the church square in Chandor. This mansion with its Portuguese style facade is the most exquisite heritage house in the countryside and the biggest in Goa. It is a museum of chandeliers, painting, porcelain, crystal, period furniture and other antique items.