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Trip to Goa (India) (land of beaches, greenery and churches) – Part 3 – Visit to Churches and more beaches




Part 1 (link) and 2 (link) of this blog talked about travel to the beaches and forts of Goa. Goa is also famous for its churches and cathedrals, and also for a few Hindu temples. The other things that are normally also visited in Goa are some of the beaches in South Goa as well as a cruise on the river Mandovi. All this was still to be done, and was planned for the 3rd day of our trip.
To add, this was probably the most rain-filled trip that we ever had, since it had been raining steadily ever since we had arrived in Goa (although the level of rain was very low or zero sometime, or strong rain at some point of time). In the morning, this time we were more resolved to start the travels for the day early no matter whether it was raining or not. We had made some taxi arrangements to start early soon after breakfast (and our morning means leaving around 10 AM, not the 7 AM you were thinking).
And so, being well prepared (carrying umbrellas and cameras was the extent of our preparation), we set off.
The first place that was on our itinerary was this magnificent ruins of a tall church, called St. Augustine’s Church, located on Holy Hill. It is 46 meters high, and was built in the year 1602 through the effort of 12 Augustan friars. However, the Portuguese authorities forbade the use of this church, and the church and the convent was abandoned, with just a 46 meters high Bell Tower remaining in ruins. The bell was removed from the Church and relocated to the Our Lady of Immaculate Conception at Panaji in 1871, where it still works even now. The church however, being abandoned, had stated crumbling as early as 1842 with more ruins falling in 1931 and 1938. The ruins of the Church are visited by a number of visitors even now. However, due to heavy rain, we could not go inside, with the gate also being locked at that time.

The still remaining tall structure of the St. Augustine Church in Goa. now in ruins
The still remaining tall structure of the St. Augustine Church in Goa, now in ruins

Base platform of the ruins of St. Augustine Church in Goa
Base platform of the ruins of St. Augustine Church in Goa

Next up, we visited the 2 side-by-side churches called the Dom Basilica Church, and the Se Cathedral. Both of them look real difficult. To reach there, the parking is located on the road next to the Dom Basilica Church and there is a short walk through a path lined with trees on both sides.

People braving the rain to go the Dom Basilica in Goa
People braving the rain to go the Dom Basilica

Downpour outside as visible from the Dom Basilica in Goa
Downpour outside as visible from the Dom Basilica in Goa

The Basilica of Bom Jesus or Basilica of Good Jesus (Portuguese: Basílica do Bom Jesus) is a World Heritage site located in Goa, and also holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, with the church name referring to the infant Jesus. The church construction was started in 1594 and completed in 1605 when it was consecrated by Archbishop, Dom Fr. Aleixo de Menezes. The church is also famous since it holds the remains of the Saint Francis Xavier, who founded the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) along with St. Ignatius Loyola. The remains of the Saint attract a huge number of visitors, especially once every 10 years when the body is made available for public viewing (last done in 2004). The inside of the Church was very beautiful and solemn, although sections of the Church seemed like a Spanish villa with an inner courtyard having a garden.

The body of St. Francis Xavier in the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa
The body of St. Francis Xavier in the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa

View of inner greenery of courtyard the Dom Basilica in Goa
View of inner greenery of the courtyard inside the Dom Basilica in Goa

Statue of saint inside the Dom Basilica in Goa
Statue of saint inside the Dom Basilica in Goa

Next to the Dom Basilica (across the road) is the Se Cathedral, also known as the Sé Cathedral of Santa Catarina, is dedicated to Catherine of Alexandria, and is a huge and beautiful building, with some excellent indoor structure and very beautiful outdoors. The Cathedral was built starting in 1562, completed in 1619, and consecrated in 1640, and was built to celebrate the victory of Portuguese under Afonso de Albuquerque over a Muslim army in 1510 (which led to the conquest of Goa), and was named after Saint Catherine since the day when victory happened was on the day of the feast of Saint Catherine.

Beautiful view of the Se Cathedral from outside with greenery
Beautiful view of the Se Cathedral from outside with greenery

Inside the Se Cathedral in Goa
Inside the Se Cathedral in Goa

Chandelier hanging from the roof of the Se Cathedral in Goa
Chandelier hanging from the roof of the Se Cathedral in Goa

Sculpture of Jesus Christ on a cross inside the Se Cathedral in Goa
Sculpture of Jesus Christ on a cross inside the Se Cathedral in Goa

After spending a couple of hours at these 2 beautiful churches, we moved on, visiting a Hindu temple, the famous Shri Mangueshi Temple, Goa. It was drizzling slightly, so there was some amount of mud and ditches, but the inner compound of the temple was relatively much cleaner. We went inside the temple, said our prayers, visited the tower, and then moved on. By this time, we were ready for lunch, and we were also enticed by the prospect of visiting a local spice plantation. These are large tracts of land on which spices are grown organically, and they also give you an organic lunch and a trip around the plantation where you can see their growing habits and learn about which spices grow on which plants along with seasons. It was pretty exciting to go there. The trip to a spice plantation can however cost you around Rs. 400 per head to go inside and do the trip.

Exterior architecture of the Mangueshi Temple in Goa
Exterior architecture of the Mangueshi Temple in Goa

After the spice plantation, it was back to the water. We were not interested in visiting the Miramar beach since we were running short of time and light in the sky, and so we headed to a different type of beach, called Dona Paula. The place is a expensive and luxurious place to live, and is named after the daughter of a Portuguese viceroy who threw herself off the cliff when she was refused permission to marry a local fisherman. However, this is not a typical beach, more of a beachfront and where there is an observation tower located at a height from where you get a good view. You typically do not work along sand with water next to you.

After all this, we were attracted by the notion of a 1 hour cruise on the River Mandovi. There are these numerous water cruisers (not very attractive) which carry you aboard and for a one hour cruise for Rs. 150. You sit on plastic seats, with a local band providing the music or can go to the open upper deck (but since it is night, you do not see anything much). Having done this cruise, I can say that you will not miss much if you do not do this cruise.

On board entertainment on river cruise in Goa - boring
On board entertainment on river cruise in Goa – boring

Many photos of Goa at this location.




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