Apart from being the smallest state and a party hub for India, Goa has had a special place in the books of Indian History. From the settlement of Kadamba kingdom, rulings of the Mughal Rulers to the arrival of the Portuguese – Goa has had cultural, historical and political reasoning in Indian history. While a large part of Goa still celebrates traces of Mughal kingdoms, some villages and sections of society remain Portuguese.
Goa Tourism has transformed in the way it today changes experiences. Some places in this party-centric state of India take you to the medieval period and connect with you the history that existed. The historical side of Goa is grounded deep into the time-worn monuments, architectural structure and reversing beauty. Here are some historical places to connect to!
Taking you to the more localized and real style of Goan living – Old Goa is where the historical tales lie. Old Goa being home to numerous cathedrals, churches and old monuments is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Also a former Portuguese capital, Old Goa connects you immediately to the artistic Portuguese buildings, café, colonies, and parks that were developed during the Portuguese colonialism era. The beauty of these colorful villages and colonies are surprisingly beautiful. Old Goa is also known for its port and the nestling of lives around its activities.
Basilica of Bom Jesus
Housing the remains and tomb of St Francis Xavier, The Basilica of Bom Jesus is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most historic structures of Goa. With a rustic appearance, this cathedral is more than 400 years old and stands strong with its beauty and magnetism.
It’s a heritage site for Old Goa, as the city was once a capital under Portugues rule. The artistic design, interiors, and appeal of the church lie in its silence, inscriptions, holy rooms and the presence of the space. Goa Tourism is very much incomplete without a visit to this grand place!
Once the Portuguese won over the Mughal rulers to claim their settlement in Goa, the day was celebrated with great vigor. Se Cathedral was an iconic structure that began construction ever since the win and took over 80 years to get it constructed. One of the largest churches in Asia, Se Cathedral has a special mention in the history for its iconic lifetime for construction.
The white pearl marble used to create the murals are therefore undeniably artistic and intriguing. Se Cathedral houses bits and pieces of Portuguese style of living, their beliefs and more inside the church and museum.
Built-in the 17th century, the Aguada Fort is an epitome of Portuguese architecture. This iconic structure built at the Siquerim beach i.e. 18kms off Panjim is a delightful place that depicts the history of the Portuguese army, Mughal emperors and more. It is believed that when the Dutch tried to invade India, the Marathas reclaimed their position over the land after having fought through the Aguada Fort.
Looking across the Arabian sea and the Mandovi river, the lighthouse and the fort walls that cover the entire peninsula to the tip of Bardez – the Aguada Fort is a historical site of Goa that revers war history, Portuguese architecture and astounding scenic beauty.
Church of St Francis of Assisi
One of the oldest churches of Panjim, the Church of St Francis Assisi is a landmark for the city and a historical heritage center. Preserved for its beauty and iconic design, the church has the second largest church bell in the world.
The white constructed structure has the status of Mother Mary on both its sides while being simplistically decorated with wood carvings, furniture, and décor. The old lanes taking you to the church immediately make you connect with the life of St Francis of Assisi giving you hints of his thoughts, actions, and lifestyle in the many murals of him present in the church.
Church of our lady of the immaculate conception
Also, a landmark icon for Panjim all over the world, the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, is a beautiful hilltop church. The iconic design of this white structure has had a special presence in the Portuguese time as it was often the place of worship.
The stairs to climb take you on a steep height where the church opens its doors and the silent serenity of the prayer hall takes over. Located in the nestling locality of Panjim, this church is by far the most iconic and picture-friendly churches of Goa.
Safa Shahouri Masjid, Goa
Constructed in the 16th century on the outskirts of northern Ponda, the Safa Shahouri Masjid is one of Goa’s oldest and remaining mosques. Under the rule of the Bijapur ruler Ibrahim Adil Shah this beautiful mosque was designed to be a water tank and mosque with simplistic architecture.
In the tranquility of the natural surroundings of Goa, this mosque located amidst the greenery is a powerful experience of peace, the divinity of Goa and foreground sight. This is a small masjid which can be easily accommodated for a 30-minute halt.
Shri Mangueshi Temple
37kms from Vasco Da Gama, Shri Mangueshi Temple is North Goa’s major pilgrimage site. Known for being the largest, popular and the wealthiest Hindu shrine, known for historic tales of Lord Shiva. Located right across the Cortalim village, this beautiful temple is widely known for its Goan-Hindu architecture.
The eight storeyed octagonal lamp tower and the statue of Nandi within the temple premises are some of the revering gems of architecture built during 1744. Having undergone renovations and refurbishing for umpteen times now, the temple has its beautiful version that combines Goan-Portuguese designs into Hindu Architectures and modern additions.
While Goa continues to astound the crowd with its emerging party places, resorts and hidden beaches, a part of it remains registered deep into the pages of history. One shall find traces of its architecture, history, and appeal at all houses and streets of Goa!