Old Goa: Uncovering the Glory of the Past
One reason that decided me to visit Goa is to actually see the marvellous Dudhsagar Falls but unfortunately that didn’t happen because we were troubled with time. Going to the falls from the city capital takes about 3 hours or more. If we couldn’t be able to get back to the city before dark, we might miss our early flight the next day.
Well, the thought of not pushing through with our original plan didn’t saddened me since we had instead spent that intended time by exploring the heritage site of Old Goa.
Old Goa which is situated 10 KM away from Panjim is the former colonial capital of Goa. The place is a historical city which was constructed in the 15th century and served as a capital of Portuguese India.
We reached the site by taking a public bus from Panjim. The fare cost around Rs 12 per person with approximately 10 minutes travel time.
The remains of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage site which is being maintained by the Archaelogocal Survey of India. The site is home to some scenic churches and convents.
We were able to visit 4 to 5 spots situated inside the heritage site of Old Goa. Most of the sites are nearby each other so no need to hire an auto rickshaw to roam around the historical city; you can do a walking tour to visit the different spots.
First church that we had visited is the church and convent of St. Francis of Assisi.
Just a few walks from the first church that we’ve been to is where the SE Cathedral Church is.
The SE Cathedral is said to be one of the most ancient and celebrated religious buildings of Goa. The Cathedral is dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria; hence, it is also known as St. Catherine’s’ Cathedral.
The church that I was most excited to see in the historical city of Old Goa is the Basilica of BOM Jesus because of it being a World Heritage Monument. It is perhaps one of the most famous churches in India.
Bom Jesus which is literally means ‘Good (or Holy) Jesus’ is the name used for the infant Jesus. The church is said to be the first minor Basilica in India.
With impressive architecture, the church is considered to be one of the best examples of baroque architecture in India.
Not too far from the popular church of BOM Jesus is where the ruins of St. Augustine is.
The St. Augustine Church is one of the oldest churches built in Goa. It was constructed by 12 Augustian monks who arrived in Goa on the 3rd of September in 1572. The construction of the church was completed in 1602 AD.
The church and the adjoining convent of St. Augustine are now in ruins due to the ban on religious orders passed by the Portuguese government.
What also has been left in one of the largest building is the spectacular monument of the St. Augustine tower. The tower is a highly visible landmark which is towering for a 46 meters high. The tower served as a belfry and formed part of the facade of the magnificent church.
More than the impressive architecture and historical past of Old Goa, visiting this world heritage site brought us back to its magnificence, importance and great beauty. Seeing the different spots on this significant site truly uncovers the glory of Old Goa’s history.
Department of Tourism