Goa, a stated situated in Western India, is blessed with an incredible coastline that is washed by the waters of the Arabian Sea. Its beaches attract tourists throughout the year, while the laid-back lifestyle, best captured in the word, “susegado”, wins them over completely.
This state also boasts a rich history and heritage. Having been under the rule of several dynasties in the past, it was the Portuguese who made a big impact on its culture, one example of which is the magnificent churches built by them. They draw people of all religions for their history and architecture. Forts are another popular tourist attraction and provide magnificent views of the sea and the nearby surroundings. The Konkani cuisine, which is heavily influenced by the traditions and culture of the neighboring states, is as fiery and spicy as it gets.
There is a little bit of everything to experience in Goa, from adventure and sightseeing to culture, and that is what makes it a perfect holiday destination.
Best Places to Visit in Goa
- Basilica of Bom Jesus
- Goa Chitra Museum
- Old Panjim
Basilica of Bom Jesus (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
At first sight, the architecture of Basilica of Bom Jesus may not impress you greatly. However, it’s a treasure-house of history, art and heritage. Besides holding the distinction of being the only basilica of Goa, it houses the relics of St. Francis Xavier.
The foundation stone for the church was laid on the 24th November, 1594. However, it was not until 1946 that it was raised to the status of “minor Basilica”. This three-story structure, which is 75ft wide and almost 79ft tall, is an incredible example of baroque architecture. Although the interior of the church is pretty simple, the floor has been laid with brilliant marble, besides being inlaid with precious stones.
The church also contains an art gallery which contains paintings that depict various Biblical scenes. One of the largest art galleries in India, the most notable paintings are “The Last Judgment” and “Genesis”. Another attraction here is the Tomb of St. Xavier. The tomb, which is a silver casket, consists of silver panels which depict 32 scenes from the life of the saint.
Goa Chitra Museum
Goa is also home to a number of museums, one of which is the Goa Chitra Museum. The museum houses a unique collection of traditional farming implements and other ancient tools of trade. The museum collection now consists of more than 4,000 objects. The museum has a contemporary outlook and blends traditional elements with modern technologies.
Inside the museum, one comes across a wide range of exhibits which depicts the culture of Goa before the arrival of electricity. The various exhibits on display shed light on the rural trades and their indigenous skills. Some of the artifacts on display are sowing tools, harvesting tools, cutting, pruning and marking implements, besides others. One side of the museum also depicts ancient modes of transport like caderin, palanquin and carriages.
Old Panjim houses the only Portuguese quarters in all of Asia. One of India’s smallest city, it served as the capital of the Portuguese for over 450 years. The remnants of that era is still visible in the various monuments. One of the attractions in Old Goa is Fontainhas, an old Latin Quarter surrounded by brightly colored houses that have a Portuguese influence in their architecture. Old Panaji also has several landmarks that go back to the Portuguese era, an example of which is the The Baroque Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church.