Churches & Temples
It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city was built by the Bijapur Sultanate in 15th century and was the capital city of the Portuguese rule from 16th – 18th century. The long promenade that cuts through the city is adorned by magnificent churches and beautiful manicured gardens. Recommended churches to see are
- Basilica de Bom Jesus, designed in Baroque style architecture, houses the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, patron saint of Goa.
- Sé Cathedral, designed in Gothic style architecture, is the largest church in Asia. It’s an architectural delight with Tuscan exterior and Corinthian interior, wall etched paintings, wood carvings etc. A must visit is the Chapel of the Cross of Miracles, apparition of Christ in 1919. It also houses Goa’s largest bell – The Golden Bell. The Archaeological museum next door provides valuable insights into the Goan history.
- Convent of St. Cajetan, designed in Corinthian style architecture, was modeled on the original design of St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome.
- St. Augustine Tower, a 46m high tower is the remains of the largest building during the Portuguese rule – The Augustinian Monastery. It once served as a belfry and is one of the most photographed and printed monument of Goa.
You can also visit the other small churches and chapels in Old Goa.
Situated in Mardol, it is the largest temple in Goa. The temple is dedicated to the Bhagavan Mangesh, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. The complex also has shrines dedicated to Goddess Parvati and God Ganesha. The architecture of this 400 year old temple is elegant and consists of several domes, pilasters and balustrades. Must see - prominent Nandi Bull and a beautiful seven-story deepstambha (lamp tower).
Set amidst lush emerald hills, the dome of the Shantadurga temple at Kavlem in Ponda is clearly visible from a distant. Dedicated to Shantadurga, the Mother Goddess worshipped by our countrymen since times immemorial, the entire temple complex conveys the message of peace and the cool interiors of the temple enhance its charm. Today, it stands as a fusion of Indo-Portuguese architecture.
Its pyramidical shape 'shikaras' rising on the roofs of the facade (entrance hall) and the 'Sabhamandap' (the main hall), its roman-arched windows some of which have the stained glass window panes of deep red, yellow, blue, green colours, its chandeliers, its gate posts, ballustraded flat dome, the maroon-peach-white color paint of the temple gives the temple a serene beautiful look.
The highlight of the temple is its golden palanquin (palkhi) in which the deity is carried on festive occasions.
Tambdi Surla Temple
The small Shiva (Mahadev) temple of Tambdi Surla situated at about 18 km from the Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary gate and is the only surviving structure of the Kadamba Yadava dynasty. Thus, it is the oldest temple of Goa, that survived from the Portuguese as it was set next to a stream in the middle of the small clearing, hidden in the dense jungle.
It was built in the 12th century by the Kadamba queen Kamladevi and is not made of basalt, as it is believed, but of grey black talc chlorite schist soap stone. This makes the intricate handwork adorning the walls of the temple still seem fresh, as it is weather resistant. A solid piece of stone work is the lotus shape carved out of the porch's ceiling.