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Old Goa

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History of: 500 years
Population: 40 thousand

Old Goa was the erstwhile capital of the Portuguese dominions in Goa. Before the arrival of the Portuguese on the Goan shores, Old Goa was the regal capital of Sultan Adil Shah of Bijapur. After defeating the armies of the Sultan, the Portuguese led by Alfonso de Albuquerque started building their empire around Old Goa.

As the epicenter of Portuguese territory, Old Goa witnessed the profusion of magnificent churches and majestic buildings befitting the stature of the city. During its halcyon days, Old Goa became famous as the "Lisbon of the East." But soon recurring outbreaks of epidemics like cholera and malaria made the city highly inhospitable and the Portuguese moved their capital to Panaji in 1843.

Major Attractions

 

Basilica of Bom Jesus
A must-have on the Old Goa tour, the Basilica of Bom Jesus church is dedicated to Infant Jesus. An epitome of Baroque architecture, this church has been declared a World Heritage Monument. Basilica of Bom Jesus enshrines the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, the patron saint of Goa. On the occasion of 'Exposition,' held once in a decade, St. Francis Xavier's body is displayed for the public.

Se Cathedral
One of the largest churches in Asia, the Se Cathedral was dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria since the Portuguese led by Alfonso de Albuquerque conquered Goa on the St. Catherine's day (November 25) in 1510. The church contains the Golden Bell used during the infamous Goa Inquisition.

Archaeological Museum
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) set up the Archaeological Museum in the abandoned Convent of St. Francis of Assisi. The 8 galleries of the Archaeological Museum in Old Goa display portraits and sculptures from the prehistoric to the late mediaeval period.

Viceroy's Arch
The Viceroy's Arch was built by Viceroy Francisco da Gama, the grandson of Vasco da Gama. A statue of Vasco da Gama, resplendent in his royal uniform, can be seen on top of the arch. Built of laterite stone, the original arch collapsed in 1948 and it was subsequently restored in 1954. Tradition has it that on taking office, all viceroys made the procession under the arch where they would be given the ceremonial key to the city and Goa.

 

Fun Festives

 

Feast of St Francis Xavier
The Feast of St Francis Xavier is held during the month of December, in the first week itself. The venue for the feast is the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa. St Francis Xavier is hugely renowned Christian saint and his feast attracts a whole lot of devotees from all over the country and even across the world. It is believed that even after his death, the body of the pious saint did not rot away like the rest of the mortals. Today, his body is preserved in a silver casket in the Bom Jesus and is displayed every ten years. After the last exposition in 1994, the authorities found out that the body is longer in a condition to be displayed, hence further exposition appears impossible in future. However, the feast is celebrated every year and if you wish to pay your respect to the saint, you can be a part of this feast.

Feast of Three Kings
This feast is celebrated in The Church Of Our Lady Of The Mount in Old Goa and is also known as the Festa Dos Reis or The Epiphany Day. The date for celebration is 6th of January. The special feature of this feast is that despite being a Christian festival, it is celebrated by Hindus with equal fervour. The Lady of Mount, as a mark of respect to whom this festival is celebrated, is believed to protect people and grant their wishes for children. The festival continues for nine days (ending at 6th Jan) and is marked by a lot of music and dance. On the last day three young boys dressed as kings reach the chapel after driving to different paths and offer the Lady of Mount everything they have. The rituals are followed by a fair where you can shop for a whole range of items ranging from meal to copper and brassware, furniture, clothes, toys, trinkets, sweetmeats, glass bangles and spices of all sorts.

 

Distance from major cities
Panjim 11 Kms
Margao 39 Kms
Ponda 19 Kms

 

How to reach there

by Air The Dabolim Airport is located 29 km from Panaji.
by Rail The Karmali railway station is the nearest railhead.
by Road Buses run frequently from Panaji's Kadamba bus terminal to various locations of Old Goa.

Recommended Restaurants

  • Palm Beach Life Style Resort, Old Goa

  • Paradisso De Goa Resort, Old Goa

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Travel Destinations in Goa

Margao
Old Goa
Ponda
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