Goa. . . More Than the Beaches

Portuguese Goa

As the students enjoyed  the promised two restful days on the beaches, David and I headed down to explore  the Portuguese footprint in India, mostly the churches. Now we have seen many churches all over Europe, and are not easily impressed. These  churches are  impressive, and this one the most spectacular.   The Portuguese are some of the most devout Catholic Christians  today and their churches constructed  hundreds of years ago, suggest, they have always been religious. Image  This is St Francis Xavier’s church of the  Bascillica  of Bom Jesus. It is one of the major Baroque churches in India and was completed  in 1602. The image is from Wikipedia.


The alter image is from Britannica.com. This church is now on the UNESCO World Heritage list.


This massive tree stands guard at the entrance. I could only  wonder if it had been there from the beginning….four hundred and eleven years.

On the drive to Mount Mary church, we passed this “garden of houseplants”of plants I had only seen sold in pots. 100_3267

Vasco da Gama was the explorer who first arrived in Western India in 1505.  The Portuguese remained a strong presence until 1954. ( Independence from Britain was in 1947.) Da Gama was just one of the elusive explorers when I was in school as he didn’t make it to America.  I was glad to see where he landed.


No exploration of ancient sites is complete without some ruins. Once,  our children became so tired of ruins on a trip to Italy, they refused to budge from the car.  I have to admit, sometimes I get tired, too, but not today.  Off we went to the ruins of St Augustine church and convent.  The story is that there was some disagreement between the Augustinians and the Jesuits which lead to the abandonment of this large complex. All that remains is the 46 meter tower and stone pillars.  100_3271


As our final stop, we headed up a very large hill to Cathedral of Mount Mary which is closed except for weddings and special holy days.100_3269

What we had come to see was not the church but the view, which was unforgettable. The dense jungle with the large white churches emerging from the  darkness.  Darkness of imperfect men and faith systems ….darkness of greed and colonialism ….sadly the condition of the human heart.  May  we have courage to move towards the light and let our light shine in the world of darkness.


This is Incredible India !

Have you visited or worshiped in any large cathedrals ?  How do you think these cathedrals of Goa compare?  Were you surprised? Do you visit churches on your travels whether or not you are a believer?  If so, what do you learn? 

About annetbell

I am a retired elementary teacher, well seasoned world traveler,new blogger, grandmother, and a new enthusiastic discoverer of the wonderfully complex country of India. Anne
This entry was posted in Architecture, India, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Goa. . . More Than the Beaches

  1. The Rider says:

    Beautiful post! Thanks for sharing…


  2. Vikas Kalagi says:

    Fantastic capture, really its more than the beaches 🙂


  3. Gorgeous post! The Bascillica of Bom Jesus blew me away when I visited. Old Goa is so darn beautiful.


  4. Reblogged this on The Glen House and commented:
    A beautiful post about a place very dear to my heart….


  5. This post makes me so, so so happy!! Glad you’ve discovered the other side of Goa!


  6. Loretta says:

    Great post, it is a real pity when folks associate Goa with just their beaches is it not? You’ve showed another side of Goa which very few are aware of. Great post!


    • annetbell says:

      There was a lovely boulevard street in the city that we only rode on . Husband is professor of architecture and that is a driving force in our destinations! Once we were in Spain with our children and he gave us 15 minutes on the beach! The students don’t know how lucky they were to get two days off from touring to enjoy the beach!
      Well, I told them but it is not the same as experience it!


      • Loretta says:

        We’ve had similar experiences with our children, now adults. Castles and cathedrals whenever we traveled. They did not appreciate it then, but have become seasoned travelers and have an appreciation for the arts and culture now :). So it did pay off :).


      • annetbell says:

        My husband says education is wasted on the young! He sees it with his college students , as well. But I must say, the 11 students who came with us to India, fell in love with it all. And the amazing part was that most had NEVER traveled even to Canada. The developing world can be a shock, but they went with the flow quite well. Only problem is that they insisted to eat street food and were continually sick. I was the official transportation to the doctor! I was careful to a fault as I have had food poisoning before and didn’t want it again !


  7. Loretta says:

    Where were your students from? My folks hail from Goa, so it has a special place in my heart for me. I’ve probably visited Goa 4 times in my lifetime – it’s changed so much now though. I kind of agree with your husband, especially in this country, “Study Abroad” is commonplace, but what do they really absorb when they are in a different country and exposed to different cultures. It is a bit of a shock, one of my daughters went on a work trip to India for the very first time…..not sure she’ll go back again :). She was in Ahmedabad, Delhi and Goa.


  8. I had a friend from there who sadly died too young. I never realised how beautiful Goa is.


  9. YellowCable says:

    The cathedral looks magnificent!!


  10. Nandini says:

    Ahhh…home sweet home 🙂


  11. Rachelle says:

    Awesome! Thanks for sharing. What group of students are you taking?


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