Monday, January 10, 2011

Explore Goa: Old Goa

A trip to Goa would not be complete without visiting Old Goa. My original plan was to Visit Old Goa on 3rd December, which is the feast of the church and its patron saint - St. Francis Xavier. It would have been fun shooting the throngs of people who gather on the feast day, dressed in their finest clothes. Unfortunately, due to scheduling problems, I landed in Goa after the feast day.

Old Goa, also known as Velha Goa, was the former capital of the Portuguese India from the 16th to the 18th century, until it was abandoned due to plague and the capital was moved to Panaji.

Old Goa houses some very important catholic churches, the most famous being the "Basilica of Bom Jesus", which has the remains of St. Francis Xavier.

Basilica of Bom Jesus

Intricate facade of Bom Jesus Church

The Church of Bom Jesus is a UNESCO world heritage site. Regular masses are conducted in this church and it is considered a privilege to get married in this church.

Interior of Basilica of Bom Jesus.
Close-up of the Altar.
Confessional box.
Cistern for holy water - not used anymore.
Remains of St. Francis Xavier.
Across from the Bom Jesus church is the Se Cathedral, one of the most oldest and most religious building in Goa, and is one of the largest churches in Asia.

Se Cathedral - Old Goa.
Sacred heart statue outside Se Cathedral.
Front facade of Se Cathedral.
Interior of Se Cathedral.
Traditional water well outside Se Cathedral.
Cross outside Se Cathedral.
Church of St. Catherine.
Nearby Se Cathedral is the church of St. Catherine, built in 1510 AD by Afonso de Albuquerque, to commemorate his entry into the city on St. Catherine's day.

I had planned to explore some more of Old Goa, but the weather was against me. It was extremely hot and I was getting tired of all the walking. I decided to call it quits and headed over to Panjim to cool down with a chilled beer with my friend.

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