Goa is young India’s favourite holiday destination. Come December, half the country flocks to this coastal state to bring in the New Year, to revel, to unwind. Of all places to visit in Goa, most people invariably flock to the beach and visit a couple of famous shacks.
However, the state that once the Portuguese called home has plenty to offer outside the realm of the obvious and ordinary. In fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the best places to visit in Goa are the ones that attract the curious tourist and the unassuming local.
Churches of Goa are probably the most amazing practical lesson in history, art and architecture. They are grand, full of lore and eerily inviting.
1. Basilica of Bom Jesus, Old Goa
Yes, Aswem Beach and Calangute Beach are the places to visit in North Goa; just as is Basilica of Bom Jesus. The construction of the church was completed in 1604 AD and its 3-tier structure combination of Doric, Corinthian and Composite styles is what sets it apart from other churches. The fact that the church holds the remains of St. Francis Xavier, Patron Saint of Goa, is what endears it to locals and tourists alike.
2. Mary Immaculate Conception Church, Panjim
This is the church with a halo, literally! The flame of the candles and the light from the many tiny bulbs is what gives the Mary Immaculate Conception Church in Panjim a specter like glow that would make one think that the church has been blessed with the Divine Light. To see the church in all its glory, visit it during the annual 3-day fete and the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima.
3. Se Cathedral
One of oldest and most revered church in Goa, Se Cathedral Santa Catarina also holds the title of one of the largest churches in Asia. The church was built in the Portuguese-Manueline architectural style in 1510 AD to commemorate the victory of the Portuguese forces over the enemy. The church is famous for its 5 bells, one of which is celebrated and imposing Golden Bell – the biggest in all of Goa and one of the best in the world.
4. Church of St. Alex, Curtorim
Of all places to visit in South Goa, a trip to the Church of St. Alex is a must. This is one of the oldest churches in Goa and is the first chapel-church. The church is situated on the banks of the Angoddi Tollem lake which gives it a natural scenic background along with the peace and quiet that is an inherent characteristic of any church.