Old Goa India
10 kms east of Panaji.
Se Cathedral, Church of St. Francis of
Assisi, Chapel of St. Catherine, The Professed House and Basilica of Bom
Jesus, Church of St. Cajetan, Viceroy's Arch, Church of St. Monica etc.
Best Time To Visit :
October to May.
Introducing Old Goa
swaying palms, stretches of golden sand and the bright sun - this is what
lures tourists like you to Goa and as such very few of you venture beyond
the beaches. However, in reality, the beauty of Goa lies not only in its
sun, sea and sand, but also in its glorious historical and cultural
heritage. This heritage is very much evident for you to see in the sleepy
town of Old Goa.
Also known as Velha Goa, Old Goa lies 10 kms to the east of Panaji, the
capital of the state of Goa. Walking down the history lanes, you will
discover that Old Goa was founded by Adil Shah and it reached the pinnacle
of fame and glory during the Portuguese reign. The Portuguese explorer
Alfonso de Albuquere captured Goa in 1510 and made Old Goa the centre of
power of the Portuguese colonies. Later, in the year 1843, the town was
abandoned by the Portuguese when the capital of Goa was shifted to Panaji.
Today, Old Goa with its exquisite group of churches, is a UNESCO World
Heritage Site. The churches and other structures of Old Goa provide you a
glimpse of a bygone era and give an idea of what this place must have been
like in those times. So, do take a drive through the interiors of Old Goa
and experience its unique cultural heritage.
How to Reach
By Air :
Nearest airport is at Dabolim which is 32 kms
from Panaji. The airport is connected with Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore by
flights of Indian Airlines flights and the private carriers.
By Train :
Vasco-da-Gama is the nearest railway station
which is 35 kms from Panaji. The Konkan railways makes Goa easily accessible
by rail from major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Mangalore as well
as other cities of India.
By Bus :
Old Goa lies on the National Highway 4 A and is
easily accessible from Panaji and other important places of Goa. Luxury and
ordinary buses are available from all the major towns of Goa.
By Sea :
Catamaran Service is available from Mumbai to
Panaji from October to April.
Places Where You Can Stay
Accommodation is not available for tourists at Old Goa, you have to stay in
Panaji which has good western style hotels and restaurants.
Deluxe Hotels :
Goa Marriott Resort (Miramar, Panaji),
3 Star Hotel :
Hotel Mandovi (D.B. Bandodkar Marg,
2 Star Hotel :
Hotel Nova Goa (Panaji), Hotel Solmar
(Panaji), Panjim Inn (Panaji).
Tourist Attractions in Old Goa
One of the largest churches in Goa, the Se Cathedral
church remained under construction for nearly three-fourths of a century.
The construction was begun in 1562 during the reign of King Dom Sebastiao,
the main body of the church was completed in 1619 and the altars in 1652.
The Cathedral was built by the Portuguese government for the Dominicans from
out of the proceeds of the sale of the Crown's property. Architecturally,
Portuguese-Gothic in style, the exterior of the church is Tuscan and the
interior is Corinthian. Originally there were two towers, one of which on
the southern side collapsed in 1776. The existing tower boasts of the
'Golden Bell', the largest bell in Goa. The main altar is dedicated to St.
Catherine and walls on either side are painted with scenes from her life.
Convent of St. Francis of Assisi :
Built for the Franciscan friars
in 1521 and reconstructed in 1661, the Church and Convent of St. Francis of
Assisi is one of the most interesting buildings in Old Goa. The structure is
built of laterite blocks and is lime-plastered. The building has gilded and
carved woodwork and old murals which depict scenes from the life of St.
Francis. The exterior of the Church is in the Tuscan style while the main
entrance is in the Manuline style. The Convent which forms an annexure to
the Church was converted to an Archaeological Museum in 1964. The museum has
a rich collection of portraits of the Portuguese viceroys and governors of
Goa. Other interesting collections are fragments of sculpture from Hindu
sites, statue of Albuquerque, a model of Vaso-da-Gama's, Sao Gabriel and the
bronze statue of St. Catherine.
Church of Our
Lady of the Rosary :
The Church of Our Lady of the Rosary is
located uphill to the south of the Basilica of the Born Jesus. Built of
laterite and plastered with lime mortar, the church has a double-storeyed
portico. The portico as well as the facade of the church have rounded towers
on either side. The roof is tiled and supported by wooden rafter. The Church
has two chapels and three altars.
Professed House and Basilica of Bom Jesus :
The Basilica of Bom
Jesus represents the rich and varied heritage of Goa. The church of Bom
Jesus is famous throughout the Roman Catholic world as it contains the tomb
and mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, who was given the task of
spreading Christianity in 1541 among the people of the Portuguese colonies
in the east. The Basilica of Bom Jesus is also a laterite structure.
Initially its exterior was lime plastered however, it was subsequently
removed. The church was built on the cruciform plan and the roof was
originally tiled. The flying butterflies on the northern side of the church
are the latest additions.
Immediately to the south of the main road is the Professed House, which is
a two-storeyed laterite building covered with lime plaster. Despite much
opposition from the Jesuits the building was completed in 1585. A part of
the Professed House was burnt down in 1663 and was rebuilt in 1783.
of St. Cajetan :
Opposite the Se Cathedral, beyond the road is the
beautiful Church of St. Cajetan. The Italian friars of the Order of Thetaine
(1656-1700) built this diminutive domed church on the lines of St. Peter's
Church in Rome. The church is architecturally Corinthian both externally and
internally, while the glided altars are in baroque style. In keeping with
the general rule of Theatian order, the church has no separate towers but
Chapel of St. Catherine :
Chapel of St. Catherine is
located to the south of Church of St. Francis of Assisi and the Se
Cathedral. Alfonso de Albuquerque built the original mud structure in 1510
and a stone chapel replaced the thatched structure a few years later. A new
altar was installed in the year 1550. Built of laterite block, the chapel
has a tower on either side of the facade. A semicircular niche above the
window has an image of St. Catherine. In 1951, the chapel was restored with
the help of Portuguese architect Baltazar de Castro.
Viceroy's Arch :
The main road in front of the Church of
St. Cajetan leads to the Mandovi river through an archway known as Viceroy's
Arch. The original structure was built by the Portuguese Governor, Francisco
da Gama in 1599 and was completely rebuilt in 1954. Viceroy's Arch is made
entirely of laterite except the facade on the river side which is facetted
with greenish granite. The facade has a niche at the top with a statue of
Vasco da Gama, correspondingly in the rear is a statue of the Argonaut.
There are two inscribed slabs alongside the walls of the arch.
The Gate of the Palace of Yusuf Adil Shah :
The Gate of
the Palace of Adil Shah is a gateway of basalt pillars and consists of a
horizontal lintel resting on pillars decorated with mouldings. The Palace of
Adil Shah was residence of the Portuguese Governors till 1695 and was
afterwards used by them on festive occasions. The dilapidated building was
demolished in 1820 for constructions of houses and only the gate remained.
The architecture of the gate is purely Brahmanical is style and it suggests
Tower of Church of St. Augustine :
The Church was built in
1602 for the Augustinian friars who arrived in Goa in 1587. Due to religious
suppression in 1835, the Augustinians deserted the church and monastery. The
vault collapsed in 1842 followed by the facade and half of the tower in
1931. Some more parts of the church collapsed in 1938. The church was
dedicated to Our Lady of Grace, and all that's left to see today is the
belfry of the tower that is nearly 46 m high.
Royal Chapel of St. Anthony :
The Royal Chapel is
dedicated to the St. Anthony, the national saint of Portugal. It was built
in the year 1543 but was closed in 1835. It re-opened in 1894 when it is was
renovated. The chapel is semicircular in shape and it has an unusually
styled facade, not based on any architectural style.
Convent and Church of St. Monica :
Just before the Church
of Our Lady the Rosary on Holy Hill is the Church and Convent of St. Monica.
The construction of the Church and Convent was commenced in 1606 and
completed in 1627. This royal monastery is a huge three-storeyed building of
laterite which was originally lime-plastered and is now plastered with
cement. The church in the monastery is dedicated to St. Mary.
Old Goa Tour Packages
Features : Once the capital
of Goa, Old Goa is located 10 kms east of new capital, Panaji. On the
second day of your Goa tour, you will visit the beautiful town of Old
Goa. The Portuguese churches and convents are the main attractions in
Old Goa. Visit the churches of Old Goa to get a close look of the
Portuguese architecture as well as understand their historic connection.
Built in the European style with picturesque interiors, the Old Goa
churches will certainly leave you spellbound.
Features : India by Day and
Night Tour takes you to Old Goa on seventh day of your trip. On this
package, visit the town of Old Goa and see a number of churches, built
in the 17th and 18th century by Portuguese. Constructed in the pure
Portuguese style, the Old Churches are noted for their superb
architecture, which you can see, both in their interior as well as
Features : A 22-days tour
package, Rajasthan Heritage and Goa takes you to the town of Old Goa, on
day 17. Visit this town on this package and get a good chance to see
imposing churches, built by the Portuguese rulers. On this tour you can
visit the popular churches namely Basilica de Bom Jesus, Church of Lady
Rosary, Se Cathedral and Church and Convent of St. Francis of Assisi.
Features : Best of South
India, a 13 days tour, takes you to the beautiful state of Goa on very
first Day of your trip. Popularly known as tropical paradise, Goa is
home to enchanting tourist destinations namely Panaji, Old Goa, Mapusa,
Vasco da Gama, Margao, Canacona and Ponda. Each of these destinations
has a gamut of attractions, both in terms of sightseeing and activities.
Visit these tourist destinations on this tour and avail a good chance to
explore and enjoy these attractions.