Beaches, sand, party, spa and sun are not the only compelling reasons to visit Goa. The state hides many a hidden beauties under its lush green vegetation. Many visitors, especially ones from India, visit Goa more than once. They should, in my opinion plan out one visit just to appreciate and explore the many Churches of Goa.
1. Basilica of Bom Jesus:
Aside from its novel Baroque architectural style, this Basilica holds a preeminent position for the Goans because it holds the mortal remains of one of the benefactor Saints of Goa – St. Francis Xavier. Francis Xavier breathed his last breath on board a ship and his body was thereafter taken to Malacca, also a Portuguese settlement at that time in history. It was later concluded that he ought to be interred in Goa. On the landing of his body in Goa, over 2 years after his passing away, people of Goa saw that Francis Xavier’s body hadn’t deteriorated. The Church has considered this to be a supernatural occurrence and St. Francis Xavier’s body is put in plain view to the general population from time to time. A silver coffin made in the seventeenth Century holds the remains of this Saint.
2. Church of our Lady Immaculate
One of the most antiquated Churches in Goa, this Church is situated at the focal point of Panaji, the Capital City. The Church towers over the City with a statue of Mother Mary at the front casting a sweeping gaze at the inhabitants of the city. Initially made to welcome mariners home, the Church is more than 450 years of age and is perfectly preserved. The Church is an active place of worship even today with many Catholics coming in everyday to pay homage.
3. Church of St Catejan
Challenging pre-existing norms and standards, this Church was built by a couple of Greek and Italian ministers at the turn of the seventeenth Century. Modeled on the St Basilica Church of Rome, this church is very different from the rest of the Churches built in Goa during Portuguese rule. In spite of being more than 300 years of age, the structure is very well preserved, apparently because not many tourists come and visit this place.
4. Se Cathedral
Dedicated to St Catherine, this Church was built to commemorate Portuguese victory over the local rulers of Goa thereby establishing the first colonial establishment in India.
The church was later presented with the ceremonial golden rose in 1953 by Pope Pius the twelfth. Even with one lightening-induced collapsed tower, this church is a sight to behold!
For accommodation, there are plenty of hotels and beach resorts in south Goa to choose from. If one can afford to spend some money, there are many five star resorts in Goa to suit your taste.