Goa’s Monumental Heritage – Listen To The Forgotten Tales of The Past Goa

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Tourists, from all over the world, crowd in Goa mostly to mess with the golden sands sprawled in its stunning beaches or simply to taste adrenaline in its turquoise waters. But, few know that beyond this mesmerising coastline, in Goa’s esoteric little towns, nestles the rich cultural heritage of this Portuguese influenced state, a treasure trove of architectural marvels.

Along the coast, atop rocky cliffs are Goa’s rugged forts, that stand as sentinels of time. Dotting the countryside beyond, amidst manicured emerald paddy fields are divine houses of sanctity, churches that afford a great contrast of white and green, and against the backdrop of dense coconut plantations, grand Portuguese-styled country mansions, that still enchant every visitor with their archaic Portuguese flavour. So don’t miss the chance to explore the monumental mysteries that pepper this palm-fringed state and add a newer dimension to your fun-filled holiday vacations.

Goa’s Churches – An Ambrosial Blend of Devotion And Artistry

Old Goa has an ethereal collection of convents, churches and a cathedral erected in the 16th and 17th centuries, and in villages all over Goa are scores of parochial churches, built during the 18th and 19th centuries. In fact, from 16th century onwards, architecture was influenced by the impact of colonial rule, as were all prevalent art forms. Today, you can see a harmonius symbiosis reflected in Goa’s culture, its manifestation most impressive and vibrant in this state’s Christian architectural heritage. Travel to St. Francis Tomb at the venerable Basilica de Bom Jesu, in Old Goa, which is among the foremost of Christian pilgrimage destinations in the East and more importantly a world heritage site. Spare out some time of your holiday vacation to visit the Royal Chapel of St. Anthony and the Convent of St. John of God, nestling nearby. You will be amazed to see an impressive array of medieval European architecture – a beautiful amalgamation of Portuguese-Gothic style with a Tuscan exterior and Corinthian interior – displayed inside the walls.

Goa’s Sacred Shrines of Impressive ArchitectureA cult of secularity is beautifully portrayed in the Hindu temples, the detailing and embellishments of which display an impeccable blend of Christian and Muslim architecture. Following an humongous extirpation of Hindu temples by the Portuguese, when the artisans were employed to reincarnate the sacred shrines, they incorporated an unique concoction, the Indo-Christian style of architecture, which still enthralls every tourist. The hilly terrain around Ponda has clusters of sacred Hindu shrines nestled on its verdant slopes and in its valleys sheltered by areca nut and spice plantations. Drive on NH 4A to reach Shri Mahalsa Temple at Mardol, whose rare deity, Mohini (the female form of Lord Vishnu) dates back to the 17th century. Here you can see a 21-tiered ‘deepmal’ (a tower of lamps) with exquisitely carved parakeet motifs and an extraordinary woodwork on the shikara. Travel to Kavlem to behold the classy Shantadurga Temple and you will be overwhelmed to see a remarkable decorative effect – an unusual pagoda with a roof of stone slabs – much uncommon in Hindu temples of Goa.

Goa’s Forts – Placards of Power, Now A Pleasure Stay

Stretching from Tiracol Fort at the northern most tip of Goa, to Cabo da Rama Fort in the south, are remnants of colossal castles that once guarded Portugal’s newly annexed territory from land and sea conquests, now stand as magnificent placards of chivalry. Once a burning glory of military prowess, most of these forts, now have fallen to ruins with only a few being renovated as heritage sites by the tourism department. Enjoy a pleasurable holiday stay at the Tiracol Fort, the rooms of which have now being converted into a heritage hotel. Visit the Chapora Fort on the banks of Chapora River to see the colossal laterite walls and cupola-shaped turrets that provide a picturesque view of the Vagator Beach at sunset.

Goa’s Quaint Country Mansions

Peppered all across Margao, within a 30 minute drive, are quintessential Goan country mansions that have caged the imperial time up on their sleeves. The villages offers its tourists a grand collection of ornate mansions built between 18th and 20th centuries, when Indian and European influences met. Drive to Loutolim and the first thing you see, should be the Figueredo Mansion, a perfect example of a house raised on a high plinth. Bedecked with a pyramidal tiled roof and resting on massive coloumns which are often fluted with elaborately moulded capitals, this magnificent mansion is indeed a must see for every traveller in Goa. A holiday stay in Chandor would gift you the pleasure of visiting the Braganza Pereira Mansion, the sheer scale and proportion of which together with the magnificence of its interiors, makes this the grandest of all country mansions.

A Trail of Heritage Resurrection in Goa

The best part of Goan heritage sites is that, these monuments still carry their own distinct identity. After a 450 years of colonial Portuguese rule, the heritage pads show an exclusive east-west amalgamation of exquisite architectural styles. It is only in Goa that you will find chandeliers oscillating in Hindu temples, sloping roofs over mosques and Hindu motifs adorning Christian altars. The tourism department of Goa has taken appreciative measures to renovate many of these monuments. Even many of the old solitary forts have been moulded as heritage hotels where tourists can stay and enjoy the old Portuguese royal pleasures during their stay.

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