Featured: St. Augustine Towers Ruins in Old Goa; Picture by Allistair Rodrigues
The Portuguese rule in Goa lasted for as long as 450 years. It is interesting to know that while the Portuguese ruled Goa, they were the first ones to introduce european architecture in Goa by building numerous churches and monuments. But did you know that there are so many other historical places in Goa which are a visible proof of the Hindu and muslim dynasties that ruled Goa even before the Portuguese came in to the scene.
Here’s a list of 30 impressive heritage sites in Goa which hold an immense importance in the history of Goa:
P.S: All the places below are tips posted by locals on Lokaso Android app and are listed in no particular order
1. Mae De Deus Church, Saligao
Lokaso Tip: “A beautiful church located at Saligao. It is amongst the finest in the Neo-Gothic Architectural sites and is attractively illuminated at night” – Santosh P & Nrupen Deshpande
The Mae de Deus or Mother of God Church is a breath-taking site with Gothic spires and pristine white walls. It was built in 1873 by the efforts of Parishioners and is a nice place to get some peaceful time off the busy streets.
2. Fort Aguada, Sinquerim
Lokaso Tip: “The light house at the Aguada fort is a place rich of Portuguese history” – Akbar Bagwan
The old Portuguese lighthouse, which stands in the middle of Fort Aguada, was built in 1864 and once housed the great bell from the Church of St Augustine in Old Goa, before it was moved to the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Panaji. It’s the oldest of its sort in Asia, but is usually not open to the public.
3. Ajoba Temple, Keri
Lokaso Tip: “The Ajoba Temple is located just off the Keri Beach. It’s towards the left side of the beach” – Marlon Moraes
A beautiful temple painted in turquoise and orange, located on the shores of Keri beach in Pernem. The much-famed jatra of Ajoba devasthan at Keri-Pernem happens in the first week of February. Devotees from Goa and neighbouring states, throng to the temple to witness this.
4. Fort of St. Estevam
Lokaso Tip: “In one of the most untouched islands of Goa, St. Estevam lies the remains of a fort with beautiful hill view whihc is perfect for sunsets” – Wesley Maciel
From the village of St. Estevam, the fort of Jua can be approached by means of a fairly formidable flight of rough steps. The view from the fort at Sant Estevam is actually scenic looking down towards the iron ore mines and loaded barges moving towards Mormugao. Originally, the fort was believed to serve as an outpost to protect Ilhas from Muslim invasions.
5. Safa Masjid , Ponda
Lokaso Tip: “If you’re around Ponda, make sure you stop by the beautiful Safa Masjid” – Viresh Vazirani
The Shahouri Masjid in Ponda taluka, the biggest and most famous of the mosques in Goa, was built in 1560 by Ibrahim Adilshah of Bijapur. Adjacent to the mosque is a well constructed masonry tank with small chambers with ‘meharab’ designs.
6. St. Augustine Tower, Old Goa
Lokaso Tip: “The remains of the St. Augustine Church which collapsed can still be found at Old Goa. All that’s left today of the church is the 46 metre tower, which served as a belfry and formed part of the church’s facade” – Marlon Moraes & Santosh P
The church was constructed in 1602 by Augustinian friars who had arrived in Old Goa in 1587 and was abandoned in 1835. You can see the ruins of eight chapels, four altars and extensive convent with numerous cells here.
7. Shantadurga Temple, Ponda
Lokaso Tip: “Shantadurga temple is a large temple complex at the foothill of Kavlem, Ponda. It has an impressive idol of Goddess Shree Durga who mediated between Vishnu and Shiva to stop the firece battle between them” – Abha Saxena
Located at the foothills of Kavlem village in Ponda district of Goa, the Shree Shantadurga temple is one of the popular pilgrimage centers in Goa. The temple was initially located at Cavelossim but when it was being destroyed by the Portuguese in 1564, the deity was shifted to Kavlem. A small laterite mud shrine was built and the deity was installed here and was converted into a beautiful temple in the next few years.
8. Se Cathedral, Old Goa
Lokaso Tip: “With Superb Iberian facade, soaring ceilings, fabulous mosaic work, intricate wood and gilded carvings, the See Cathedral is an absolute must-see” – Santosh P
One of the most ancient and celebrated religious buildings of Goa, this magnificent 16th century monument to the Roman Catholic rule in Goa under the Portuguese is the largest church in Asia. The Cathedral is dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria on whose feast day in 1510 Alfonso Albuquerque defeated the Muslim army and took possession of the city of Goa.
Lokaso Tip: “The abondoned for of Corjuem at Aldona, Mapusa” – Esteann Afonso
Located at a stone’s throw from the village of Aldona, the fort’s small size is covered up by its prime location atop the island of Corjuem, North Goa. The fort offers breathtaking views of the Goan landscape and the Mapusa river from its ancient ramparts. On your visit, make sure to learn about the fort’s unique history.
10. Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church, Panjim
Lokaso Tip: “In and around Panjim? Hit up at this church during the evenings for a spectacular view, great for photography. A calm and cool place for some quality time” – Joshua D’Souza & Noble Joseph
Not all of Goa’s ancient churches are concentrated in Velha Goa. A notable exception is the Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church which is located in Panjim. True to its name, the façade of this church is painted an immaculate, sparkling white. To the untrained eye, this might even believe the actual age and antiquity of this church that goes back to 500+ years.
11. Navdurga Temple, Madkai
Lokaso Tip: “If you’re around Ponda, do visit the Navdurga Temple at Madkai. The people living in its surrounding village are very nice and friendly” – Hiranyesh Adarkar
Dedicated to goddess Navdurga, the Shri Navdurga temple is situated 28 kms from Panjim at Madkai which is in Ponda. In 1603 this temple that is more than 500 years old was renovated. The presiding deity worshipped at the Navdurga temple at Madkai is a fierce form of goddess Durga.
12. Our Lady of the Mount Church, Old Goa
Lokaso Tip: “One of the big list of churches in and around Old Goa. Visit this beautiful Chapel with an awesome panoramic view of the town of Old Goa” – Anuj Chauhan
With simple exteriors, lavish interiors and wealth of historical significance, this chapel is what one might call a hidden treasure. Its plain whitewashed walls present a delightful picture at sunset, and the view from its vantage point is truly breath taking. Situated as it is atop the Monte, it overlooks the expanse of the Mandovi and the islands of Diwar and Chorao.
13. Chapel of Jesus Nazareth, Siridao
Lokaso Tip: “A Chapel with a scenic view. Get a mindblowing viiew of the sea from the projecting rocks behind the church” – Pranav Raut Dessai
It is a small chapel located along the shore of Siridao Beach, with a bell at the top of the structure. The church building is surrounded by greenery on all sides. Behind the main building is a huge dome structure, which is also part of the chapel. This shrine is famous for the Feast of Jesus of Nazareth, which is celebrated there during the first week of Easter.
14. The Monument of Christ the King, St. Estevam
Lokaso Tip: “Christ the King monument located near St.Estevam Fort was built in 1934 by the Parish Priest along with its parishioners. The view from this place is so scenic and dramatic that you fall in love with it at first sight” – Marlon Moraes & Prathamesh Parmekar
Situated on the hill of Santo Estevam, this monument was inaugurated on 6th Dec, 1934. It was built by Rev. Fr. Antonio Leandro Roberto da Rosa with the help and cooperation of all villagers. It is said that each family had to contribute one stone for the construction of the steps leading to the hillock and the construction of the monument itself. Each villager contributed according to his ability and capacity towards this cause.
15. Rudreshwar Temple, Arvalem
Lokaso Tip: “The Rudreshwar Temple located near the ArvalemWaterfalls holds great importance for Hindus who believe in releasing the soul on the 12th day” – Marlon Moraes
The temple of Rudreshwar which is half a km away from the Arvalem caves where the ancient linga of Rudreshwar is venerated is located in the Bicholim Taluka. Shree Rudreshwar Temple is newly built on the site of an age old ancient site and is also known as the temple of Lord Shiva. The noteworthy Harvalem waterfalls is close by.
16. Church of St. Francis of Assisi
Lokaso Tip: “A symbol of historic legacy of Goa. A very divine holding a great reverance amongst the Goans” – Soubin Nath
The Church of St. Francis of Assisi was built in 1661 by the Portuguese. The three tier facade have octagonal towers on each side and in the central niche there is a statue of St. Michael. Above the tabernacle in the main altar is a large statue of St. Francis of Assisi and Jesus on the cross, statues of St. Peter and St. Paul are seen below.
17. Our Lady of Rosary Church, Siridao
Lokaso Tip: “This Church is situated at Siridao beach where thousands of devotees gathe during the annual feast which is held in the first week of Easter” – Rajat Kishore
Popularly called ‘The Siridao Church’ locally in Goa, this was initially a primitive church founded by the Dominicans between 1554 and 1603 which collapsed entirely in 1869. The parish territory of the Siridao Church was then joined to Goa Velha. When the Siridao church was being re-built as a parish in 1906, Siridao was administered from a chapel.
18. The Church of the Cross of Miracles (Khuris Milagre)
Lokaso Tip: “The Khuris Milagre (Miraculous Cross) Chapel at Bainguinim, Old goa is 390+ years old. The feast of the Cross of Miracles is celebrated every February 23rd” – Esteann Afonso
A church, specially built in 1619 to house the Cross of Miracles, having crumbled, the present church was built on the same spot in 1674. From 1961 Goans began to celebrate the mass on the 23rd of every month in the church of the Holy Cross on the Boa Vista hill. The dilapidated church was rebuilt and the devotion of the miraculous cross was renewed.
19. Tiracol Fort
Lokaso Tip: “The St. Anthony of Padua Church at the Tiracol Fort was founded in 1746 as a small chapel which got converted into a church in 1934. The annual feast is celebrated on 13rd June” – Marlon Moraes
Fort Tiracol was a symbolic location where freedom fighters from Goa demonstrated from time to time. A Church for the Holy Trinity was constructed in the fort courtyard by de Almeida after its capture. This later became the century old Church of St. Anthony. Now, in a state of ruins, Fort Tiracol has been converted into a hotel, the Fort Tiracol Heritage. The church is not open to the general public except on certain occasions, such as the annual feast that is usually held in May.
20. Christ the King (Rei Krist), Chorao Island
Lokaso Tip: “The road leading to St. Bartholomeow will take you right up to this famous monument in Chorao, Christ the King. Star gazing is amazing from here” – Marlon Moraes
There are many places in Goa which are just as historically and socially important as the huge churches, especially those tucked away not in the tourist belt, and one of them is the peaceful and imposing statue of Christ the King (Krist Rei) on the highest point of Chorao Island. The view of the Chorao island from this point is absolutely marvelous and peaceful.
21. Nagueshi Temple, Ponda
Lokaso Tip: “Try going to this place in the morning, you may even stand a chance to swim across” – Tejas Fadte
Nagueshi Temple is an ancient Lord Shiva temple built in the 15th Century near Mangeshi temple. Situated in Bandora Village, this temple lies 4 kms to the east of Ponda. Unlike many other Hindu temples of Goa which were shifted out of the Velha Conquistas the Nagueshi Temple is at its original place.
22. Sao Tome Chapel, Aldona
Lokaso Tip: “The Sao Tome Church erected in the 15th century stands at the heart of the well known village of aldona” – Wesley Maciel
23. Sinquerim Fort
Lokaso Tip: “Mesmerizing beauty just outside Taj Vivanta. A monsoon visit to this place is a must” – Vandana Barke
The Sinquerim fort covers a wider area and is guarded by fortified walls on both sides. During its younger days, the fort served as a landmark for passing ships and also doubled up as a stopover for replenishing fuel and food supplies. Taj Vivanta has occupied the nearby property now but the major portion of the fort is still intact and open for public.
24. St. Cajetan Church, Old Goa
Lokaso Tip: “It is an amazing church which is said to have modelled on the original design of the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome” – Joshin Mathew
The large Church of St. Cajetan, lies about half a kilometer away to the north east of the Se Cathedral, and quite near the ruins of the Viceregal Palace. This church constructed in corinthian style is one of the most beautiful churches in Old Goa.
25. Shree Mangeshi Temple, Ponda
Lokaso Tip: “Dedicated to Lord Shiva, it is considered as one of the most important temples in Goa.” – Santosh P
The beautiful temple of Mangueshi is situated 22 kms from Panjim at Priol in the Ponda Taluka. It is dedicated to Lord Mangueshi, a form of Shiva, which is recognised only in Goa. Earlier, the shrine of Mangesh at Priol was simple and nestled amongst the palm groves of the valley since the linga was in Priol for more than four centuries. It was only until the middle of the 18th century, the temple was revived by the Maratha Generals.
26. Mahadev Temple, Tambdi Surla
Lokaso Tip: “Tambdi Surla temple is a 12th century Shaivite temple. It’s the oldest temple of Goa and dedicated to Lord Shiva” – Marlon Moraes & Nrupen Deshpande
The most ancient temple in the whole of Goa is located at a place called Tambi Surla. It is the only surviving structure of the Kadamba Yadava dynasty in Goa. This small temple dedicated to Lord Shiva has a pillared porch and three stepped entrances and the shrine surmounted by a tower.
27. Reis Magos Fort
Lokaso Tip: “This place gives you an idea of how Goa has evolved over the years since the Portuguese rule. A sheer brilliance can be seen in their gallery” – Tejas Fadte
The fort which stands on the hill overlooking the Reis Magos Church today, was one of the first bastions of the Portuguese rulers against enemy invasion. The fort has also been skilfully repaired in recent years and partly restored to its former glory. It is clearly visible, with its distinctive reddish stone walls, all the way from Panaji which lies across the Mandovi River from it.
28. Church of St. Catherine, Old Goa
Lokaso Tip: “Built of laterite stones in the 14th century on St.Catherine’s Day. Hence the name.” – Aishwarya Krishnan
St. Catherine is a small chapel but its importance can be gauged by reading an inscribed slab there which shows that Albuquerque had built an earlier structure in 1510 to commemorate his entry into the city and dedicated it to the saint to whom he ascribed his victory. It was demolished to make way for this chapel. Pope Paul III issued a bill in 1534 raising this chapel to the state of cathedral and it remained so till the new cathedral was constructed.
29. Three Kings Church, Cansaulim
Lokaso Tip: “The view from the three kings chapel at Cansaulim is breathtakingly beautiful. Its feast is celebrated on 6th January every year.” – Esteann Afonso
Located on a hill off the coastal road that goes from Velsao all the way to Cavelossim this place is truly off the beaten path though not all that difficult to find really. This location is visited by locals and the odd tourist only. It is a great place to enjoy the fantastic views of hills in peace and quite famous for the feast of three kings, celebrated with great fervour.
30. Ramnathi Temple, Ponda
Lokaso Tip: “Ramnathi is a very old temple located around Bandora, Ponda” – Viresh Vazirani
The original temple of Ramnathi in Goa, was located in Loutolim, Goa. The Idol of Ramnathi was shifted to the present site in the 16th century to prevent its destruction by the then Portuguese authorities. In May 2011, the Ramnathi temple completed 450 years at its present location.
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