Basilica of Bom Jesus Church
Where: Old Goa Rd, Bainguinim, Goa ? 403402
Timings: 9:00am- 6:30pm; Sunday Mass: 8am and 9:15am
Major Attractions: UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Basilica of Bom Jesus Church is one of its kind, famous for its magnificent baroque architecture. The church was built in the year 1594 and was consecrated in 1605, that makes the construction coincide with the advent of Christianity in India. It is the oldest church in Goa, and has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its rich cultural and religious significance. The church holds the remains of St. Francis Xavier, a close friend of St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of Society of Jesus (Jesuits). The remains are in perfectly good condition even after 400 years, and it is taken out once every 10 years. It stands as the only church in Goa that is not plastered from the outside. The fa?ade of the church is triangular in shade with the delicate carvings of the initials ?HIS? denoting Jesuit emblem meaning 'Jesus, Saviour of Men'. The interior of the church is beautifully done with marble mosaic ornamented with precious stones. There is an embellished screen that stretches from the floor to the ceiling with the image of St. Ignatius Loyola as the savior of infant Jesus. The image of Holy Trinity is at the top, embarking the most sacred symbol of Christianity.
Shri Shantadurga Temple
Where: Kapileswari - Kavlem Rd, Donshiwado, Ponda, Goa 403401
Major Attractions: Golden palanquin to carry the deity during festivals
Shri Shantadurga Temple is a private temple complex that belongs to the Goud Saraswat Brahmin community in Goa. Located at 30 km from Panaji, the temple structure was built during 1713 AD to 1738 AD by Naroram Rege Mantri. The main deity of the temple is goddess Shantadurga, who mediates between Vishnu and Shiva. Colloquially also called as Santeri, the goddess is worshipped in the form of a massive idol holding two serpents, one in each hand. These serpents represent Vishnu and Shiva which relate to the legends that speak of a battle between Shiva and Vishnu which was stopped by Goddess Parvati as requested by God Brahma. The temple was relocated from Keloshi to the spot where it is now, after the Portuguese gained control over the state. The original temple was destroyed by the Portuguese in 1566, and the present one was built by during the reign of Maratha ruler Chattrapati Shahu Maharaj of Satara in about 1738 A.D. It is a visual treat to watch the Indo-Portuguese style of architecture in the temple, and also to behold the beauty of the magnificent idol of the goddess. The highlight of the temple is its golden palanquin (palki) in which the deity is carried on festive occasions (Mahapanchmi).
Safa Shahouri Masjid
Where: Shahpur Road, Electricity Dept Staff, Residential Colony, Ponda, Goa 403724, India
Major Attractions: Lush green and serene water tank of the surrounding
Safa Shahouri Masjid or the Safa Mosque is a mausoleum located at Ponda that dates back to the times of Adil Shah. The exact date or details of the mosque is not found as it doesn?t bear any inscription. However, the nearby mosque built by the Bijapuri ruler Ibrahim Adil Shah I in 1560 about 2 km from center of Ponda indicates that Safa Mosque too was probably built during the same era, the 16th century. The mosque is a small and simple structure which doesn?t have to flaunt much, except for the age-old essence of serenity and purity. The construction has been declared as a national monument. The simple architecture of the monument is worth a halt and a treat to the eyes as well as to the soul that feels pure and fresh. The surrounding with lush green grasslands balancing the sight of the serene water tank in the foreground is quite a sight for one and all who is visiting the spot for spiritual significance. The atmosphere is tranquil and suitable to experience a moment of peace close to the divine powers of the God.
Where: Velha, Goa 403402
Major Attractions: UNESCO World Heritage Site for its architectural excellence
Se Cathedral in Goa, famous for its majestic white beauty, is a shrine dedicated to Saint Catherine. Also known as the S? Catedral de Santa Catarina, the cathedral is an important centre of the Latin Rite Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Goa and Daman. It is counted among the largest churches in Asia which took almost 80 years to construct. The church is declared as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO owing to the grandeur of its architectural wonder and the dignified aura. The edifice of the cathedral portrays a beautiful example of the elegant architectural style of the Portuguese-Manueline era that dates back to the 16th century. Interestingly, the interior of the cathedral is laid out in the form of a crucifix even though the exterior appears rectangular in shape. There are five bells in the cathedral among which the famous Golden Bell is the biggest in Goa and one of the biggest in Asia. The design of the church is simple yet elegant, and consists of 14 intricately carved altars. There are several legends associated with the church among which the most popular one says that a vision of Jesus Christ appeared here after which the cross has been noticed to be growing in size.
Shri Mahalaxmi Temple
Where: Bandiwade, Ponda, Goa, 403401
Timings: 6:30am-12:45pm and 4:30pm-8:30pm
Major Attractions: Peaceful ambience and exotic surrounding
The Shri Mahalaxmi Temple is a famous temple in Goa built in lines with the actual Mahalaxmi Temple situated in Kolhapur, Maharashtra. The presiding deity is Shri Mahalaxmi who is worshipped here as the Goddess of Peace. The temple is considered as the abode of the original Goddess of the Shakti cult and draws thousands of devotees who seek moksha and nirvana. The temple was built in the early 19th century by the Hindus, to be grateful for their peaceful relationship with the Portuguese in Bandora. The Mahalaxmi is worshipped in the form of Mother of all Universes who is responsible to raise three superpowers of Hindu mythology ? Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver and Shiva the destroyer. The temple stands in the hollows of valley with a small arched entrance that opens of the main temple complex. The main temple is red-plastered with an octagonal domed towers and flat-domes at the main towers making it attractive. There are designed arts of Hanuman, Jatayu and magnificently carved doors in wood with Ganesha?s carvings done beautifully. A dynamic silver arched doorway leads from the pillared hall to sanctuary where paintings depicting lessons of Bhagwat Puran are displayed on twenty-four wooden panels painted lightly.
Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception
Where: Rua Em?dio Garcia, Altinho, Panaji, Goa ? 403001
Timings: 9:00am - 12:30pm and 3:30pm- 7:30pm
Major Attractions: The huge bell at the top and the grand construction at the corner of the busy streets
The Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception is one of the most popular tourist spots, mainly recognized for its location and beautiful architecture. Nesteld on a hilltop amidst the busy streets of Goa that pass by, the position, architecture and interiors ? everything is worth admiring. You need to climb up quite a number of stairs to reach the top which offers a great panoramic view of the entire city. The colonial Portuguese Baroque style church was built as a chapel in 1541 with the aim to let the Portuguese sailors pray at their first port of call in colonial Portuguese India. The chapel was later replaced by a larger church in the 1600s as part of Portuguese Goa's religious expansion. The ancient bell, which was found from the Augustinian ruins of the Church of Our Lady of Grace, gracefully shines at the top as the second largest bell of Goa. The exterior of the church is rich with Portuguese Baroque style architectural elements and is painted bright white to signify the immaculate Virgin Mary. The fa?ade is visible from a great distance and is often known as the ?crown? of Panjim for its distinctly visible towers and centrally placed taller belfry which houses the bell. The church is a favorite among the tourists as well as a great shooting spot for Bollywood movies.
Church of St. Cajetan
Where: Velha Goa, Goa ? 403402
Timings: 9:00am-12:00pm; 4:00pm-7:00pm
Major Attractions: Uncanny resemblance with the St Peters Basilica in Rome
The Church of St. Cajetan is the church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Goa and Daman and is considered as a part of the World Heritage Site, Churches and Convents of Goa. The only surviving domed structure in Goa is named after St Cajetan, the founder of the Theatine, though the shrine is dedicated to Our Lady of Divine Providence. The church, also known as the Church of Divine Providence, was built in the second half of the 17th century, and has a significant similarity with the St Peters Basilica in Rome. There are three altars on each side of the church ? the left ones are dedicated to the Holy Family, Our Lady of Piety and St.Clare, while the right side altars are dedicated to St. Agnes, St. Cajetan and St. John. The building dates back to 300-years and is still wonderfully maintained and taken care of. The construction style is purely Corinthian from both internally as well as externally which can be noticed in the blend of mosaic in the Baroque elements in the gilded altars. Mainly visited for its graceful architectural contributions, a large number of Catholic devotees and tourists visit the church on a regular basis.
Sri Mahadeva Temple
Where: Bicholim Town, Santo Estevao (Jua) Island, Ilha Verde, Corlim Village, Goa, 403110
Timings: 6:30am-12:45pm and 4:30pm-8:30pm
Major Attractions: Beautiful construction in basalt amidst the lush green
Sri Mahadeva Temple is one of the oldest temples in Goa built by Hemadri, the minister of King Ramachandra of the Yadava Dynasty. Though the main influence in the architectural style is of Yadava Dynasty, influences of construction style typically of the Kadamba Dynasty can also be seen. The temple is made of basalt rocks brought down from the Deccan Plateau. Beautifully adorned with skilled carvings on the exterior as well as interior of the temple, it portrays the marvelous craftsmanship of that era. The main deity of the temple is Lord Mahadev who is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva. The temple is mainly famous for its three-day Gade festival celebrated during February and March (Phagun month in Hindu calendar). This annual festival is celebrated with much pomp and show evoking spiritual vibes among thousands of devotees and tourists who come down to have a ?darshan? (sight) of Devchars. Sri Mahadeva Temple is an ideal choice as a place where spiritual journey and inner peace are primarily looked for. Additionally for its naturally blissful surrounding, the temple has a unique charm adding to the overall experience.
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