Looking around Old Goa in India.

The once Portuguese city of Old Goa has quite a few beautiful buildings to admire and is a -must- visit destination if staying in Goa.

Old Goa was constructed by the Bijapur Sultanate during the 15th century and was the capital of that part of Eastern India which was controlled by Portugal up to the 18th century when it was abandoned due to plague. Due to the Portuguese religious influence there are some really beautiful churches and other buildings around to admire. In the 16th century Old Goa was a really vibrant city containing merchants, missionaries wealth many arrive to trade all manner of goods and was a really wealthy place.

Various ways of getting to Old Goa.

This is really easy if you are staying at or near Panaji since there is a frequent bus service out to Old Goa which drops off right in the centre of things. Since Old Goa is only around 9kms from Panaji an alternative and as always quite good fun would be to take an auto-rickshaw. Coach trips out to Old Goa are usually available from hotels. The thing is they almost always try to pack everything into a short time - perhaps only stopping for an hour or two and then only marching you around behind their "follow me" flags to just one of two places.
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St John The Baptist Church in Old Goa, India. The beautiful Altar at St John Baptist Church, Old Goa, India. St John Baptist decorated balcony, Old Goa, India. A much more interesting way to get to Old Goa is to hire a car and driver for the day - you do need at least half a day to explore the area which is best done on foot. If you chose to hire a car and driver then it's worth looking at a map and perhaps including some other places to visit and make a full day of things. The Photos on the left are of St John Baptist which can be stopped off at on the way. Other places reached on a circuit could be Sahakari Spice Farm, Aguada Fort and perhaps look at the nice temples around Ponda. If you do decide to hire a car and driver then avoid booking via your hotel which will charge you extra for doing it and then shove on their taxes on top of that. Simply ask around the taxi drivers because they will do a cash deal in most cases or know someone who will do so.

In olden day most of the people arriving in Old Goa did so by ship via the Mandovi River and entry into the city was via Viceroys Arch (which was built by Francisco da Gama). The Palace of Adil Shah was also used as the Viceroys Residence but the lintle and basalt pillars which once formed part of the gateway are all that survive. The photos and information show a wander around what is actually quite a small area starting out from the Viceroys Arch - if you start from there all the various buildings of interest are clearly marked.
Divar Ferry crossing the Mandovi River at Old Goa, India.
Divar Ferry
The Viceroy's Arch, Old Goa, India.
Viceroys Arch
The remains of Adil Shah Gateway, Old Goa, India.
Adil Shah Gateway
Beautiful Church of St Cajetan, Old Goa, India.
Church of St Cajetan
The magificent white domed Church of St Cajetan in Old Goa was constructed by Italian Friars in the second half of the 17th Century and named after St Cajetan who was the found of the Thealine Order. It is made of laterite blocks and is of Corinthian style with it's two rectangular towers on either side. Inside this beautiful building the huge circular dome is supported by massive Corinthian pillars. There are four altars with the main altar being dedicated to Our Lady of Divine Providence - the other altars have various figures carved including one of St Cajetan. Interestingly they used to place lead coffins in the crypt to hide embalmed bodies of Portuguese Governors - which were subsequently returned to Portugal. The attached buidings on one side were once a monastery and are now used as a college.
The interior of St Cajetan Church, Old Goa, India.
St Cajetan Church
Inside St. Cajetan Church at Old Goa, India.
St Cajetan Church
The Main Altar in St Cajetan Church, Old Goa, India.
Main Altar St Cajetan Church
Church and gardens - St Cajetan Church at Old Goa, India.
Church of St Cajetan
The Se Cathedral in Old Goa, India.
Se Cathedral Goa
Se Cathedral  and its beautiful Altar, Old Goa, India.
Se Cathedral Altar
Se Cathedral's Altar, Old Goa in India.
Se Cathedral Altar
Se Cathedral view inside, Old Goa, India.
Se Cathedral inside
The Se Cathedral which is also known as St Catherines Cathdral is one of the largest churches in Asia and is an incredilbly beautiful structure. The renaissance style was designed in the 16th centruy and the building took 80 years to build and eventually consecrated in 1640. This huge building originally had two 98 foot high Tuscan style towers however only one survives - this contains a golden bell which was tolled during the Inquisition to indicate the gruesome spectactle of the executions being held in the nearbye square. Inside the cathedral has a 76 metre long nave which has 15 altars including the guilded High Altar which is dedicated to St Catherine. There are also six panels showing episodes of her life. Of the eight chapels two show filigree work on screens - the most important of which are the Blessed Sacremant and the Cross of Miracles.
The beautiful Se Cathedral busy with tourists, Old Goa, India.
Se Cathedral
View if the interior of Se Cathedra, Old Goa, India.
Se Cathedral Goa
Se Cathedral interior view -  Old Goa, India.
Se Cathedral inside
Different view of the Se Cathedral, Old Goa, India.
Se Cathedral
Church of St Francis of Assisi, Old Goa, India.
Church of St Francis
of Assisi
Church of St Francis of Assisi Altar, Old Goa, India.
Church of St Francis
of Assisi Altar
Interior of the Church of St Francis of Assisi in Old Goa, India.
Church of St Francis
of Assisi
Church of St Francis of Assisi in Goa India.
Church of St Francis
of Assisi
Originally built in 1521 and then re-constructed in 1661 the Church of St.. Francis of Assisi at Old Goa has a three tier facade with an octagonal tower on each side of the main entrance. The main entrance has a beautifully carved doorway and is decorated with circular pilasters. The central nave is barrel vaulted and the crossings are rib vaulted - also the floor is paved withs culptured tomb stone showing Portuguese nobility. There are floral frescoes on the internal buttress walls and above the tabernacle on the main altar there is a large statue of St. Francis of Assisi. The museum next door to the church was originally Goa's largest monastery and was built in 1517 i.e. before the church.
Interior of the Church of St Francis of Assisi, Old Goa, India.
Church of
St Francis of Assisi
Church of St Francis of Assisi at Old Goa in India.
Church of
St Francis of Assisi
The old Archiepiscopal Palace, Old Goa, India.
Archiepiscopal Palace
sideview of Archiepiscopal Palace, Old Goa, India.
Archiepiscopal Palace
Between Se Cathedral and St Francis take a look at the Archiepiscopal Palace building which was built in the very early 1600s - it looks rather austere compared with it's neighbours though. The small chapel of St. Catherine was built to celebrate Admiral Afonso de Albuquerque's victory over the Ottermans and Ismail Adil Shah in 1510 and was the only cathedral in Goa until the Se Cathedral was constructed.
Church of St Catherine, Old Goa, India.
Church of St Catherine
Whole view of the Basilica de Bom Jesus, Old Goa, India.
Basilica de Bom Jesus
Basilica de Bom Jesus facade, Old Goa, India.
Basilica de Bom
Jesus facade
Basilica de Bom Jesus Altar, Old Goa, India.
Basilica de Bom
Jesus Altar
Constructed in 1594 by the Jesuits, The Basilica de Bom Jesus is quite unusual in Old Goa since it has had it's original lime coating removed which exposed the soft red laterite beneath - it now looks a heavy sort of building. he facade is three tiered and contains lots of carvings. Contained within the church are the remains of Goa's Patron Saint St. Francis Xavier and is therefore one of the most important locations in the world for Roman Catholics.
Basilica de Bom Jesus Altar, Old Goa, India.
Basilica de
Bom Jesus Altar
Basilica de Bom Jesus from the garden, Old Goa, India.
Basilica de
Bom Jesus yard
Church Convent of St John, Old Goa, India.
Church Convent of St John
St Augustines Complex, Old Goa, India.
St Augustines Complex
One of Goa's earliest churches and built in 1526, Our Lady of the Rosary is more like a small castle than a church. It is built on the location where Afonso de Albuquerque watched his forces finally defeat the Ottermans in November 1510. It can be found by walking on past the road which contains the Convent of St Monica - the views from the terrace in front of the church are good.
Convent of St Monica, Old Goa, India.
Convent of St Monica
Our Lady of the Rosary, Old Goa, India.
Our Lady of the Rosary
Front view of Our Lady of the Rosary in Old Goa, India.
Our Lady of the Rosary
Our Lady of the Rosary Altar, Old Goa, India.
Our Lady
of the Rosary Altar
Built in 1512 and finally abandoned in 1835 the Church and Monastery of St Augustine are now just ruins with only the bell tower remaining in any sort of condition. Originally the church was five stories high - there were eight chapels and four altars, wall sculptures and many granite tombstones.
Church Monastery St Augustine ruins, Old Goa, India.
Church Monastery
St Augustine
Church Monastery St. Augustine now in ruins, Goa, India.
Church Monastery
St Augustine
Church Monastery St Augustine, Old Goa, India.
Church Monastery
St Augustine
Church Monastery St Augustine ruins at Old Goa in India.
Church Monastery
St Augustine
The centre of Old Goa can get incredibly busy especially if you are unfortunate to arrive around the same time as a bundle of coach trips - also if possible go there during the week since the weekends and especially Sundays can be chaos and make it hard to see anything. There are plenty of stalls as well as people begging all round the main area - it's probably true to say that anything you might buy from these market stalls is possible to buy at half the price elsewhere. If you intend to try and see all the buildings then maybe make a photocopy of a layout plan which can be found in the better guide books and take that with you.
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