Home » India »travel stories

Goa – the Portugal of India!

India: Goa

Historic churches, Catholic relics, azulejos, crosses at the corners of the road … could it be Europe? Could it be Latin America? Well, you will find these images on the Asian continent, as well … it is Goa, a small part of Portugal transplanted thousands of miles off the Lusitanian shore, in India!

The traveler who goes towards India expects massive temples, dancing Shivas, the Brahmins that draw stripes on your forehead, purifying burnings or reincarnations. But it is not like that everywhere. For a breath of European air, it would not be a bad idea to have a short trip to Goa, the smallest state of the Indian Union, a special state because it had a very different evolution from the rest of the subcontinent – it was not under either Moghul or Hindu domination, it was not a princely state or under the protectorate of the British Raj – it was a Portuguese colony! The small state on the Arabian Sea coast has known the Indian civilization until 1510 when the Portuguese landed at the mouth of the Mandovi river in search of good places to take over and through which to run the very fruitful spice trade.

Conquering the mouth of the river Mandovi, the Portuguese set to work and built a beautiful metropolis up on the river, where the small town of Old Goa is now located. Here, they built a city whose fame has reachedEurope. At the beginning of the seventeenth century, Old Goa had a larger population thanLondonorParisand the cathedrals in the city competed with any religious building inEurope. Along with the Portuguese troops, there appeared the missionaries, too and, later on, the Inquisition. The Hindu religion was prohibited, and those who continued to pray to Vishnu and Parvati were burned on the pyre as heretics. Many have changed their names, and today most locals have names such as Silva, Correa and d’Souza. And a good part of the population is Catholic.

TheGoaStatecontinued to be a Portuguese colony despite the advance of the British – perhaps also because, along the centuries,Portugalhas had a friendly relationship withGreat Britainthat has not really attacked their colonies. But the year 1947 brought great changes in the subcontinent – Independence and partition with Pakistan had a certain impact on Goa. The problem is that the dictator Salazar ruled Portugal and he did not want to give away the small colony.Indiahas tried to take it over by means of negotiations, but Salazar would not discuss about it. What followed was the economic blockade, so, the Portuguese government turned to befriend the always helpful Pakistan when it was about making India angry… And, because of the powerful pressure of the public opinion, finally, in 1961, 14 years after having gained its independence, Indian troops occupied the Portuguese colony in two days and that event remains in history as “operation Vijay”… Salazar protested, but he had nothing left to do … Goa became part ofIndiaand gained the status of a state in the 1970s.

For many people, Goa means wide beaches, palm trees, rave parties, hippies and a lot of marijuana … It is true, the “flower power” period of the ’70s that brought world fame to Goa has set – there are not many hippies left, there are no rave parties in the open air any except for New Year’s Eve, and those who have marijuana can get an extended stay on the Goan coast at the prison in Fort Aguado. But, on leaving the legendary beaches now full of British, Russian and Israeli tourists, you can discover the historical relics ofPortugalonly two steps away.

Obviously, by far the most important cultural tourist objective is Old Goa. As I was writing, this city, the capital ofPortugal’s Asian Empire (which includedMacaoinChina, the Indonesian islands, Melaka inMalaysia, forts inOman) had a bright period around 1600. In fact, now, if you reach the small town, you cannot help but be amazed at the size of churches… OldGoawas ravaged not by man, but by the power of nature – the malaria and cholera epidemics decimated the population of the town, and capital was moved to the mouth of the river, near the sea, at Panaji. Even if you walk through the charming maze of little streets, squares and houses painted in white and ocher, you can hardly imagine the size of the city of several hundred years ago. In the centre, there are several important cathedrals – Se, the huge cathedral, the Episcopal Church in Goa, the churches St. Francis of Assisi or St. Cajetan, but by far the most important goal is the Basilica of Bom Jesus where the relics of St. Francis Xavier, the one who christened Asia, called the “Apostle of the Indies”, are preserved.

St. Francis Xavier was a Jesuit. He was sent to Goa by his superiors at the request of Portuguese King Joao III who had heard about the not-too-pious morals of the Portuguese in the colonies. It is said that, despite the obstacles of local authorities, the Jesuit Xavier baptized more than 30,000 inhabitants, built many churches, revived the dead and cured the ill. When he considered his mission carried out in Goa, he went further on to convert the Asians in Sri Lanka, Malaysia (Melaka), China and even Japan, but he was not that successful. During his christening missions, he died of dysentery on an island off China’s shores. His body was recovered by the Goan Christians and brought to Old Goa, where his relics that were mummified naturally resisted until today. In fact, in the cathedral, the unaffected body is located in an open coffin – it’s placed somewhere high up, that is why you can only see it than on December 3, the feast of St. Francis Xavier … or every ten years when even a parade takes place through which the body is carried from the Bom Jesus basilica to Se and back … at the last exposure in 2004, more than 250,000 pilgrims came to see him!

You do not have to come to the feast or once every 10 years. You can see part of him from far away, and in the cathedral there are various pictures with the body of the holy man since the last promenade … Somewhere in an adjacent building, and you can also go to a sort of Madame Tussaud in Goa where, in a museum that is quite high tech for India, you can learn Francis Xavier’s story, but also Jesus’s.

If Old Goa carries you to another century, you cannot help from paying a visit to the state capital, Panaji, the smallest capital in India, a pleasant and quiet city for such a large and busy country! You can walk quietly through the Portuguese neighborhood Fontainhas with coloured homes, Catholic churches and tablets with the names of the inhabitants – Pinto, Figo and, especially, D’Souza!

After a day full of history, you can relax as you wish on River Mandovi … after darkness falls, many illuminated boats turn into a disco and float up and down the river … in fact, here, you can find the only legal casino in India, also under the shape of a ship arriving even at large… and after so much lost money and dance, what can be better the following day than a morning of idleness on the famous beaches of Goa, tasting a “lime soda” and sunbathing among sacred cows…!

Getting to Goa

Most European airline companies fly to Mumbai and from there to Goa, there is also a night trip by train or one hour by plane. Besides the promotion periods, the tickets to Mumbai can be expensive, but, thank God, there are also low cost alternatives. An option which may be about 300 euros is Air Arabia to fly from Istanbul directly to Goa via Sharjah.

Indian Visa

The Indian visa can be obtained from the Consulates abroad, not on-arrival !

Accommodation

Tourist hotels of the seaside type or cozy cottages built in the Portuguese style. Hippy hostels of or sumptuous palaces reminding you that you are still in the India of the Maharajahs. You find them all. But pay attention to the period between Christmas and New Year’s Eve when hundreds of thousands of Indians are heading towards Goa for an exotic vacation in a Christian area and for the famous New Year’s party – most locations are booked months in advance. I put on more cash than usual and I stayed in what a guide called “the most romantic hotel in Goa” and, indeed, it is a beautiful place – Villa Marbella

What to eat

Indian food is famous throughout the world… But not everyone appreciates the hotness of the Indian dishes. Do not worry, in Goa, Indian food is not as hot as elsewhere and the restaurants with a European cuisine can be found everywhere. Do not worry!

When to go to Goa

There is one answer – winter. The temperature is of around 25 to 30 degrees, the breeze blows gently, and the sky is usually blue. During the summer, the monsoon blows and rains can be flood-like.

Pictures of Goa:

Goa: Villa Marbella

Villa Marbella

Goa: Villa Marbella

Around the Marbella Villa

India Goa: Villa Marbella

Villa Marbella

India: Goa

Old Goa

India: Goa

Old Goa

India: Goa

Old Goa

India: Old Goa

Old Goa

Goa: The Cathedral

Old Goa – The cathedral

Goa: The cathedral

Old Goa – The cathedral

Goa: The cathedral

Old Goa

Goa: Old Goa

The tomb of Saint Francis Xavier

Goa: The relics of Saint Francis Xavier

The relics of Saint Francis Xavier

India: The cathedral in Goa

The cathedral in Goa

Goa: The cathedral

The cathedral in Goa

Goa: Old Goa

The statue of Saint Francis Xavier

India: Goa photos

Old Goa

Goa trip

Old Goa

India: Old Goa

Old Goa

Goa

Old Goa

Goa: The statue of the fakir in Panjim

The statue of the fakir in Panjim

Goa: visiting Panjim

Streets in Panjim

India: The cathedral in Panjim

The cathedral in Panjim

India: Panjim cathedral

The cathedral in Panjim

India: Panjim

The cathedral in Panjim

India: visiting Panjim

Panjim

India: Panjim

Panjim

India

Panjim

Panjim

Panjim

The cathedral in Panjim

Goa: The Vagator Beach

The Vagator Beach

Goa

on the beach

Goa

on the beach

Goa

on the beach

Până acum există "1 comentariu" la acest articol:

  1. kristinperry says:

    Goa is located in the South India. It is famous for beaches, churches and temples. I had been visited Goa before 2 years, its an amazing place in India.

Leave a comment







best smart watches
  • Advertising


    Subscribe



    Find me on Facebook




    Find me on Google+

    Find me on Twitter

    Translate this page in your language




    Me & My Flights






    Most recent posts

    6 Tips for Taking Your Family Camping

    4 December 2018

    6 Tips for Taking Your Family Camping

    Going to a camp is a hilarious experience. This is because it gives you an opportunity to take a break from your busy lifestyle for a while. However, planning for such a getaway can be a challenge when there are kids involved. This is due to the fact that your kids may not be willing […]

    LA to Jamaica – 6 top ranking travel tips

    19 November 2018

    LA to Jamaica – 6 top ranking travel tips

    We could wax lyrical about Jamaica’s sun, sea and sand — but you can find these attractions at thousands of other locations worldwide.

    Paradise Found, Tropical Retreats that will take your breath away

    1 June 2018

    Paradise Found, Tropical Retreats that will take your breath away

    Long favored for honeymoon destinations and romantic retreats, there’s nothing quite as beautiful as shimmering turquoise waters, swaying palm trees and miles of sandy beach to share with a loved one. Here are some of the best, and a few you might not even have heard of!

    Top Destinations of Africa That Should Be On Your Bucket list

    21 March 2018

    Top Destinations of Africa That Should Be On Your Bucket list

    Some of us cannot stay within the confines of  boundaries or tread carefully in the grey zone. Some of us live to walk on the edge, test the deep waters, embrace wildness and get no less reckless  with each blood-pumping  adrenaline rush. If you’re one of the people who cannot be restrained by the chains […]

    Highlights of the Bodrum Peninsula

    18 March 2018

    Highlights of the Bodrum Peninsula

    For many years Bodrum has been one of Turkey’s top holiday destinations for both national and international tourists. Sandwiched between two seas, with the Aegean to the west and the Mediterranean to the east, plenty of pristine beaches and vibrant nightlife, plus a regular Bodrum to Kos Ferry linking Turkey to the Greek Dodecanese Islands. […]

    About:

    Hello Everybody !

    My name is Cezar (where the nickname "Imperator" comes from) and I have travelled to 105 countries around the world. In this blog, I would like to share with you stories, memories, travel tips & tricks and news to help you plan your journeys !

    For any questions or comments, please, feel free to contact me at imperatortravel@yahoo.co.uk

    My trip around the world can be summarized in the movie below which I invite you to watch.

    SEARCH THE SITE:

    I like to read:

    Advertising