Goa (Part II: The Undiscovered)

Undoubtedly one of my favourite pictures
     Of course riding through narrow streets and pleasing my gustatory senses were not the only things I did in Goa. I also did some traditional tourist activity of sightseeing but at non traditional tourist places. During my trip I visited several famous and infamous churches, temples and saw lots of wonderful buildings. Within the small state of Goa you’ll see an array of structures with varied influences and the best part is that they preserve these influences. Not that I’m an expert on architecture, but Portuguese influences are very evident through the bright colours, windows with characteristic grills and arched doors. Even some of the new buildings I saw, displayed strong Portuguese influences. While on our way I couldn't help but notice the magnificent new South Goa Collectorate building . Painted in loud yellow the building stood like a big chunk of well guarded gold and the lights just embellished the sight. The beautiful painted glasses and the perfectly mowed lawn just added to its beauty and made the building nothing short of a monument.

Chunk of Gold!
The new South Goa Collectorate building.
Buildings are red, skies are blue
cities like you are very very few!

Classic Portuguese color combination with arches and painted windows.
Could it get any more Portuguese!

Loved the symmetry and the color.

To talk about the old churches in Goa, well there are many. The popular ones like the ‘Basilica of Bom Jesus’ and ‘Church of St.Francis of Assisi’ located in Old Goa are always on tourists’ checklists and of course they are worth the visit, but there are several more amazing churches which tourists don’t really know of. In fact the non popular churches are more of an experience than just sightseeing. I call them experience because they are not just a treat to the eye but also for the soul. Some of these churches like ‘Monte Carlo Church, Old Goa’ and the supposedly haunted ‘3 Kings Church, Velsao’ are usually closed round the year and are so deserted that the peace and serenity of the place haunts you even during the day. There was this incident at the Monte Carlo church when I felt the urge to peep through a hole in the closed door of the church. As I approached to do so I felt someone was peeping back from inside! A shiver ran down my spine and I ran off. Of course there wasn't any one. It was just my imagination and the memories of Hollywood horror flicks at play. Most of the big churches were built during the Portuguese era which is vividly evident through the architecture.

"Feel like taking a peep?"
Monte Carlo Church, Old goa
'The Scream'
Locals say this '3 Kings Church, Velsao' is really haunted and inflicts bad luck upon visitors. 

Random church and definitely has a haunted tale associated with it.

'Basilica of Bom Jesus'
The extremely beautiful and one of my favorite churches

'Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church', Panaji
or simple the church from Josh Movie.

The inner cities of Goa are very rarely visited because they do not have beaches. But what they do have are beautiful green fields, coconut and areca nut trees and beautiful temples. Huge temples are a major part of Goa and the premise is spread over a small to large area. The ones with large area are called ‘sausthan’ like Mangueshi, Mahalaxmi, Shantadurga or Kavale, Ramnathi etc. Most temples throughout Goa show Nagari, Islamic and Portuguese influences in architecture and are usually built of red sedimentary stones. Beautiful design, big halls and deepmala (tower of lights) are some other characteristics of these temples. Most houses and buildings here are still made out of red sedimentary stone.

This one's a newly made temple in Ponda
Mahalaxmi Mandir, Sri Mahalaxmi Sausthan, Bandora, Goa

Shantadurga Temple, Kavale Sausthan, Ponda, Goa
My first handheld panorama and i just loved it.
 Another beautiful place I just have to mention is the Safa Masjid, Ponda. Built in 1560 by Bijapuri ruler Ibrahim Adil Shah, this masjid has stood the test of time and the Portuguese. It is amongst the very few masjid that the Portuguese were not able to destroy. One the day I reached Goa, I spotted this masjid from a distance on my way from the bus stand to my aunt’s house. That’s when I decided that I just had to visit this place before I left Goa. I couldn't find time during the first 5 days of my stay but on the last day I just took out the bike and went looking for the place. I had a fair idea of its location. Yet it took me a while to find it because trust me, the streets in Goa can be very confusing.

Safa Masjid, Ponda.
One of my favourite shots of this trip. Loved the simplicity and symmetry of the picture.

I guess this post has turned out to be more like a boring afternoon theoretical lecture but I wrote what I saw. Next time any of you are in Goa do reserve a day for visiting such places and do your homework on Goa rather than just relying on your guide.

Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC H50 prosumer camera.