Temples and Churches in Goa

* Goa Mansions

* Basilica of Bom Jesus

* Shri Shantadurga Temple

* Manguesh Temple

* The Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church

Goa Mansions - Accumulation of Architectural Splendor
Do you know the Portuguese ruled over Goa for 450 years? Isn't it difficult to nullify the influence of Portuguese? Houses are built by people, history preserves them and tourists behold them in admiration. Portuguese left Goa in 1961, but still where ever you look, you'll see their lasting impact on everything. The country mansions were built between the 18th and 20th century, where Indians and Europeans met. The landscape of Goa is dotted with heritage houses, villas, mansions that are a reminder of the Portuguese era. Thrill yourself by looking at some unique examples of clever amalgam of the Indian and Portuguese styles. At some places you can even enjoy the glimpses of European and Italian styles. So, now get ready to amaze yourself by watching some of the exclusive architectural heritages of Goa. Walk into any of the grand mansions and you will be bewildered to see how much care is taken to beautify these residences.

Some of the Grandiose Structures

Salvador Da Costa Mansion
Plan a trip to Loutolim and astonish yourself by seeing some dream houses with fairy tales gardens scattered everywhere. A 19th century creation will take your heart away by its magnificent grandeur. A creation of Padre Pedrinho and Padre Laurence is known for its Gothic style windows, wide verandas and cluster columns.

Figueredo Mansion
The most fascinating feature of this house is the balcony or porch, with its pyramidal angled roof, supported on elephantine columns, which are often crimped with intricately molded capitals. Sit on the entrance steps leading to the balcony. This passage was the place where, the family spent long hours in conversation. It is amazing to see the adorned ceilings, rich wall paintings and the China mosaic that beautified its floors.

Mascarenhas Mansion
Mascarenhas Mansion GoaThis mansion located on Goa's most happening beach Anjuna has a rich and classic 'balcoes' (balconies). An L shaped seat along the porch is carved out of expensive and delicate wood. There are also some fine stained glass floral engravings which are no longer made or available these days.

Solar Dos Colacos Mansion
Solar dos Colacoa Mansion is situated at Ribandar on the left bank of the River Mandovi, half-way between Old Goa and Panjim. It is built in baroque style with an imposing frontage and an excellent view of islands and the historical churches of Old Goa.

Vivian Coutinho Mansion
Vivian Coutinho Mansion in Fatorda, at the entrance of Margao, depicts the hard work and sincerity that went into the planning of the entrance of a house. The Coutinhos had a well-maintained picturesque garden.

Colaco Mansion
This is perhaps the only mansion facing the water front with beautiful walls colored in Ox-blood color, one of the three traditional colors of Goan exteriors, the other being white and indigo. The corridor of this massive structure runs along the front facade and faces the Mandovi River.

Dr. Pinto De Rosario Mansion
Pinto de Rosario Mansion is amidst Panjim and Mapusa in Porvorim. The rare pieces like cut-glass, silver, blue china, ivory are of superb quality The Italian floor tiling is the highlight of the parlour. Above the intricately carved sofa is a Dutch tapestry, an imitation of Rembrandt's Night Watch. The love- chair is believed to be 200 years old.

Some Other Mansions
Goa is dotted with many other Architectural pieces such as magnificent Albuquerque mansion depicts an antique architectural art with classical balconies. Then you can view Miranda Mansion- built in 1710 this mansion has a separate chapel for worship. Then there is another mansion in Margao Sat Burnzam an imitation of typical Portuguese style has a double storied facade. Another marvel is Dr Alvaro Loyola Furtado Mansion in Chinchinim exhibiting richness unmatched at the time it was built in 1883. If you have a deep interest for architecture then just set on foot and you will discover various examples yourself.

Basilica of Bom Jesus

     Basilica of Bom Jesus GoaBasilica of Bom Jesus is located in Goa, India. The basilica holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier. The church is located in Old Goa, which was the capital of Goa in the early days of Portuguese rule, about 10 km from the new city of Panjim. 'Bom Jesus' is the name used for the infant Jesus. The Jesuit church is India’s first Minor Basilica, and is considered as one of the best examples of baroque architecture in India.

This world heritage monument built in 1695 and has emerged as a landmark in the history of Christianity. It contains the body of St. Francis Xavier; a very close friend of St. Ignatius Loyola with whom he founded the Society of Jesus Francis Xavier died on the Sancian island while waiting for a ship to take him to Continental China (December 2, 1552).

The body of Francis Xavier was first taken to Malacca and two years later shipped back to Goa. It is said that the saint's body was as fresh as the day it was buried. The remains of the saint still attract a huge number of devotees from all over the world, especially during the public viewing of his body every ten years. The saint is said to have miraculous powers of healing, and pilgrims come from all over the country.

This is one of the oldest churches in Goa and is carpeted with marble flooring and inlaid with precious stones. Apart from the elaborate gilded altars, the interior of the church is simple. The church also holds paintings with scenes taken from the life of St. Francis Xavier. The mausoleum on the top of which is placed the silver casket with the body of St. Francis Xavier (1696) was the gift of the last of the Medicis, Cosimo III, and the Grand Duke of Tuscany. The Basilica of Bom Jesus church at Goa, India, is more than 400 years old. The body of St. Francis Xavier, kept in a well decorated casket, is open to the public every day. Solemn exhibitions of the 'body' are held every ten years.

The mausoleum was designed by the 17th century Florentine sculptor Giovanni Battista Foggini. It took ten years to complete. The casket containing his body is made of silver. The holy relics of the saint are displayed every ten years during the anniversary of the Saint's death. His liturgical feast is the third of December. On the upper level, overlooking the tomb is the Bom Jesus Basilica Art Gallery, containing the works of the Goan surrealist painter, Dom Martin. Author and fellow Jesuit Anthony De Mello was also from Goa and does mention the basilica in his writings.

On December 3, the day of the Feast of St. Francis Xavier, the saint's finger is displayed to the public. The exposition of the body of St. Francis Xavier is held once every ten years and the last being in 1994 and the next being 2004.

Manguesh Temple

Manguesh Temple GoaManguesh Temple is situated along the National Highway-4A about 23-km from Panajim. Positioned 22 kms from Panajim, this temple is set on a picturesque location, on a hillock surrounded by lush green hills.

Although the Sri Manguesh temple was hidden as a closed book in Cortalim, but then, it was moved to its present site between Mardol and Priol during the 16th century. The structure that tourists admire dates back to 1700's.

Lord Shiva is the main deity worshipped in this temple.

Attractions of Manguesh Temple
The massive welcome gate and an elegant lamp tower "Noubatkhana" dominating the temple tank makes the tourist feel bewildered at its first sight and the Agrashalas on three sides also give an enchanting look. It has an airy atmosphere of a peculiar style. The grand white tower at the entrance is a landmark of the countryside. Inside, the floor is surfaced with marble and decorative tiles which further highlight the white walls. The beautiful raised silver thresholds, with fluorite patterns, direct to the sanctum which houses a Shiva Lingam. A golden "Shesha" next to the Linga and an image of Shiva compromises the main altar.

There is an interesting story or legend related to Lord Manguesh, who is an incarnation of Lord Shiva. The name Manguesh is not used for Lord Shiva anywhere else in India. You'll come to know why it is used in Goa only according to legends once Lord Shiva lost everything he had in a game of dice with his wife Parvati. As decided, he went to go into self-imposed exile and visited Goa. But, Parvati could not live without her husband so she came to find out Lord Shiva in jungles. Lord planned to play a prank with her. He turned himself into a tiger to scare her. Parvati cried out for help and uttered the words 'Trahi Mam Girisha' (O Lord of Mountains Save Me!). Lord Shiva immediately turned himself back into his normal form and the two were united. But the cry for help and the words 'mam girisha' got linked with Lord Shiva. In the course of time the words abbreviated to Manguirisha or Manguesh by which name he is known today also. A linga which was left to mark the place where the legend happened was noticed by a local shepherd and finally a temple was built to house Lord Manguesh.

The temple architecture is a blend of Hindu, Christian and Muslim charms and is illuminated in glorious lights during the annual Jatra which is held in January. The deity is taken out in a palanquin and paraded in huge chariots during the festival which is attended by thousands of devotees. Festivals and many other religious activities are conducted at regular intervals.

The Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church

     The Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church GoaThe Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church is situated in the centre of the city of Panajim is a well known landmark and is also very close to Miramar beach. The church bell is said to be the 2nd largest in the world, was actually the bell of the Church of Our Lady Of Grace. The Golden Bell was known as the “Bell of the Inquisition “was moved to Our Lady Of The Immaculate Conception Church in 1841. This place is a central place of worship and prayer for religious souls. It is one of the most popular tourist spots and visitors flock to see the church in large numbers. The Basilica is dedicated to Infant Jesus and is now listed in the World Heritage Monument list. The genuine splendor of this church can be seen at night. As soon as evening sets in, this huge monument is transformed into a gleaming and radiant display as it is lit up with many small electric bulbs. In the historical days, this church was the landmark for the sailors to offer thanks for a safe anchoring.

The church was built in 1540 and underwent rebuilding and renovation in 1619. Modeled as per the structure of church of Reis Magos this church boasts of tall twin towers constructed in a typical Portuguese baroque style. Dedicated to 'Nossa Senhora da Imaculada Conceicao' the main altar of the church has been artfully carved in Renaissance style.

It is believed that The Our Lady of The Immaculate Conception Church was initially built in 1541 and later it was re-built in 1619. The interior architecture of the church is pretty impressive. The backdrop of the altar is elaborately designed. This impressive structure boasts of pristine white marble flooring and has beautifully gilded altars decorated with frescoes and inlay work. There are two altars flanking the main altars. One is dedicated to Jesus crucified and the other is dedicated to Our Lady of Rosary. However, both the altars are marvelously gilded and embellished with carvings, yet defined and uncomplicated, a well instance of that era. At the side of each altar, is a marble sculpture, one of St Paul and one of St Peter. Towards the south of the right of the main altar, is a Chapel of St. Francis Xavier, whose glass-encased statue occupies the focal point of that area. Some of the more famous features of the church are its Gothic style stairs which are quite majestic.

Through the year, visitors throng the white baroque church, attracted by the Blessed Mother or the statues of St. Peter and Paul. Enjoy a newer harmony in life with the euphonic bells calling the faithful to mass. On 8th December every year, devotees flock to the church in large numbers to attend the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The feast is a celebration of the conception of Lord Jesus by Mother Mary.

Shri Shantadurga Temple

Shri Shantadurga Temple GoaLocation
Shri Shantadurga Temple is positioned 18 kms from Margao, at Fatorpa (Quepem). Situated at the foothill of Kavalem, the Shantadurga temple owns a beautiful massive tank called as Dipa Stambha and Agrashalas.

The original place of Shree Shantadurga Devi
The original place of Shree Shantadurga devi was at Keloshi. From there devi was repositioned to Kavlem during the dominance of Portuguese government. The original site of Sri Shantadurga temple is Kardelivana of Quelossim in Mormugao Taluka, where the great poet Krishnadas Shama composed epic "Sri Krishna Charita" credibly in the 14th century on the lines of Dnyaneshwari.

The temple was built in 1728 AD during the rule of Shahu Maharaj of Satara at the request of Naro Ram Mantri, one of his very good ministers.

Current Structure
This current structure of Shree Shantadurga devi was built during the period from 1713 A.D to 1738 A.D. Many redevelopments have been done over the years to the main templeas well as the temples of other deities besides the agarshala (guest house) which is built encircling the temple.

Other Names
At several places it is known by various names, "Thamai", "Sateri", "Bhumka", "Adimaya" and others.

Shree Shantadurga temple has an imposing idol of Goddess Shree Durga who speculated between Shree Vishnu and Shree Shiva and ceased the fearful war going on between the two Lords. She is encircled by Vishnu and Shiva on both the sides.

Three temples of Shri Shantadurga
There are three temples of Shri Shantadurga - one at Kavlem, Pemem and Fatorpa (Quepem).

Shri Shantadurga (Kavlem):
An opulently built temple is located 33 kms from Panaji. The Shri Shantadurga temple has a rich and beautiful 'Garbhakuda' (the holy of holies) where, the deity is kept. The deity was shifted from Kelsi. This temple is dedicated to Shantadurga. Shantadurga is the Goddess who mediates between Vishnu and Shiva. The 'Agrashalas' provide accommodation facilities to the devotees like lodgings etc.

Shri Shantadurga (Pemem):
This Shri Shantadurga Temple is positioned 14 kms from Mapusa at Dhargal, Pemem. The temple is set in the middle of extremely beautiful scenic environment. The Goddess of this Shri Shantaduega temple was moved out at Sanquelim, when all the temples in Barde were destroyed by the Portuguese. So, in 1550 A.D this Goddess was taken to Dhargal in Pemem Taluka which also formed a component of Sewantwadi territory. The 'Zatra' of this Goddess is held in the month of December.

Shri Shantadurga (Kunkolienkarin):
This Shri Shantadurga temple is situated 18 kms from Margao, at Fatorpa (Quepem). Earlier it was from Cuncolim village in Salcete Taluka, the Goddess was removed to Fatorpa in 16th Century during religious persecution by the Portuguese. The annual 'Zatra' falls in the month of Pausha Shuddha Navami and is participated by thousands of devotees and tourists from all over the world.

The annual zatra, which falls in the month of Pausha Shuddha Navami draws thousands of devotees from all over the Goa.