I toured Goa from December 23-29 2003. You'll see a lot of pictures of historical sites, maybe too many.
Somewhat ironically, people identifiy Goa either with Portugal, which no longer owns it, or with beach parties, which, at best forms a fringe element of its history and culture.
Like anywhere in India, Goa dates back to distant antiquity. A variety of different dynasties ruled it. However, unlike states even of central India, the mountains of the Western Ghats historically isolated Goa from much interference by Moghuls, Mongols, and other Moslem invaders from the North. One can think of this as tropical India. The southern Hindu kindoms of the Satvanahas, Chalukyas, and, more systematically, the Kadambas ruled an area more isolated than most from dynastic quarrels. In 1312, the Moslems invaded after the dissolution of the Vijanyanager Empire which briefly united most of Hindu India but held Goa through subsidiary rulers.
The Portuguese, in search of control over the spice trade, invaded the area in 1510. Goa offered a good place above half-way between their African and Islamic possessions and the spice islands in Indonesia. Among the more prominent of the Portuguese, Vasca Da Gama ruled as the third governor. St. Francis Xavier (see below) had the seeming misfortune to die in Goa, probably one of many unused to the Asian tropical climate, only to have his body become positively famous.
The long Portuguese rule brought with it Catholicization. In fact, church construction fairly obviously absorbed that part of the surplus made in the spice trade not sent home to Lisbon. Prominent local families converted as did the children of illicit marriages to the Portuguese conquistadores. Later periods brought the Inquisition to Goa. The extent of the Portuguese influence seldom penetrated very far inland, and most Indians beyond the coastal towns and beneath the upper Europeanized classes, remained Indian in culture and religion. Through the long rot of the Portuguese empire, Goa remained essentially a trading port with a bit of Latin flavor.
The independence of India found the Portuguese, as elsewhere in their remaining colonies, unwilling to leave. They lingered for almost 16 years, despite a Gandin style non-violent resistance campaign. Finally, in 1961, Nehru sent in Indian troops, and Goa became the Indian province of Goa.
More recently, Goa obtained fame as a sun and fun spot. It contains the best beaches in India and, due to long Portuguese rule, a tolerance for alcohol. A hippy could certainly drop out worse places than here, and it seems some visitors, like the Portuguese, intend to remain until the Indian army ousts them. To these tourists, this is India without the beggars, holy men, and the cow manure (well, mostly the latter) but with the cricket and the tea.
I visited Goa during the Christmas holidays of 2003. This may account for the large crowds in some of the scenes below.
Briefly, after a long reign of Hindu princes, the Moslems ruled in Goa at intervals between 1310 and 1520. Here an archway for the sultan Adil Shah's Palace.
In 1510, the Portuguese arrived. Here, in Old City Goa is their own arch of triumph.
More imposing is the nearby Se Cathedral constructed (slowly) between 1557-1619 for the Dominicans.
Another view. This is considered the largest Cathedral in Asia, i.e. still larger than Manila's.
This is the Church of St. Catejans. The Theatines were supposed to, but never allowed, to go to Golocanda. Talk about "preaching to the converted."
This is the Basilica of Bom Jesus, again a short walk from all of the above churches and cathedrals. It contains the incorruptible body of St. Francis Xavier d, 1552.
I think you can see my body is certainly not incorruptible. Unlike he, I think I will have more influence walking around than having my relics paraded around.
This is the Church and convent of St. Monica's, built in 1627. Here we finally leave the Goa's Central Square.
When the Portuguese de-emphasized religion they allowed structures like St. Augustines (1602) to decay and...collapse.
One can imagine Old Goa as a series of hill-mounted churches guarded by forts, or vice-versa.
Fort Aguada (circa 1612), named for its water storage tank, guards the entrance to the river and Old Goa.
A high death toll due to tropical diseases led to a relocation to "New Goa" (Panjim) in the 19th century. Note the Portuguese little balconies in the old section.
The Secretariat dates from the 16th century, and the government still uses it.
Statue of Abbe Faria, famous hypnotist from the early 18th Century.
The Cabo Da Vaca temple, Hindu, testifies to the continuing presence of Hindus even in the Colonial capital city. Holy Cow!
The size of this little Friday Masjid (Mosque) testifies to the size of this segment of the population.
The Portuguese destroyed Shri Manguesh, one of five main Hindu temples. Its heavy traffic now testifies to the fact 70% of the population is now Hindu (or admits to its Hinduism).
A statue of Ghandi. Still, Portugal retained Goa long after the British left, only finally departing in 1962 after Nehru sent troops to aid its Sataghyas and to free political prisoners.
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