The cultural heritage of Goa is very different from that of the rest of India. The Portuguese ruled here for many years, and their influence can be seen everywhere. At the same time, the people have not forgotten their Indian roots. Goa is a place where the people respect ancient traditions, yet are very modern in their outlook. It is also a place where you will find all religions existing together in perfect harmony. Easter and Diwali, Christmas and Shivratri are all celebrated with equal passion.

Magnificent Churches, and ancient temples dot the breathtaking landscape in profusion. The Goans have music in their blood, and both Indian and Western music is appreciated and performed with equal pleasure. Yes, Goa is truly a place where East meets West, and it is this amazing blend of the Indian and the Portuguese that makes Goan culture unique.

Why are the churches of Goa historically important ?

In 1542, the Jesuits arrived in Goa. They built tall and imposing churches with magnificent interiors. Their awe-inspiring appearance and interiors lavishly adorned with twisted columns, decorated pediments, profusely carved and gilded altars, and colorful wall paintings impressed the local population, and played an important role in converting them to Christianity. Of the 60 churches that were surviving in the 18th century, sadly, only seven major churches remain today. However, even those that are in ruins are archaeological treasures of historical importance. This is because, these churches exerted great influence in the 16th-18th centuries, on the development of architecture, sculpture, and paining. The churches helped to spread different forms of art throughout the countries of Asia.

Why is the St. Francis Xavier called The Lord of Goa?

St. Francis Xavier was a Jesuit missionary from Spain. He came to Goa as a missionary in 1542. He cared for the ill in the Royal Hospital, and preached in the streets for the conversion and salvation of souls. He performed miracles during these journeys, and it is believed that he turned casks of sea water into fresh water for sailors, and brought a boy back to life after he had fallen overboard. This noble priest fell ill, and died in 1552, on the island of Sancian. His body was brought back to Goa in a miraculously well preserved condition. It remains there to this day, in the Bom Jeus Church. St. Francis Xavier is the patron saint of Goa, and his feast is celebrated every year with religious fervor and passion. He is cherished in the hearts of the people, who call him ‘Lord of Goa’ with awe and reverence.

Star Fact
The Se Cathedral
The Se Cathedral is one of the largest churches in Asia. The west facing cathedral has a Tuscan exterior with square towers flanking the 30.3 meter high façade. The interior has huge pillars dividing the 76.2 meter long central space from the side aisles. The cathedral has 15 altars.

Church Bells of Goa
The Church of Mary Immaculate Conception is one of the most famous landmarks of Goa. It is famous for the largest bell in India, which is also the second largest in the world.