Walk through Goas interesting History and Culture
Goa is one of India’s biggest holiday and party destinations. The different beaches, clubs and music festivals are what Goa is best known for. However, there’s so much more to see and do in Goa. The coastal state of Goa has a vast and deep history that’s visible in everything from the people, houses, food, churches and temples.
The beautiful little emerald state that we see today is a culmination of various cultures and dynasties. All of them have had their foothold in Goa over the years. From the Saraswats, Kadambas, Muslims and then Portuguese, every part of Goa has a story to tell. Each of these empires have left a lasting mark on the state of Goa. Your holiday to Goa just wouldn’t be complete without witnessing at least a part of it.
Why go for a Heritage Walk
While history can be a lot to take in and is not everyone’s cup of tea, one can’t deny that it’s interesting. Talks about Goa’s history or reading long novels about it is not enough. Do take a step into the world of Goa’s history with Heritage Walks.
Heritage walks have become increasingly popular in the past few years. These walks are a fun and interactive solution for you, where you can see, touch and surround yourself with Goa’s history while enjoying the clean fresh air. There are various different walks like the Old Goa Church walk and the Fontainhas heritage walk to name a few.
Since each part of Goa has a beautiful and unique piece of history to offer. These heritage walks aim at showing you just that. Here are a few heritage walks that you can opt for while in Goa if you want a little insight into this state’s rich culture.
Fontainhas or the Latin Quarter was built by the Portuguese in the late 1700s. The beautiful little quarter is located in the capital city, Panjim. It is the oldest Latin Quarter in Asia andwas named Fontainhas. Fontainhas means little fountain, due to the springs on Altinho hill which surround the west side of the quarter. Fontainhas is dotted with colourful little houses that allow you a peek into Goa’s history by telling you tales of a long-gone era.
The walks through Fontainhas takes you back in time with art from Gitanjali Gallery, Fundacao Oriente. If you’re lucky you may even meet a traditional Fado player! The church of San Sebastian is another highlight of the tour. This church houses a large crucifix with a statue of Jesus Christ who has his eyes wide open . If you want to eat some traditional Goan food then you can ask your tour guide to suggest one of the local restaurants in the area.
You can opt for the heritage walks provided by Wandertrails, Soul Travelling or Make It Happen. Thats if you’re interested in an architectural insight and want to know more about Goa’s past and the city of Fontainhas
Old Goa Walk
Old Goa or Velha Goa was the Portuguese’s first capital in Goa before it was shifted to Panjim. This beautiful part of Goa, is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is dotted with beautiful old churches that were built during the Portuguese reign. These grand churches have lasted centuries and have a history that’ll you’ll never find anywhere else. The famous Basilica of Bom Jesus houses the remains of St. Francis Xavier. Seeing his miraculously preserved remains is a highlight of this heritage walk.
The Old Goa walk usually starts outside the Archeological Museum and end at the Basilica of Bom Jesus. Some of the other majestic churches that you see during these heritage walks are the Church of St Francis of Assisi, the Chapel of St Catherine. Besides these you also visit the Chapel of Our Lady of the Mount, Sé Cathedral, the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary. The Church of St Cajetan, the Chapel of St Anthony and the ruins of the Tower of St Augustine’s Church are also a part of this walk.
There are multiple Heritage walks that happen in Old Goa. All of these show and explain the history and the culture that this heritage site has to offer. Some of them are by Make It Happen and Wandertrails. There is also another heritage walk in Old Goa by Soul Travelling. This showcases and explains the old Christian art found in these churches. So, if you’ve already seen these Churches and want something more or a different insight you can always opt for the Old Goa- Christian Art Trail.
Divar Island Tour
The luscious green island of Divar is the second-largest island out the seven that are situated in the Mandovi river. It is home to over 6000 people. It has years and years of history tucked away in the old temples, churches and heritage homes. A heritage walk to the island of Divar is off the beaten path for sure but definitely worth it. You can hop on to a ferry and sailing the calm waters of the Mandovi river to reach the island. It was one of the first parts of Goa to be conquered by the Portuguese. They left their mark with their Baroque style churches such as Church of Our Lady of Piety, Sao Matias Church and Our Lady of Candelaria Chapel to name a few. The Our Lady of Candelaria Chapel was built on the site of an old temple.
Before the Portuguese invaded and converted the locals of Divar to Christians there were two important temples in Divar. These are he Saptakoteshwar temple and the Ganesh temple. Though these temples have now been moved to other parts of Goa, the remains of Ganesh temple can still be found on Piedade hill on the island. The different heritage walks take you to all these different churches as well as the temples. You also get to visit Porne Tirth, an old Hindu bathing sight where three rivers meet. The final highlight of a heritage walk on the island of Divar is the traditional Goan lunch that you get to enjoy at one of the ancestral houses.
Other Walks in Goa
The heritage walks in Fontainhas, Old Goa and Divar aren’t the only ones available in Goa. If you want to take the offbeat path and explore more of the serene state of Goa you can always check out the walking tours of Saligoa, Chandor, the Goa Island Tour to name a few. If you’re the adventurous type and want to explore Goa alone, we’ve got the complete guide to all the Churches, Temples, Art Galleries and Museums in Goa!
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