Monday, October 29, 2012

Goa - where east meets with west: Part III Colva, Temples, Churches, Dona Poula and Vasco

Me @ Colva
On the last day our Goa expedition, we opt to catch a glimpse of Southern Goa - her temples, churches and other cultural identities. Approximately nine in the morning we boarded GTDC's bus; first stopover was at Colva beach.

Colva Beach

Colva is one of the celebrated shorelines in Goa. I saw Colva beach for the first time, as full page picture in an inner page of a diary, presented to me by one cousin. It looked very beautiful in that photograph. On that Monday, don’t know whether it was due to off-season or due to my heavy expectation, Colva disappointed me. We went to the beach, walked through the shores for some ten minutes and left.

This beach is located around 8 km from Margao in South Goa.

Loutolim - Portuguese ancestral home

Next in line were 'Goa Bigfoot' and an Old Portuguese residency. After picking some more people from GTDC Colva residency, we continued our journey. Crossing Rabindra Bhavan, Nehru Stadium and Damodar Temple (close to stadium), we finally reached the home, once occupied by a Portuguese aristocrat and his family.

Ancestral home
After buying tickets, we went in. Here audio guide facilities (in English as well as in Hindi) are available along with the services of a human guide. We entered the house through front door - big one built in Portuguese style, then came prayer room, study room, bed room, kitchen, well, store room, dining room etc.

Three things I noticed here are,

   # A number of holes in the wall close to (and pointed towards) store room. Guide explained that, if some try to break in to store room (which already has a think strong metal door), people can come here, observe what is happening and shoot the intruders if required.

   # In kitchen, there was an old Electrolux refrigerator which doesn't need electricity for its operation.

   # Hundreds of Ganesh statues were arranged in 2-3 shelves, collected by later generations of this Portuguese family. To see big and small statues of different model and colour were indeed an interesting experience.

Lotulim Bigfoot  

Meera Bai

Bigfoot is located close to the ancestral home mentioned above. Apart from an artificial Govan heritage village, this area also encloses a temple which contains the foot marking of a Sanyasi, lengthy stature of Mira Bai on ground, a sun dial etc.

Lotulim Bigfoot and Museum, Araujo Alvares mansion are located around 11 km from Margao and 29 km from Panaji.

Shantadurga Temple

This temple, built by Sahus displays the unique temple building technique of Goa. Big lamp post, lengthy entrance, windows with glass panes and rounded tops, building structure etc are different from other temples in nearby states. Flat panel TVs, placed outside, shows live CCTV footage of procedures and poojas from Sanctum. After having a pradakhina we left the place.

Mangushehi Shiva Temple

After crossing Shivaji Park we halted at a GTDC residency for lunch. Post lunch, out first destination was Mangushehi Shiva Temple. Temple is located around one kilometre away from the main road (however two and four wheelers can go as far as the temple gates). Hence we got down at the main road and walked towards the Shiva temple. Inside the temple, the big white lamp pillar of Mangushehi temple welcomed us.

This temple belongs to Gauda-Saraswat sects. According to our guide, Mangushehi was located in some other place, but fearing religious policies of Portuguese, this Shiva temple was relocated to its current place in 1681 AD. Here also you can see the influence of Portuguese architectural style.

Old Goa – Se Cathedral, Bom Jesus, St Assisi and St Augustine 

Shanta durga temple complex

After twelve kilometre long journey, we reached the famous church complex of Goa. Subsequently we walked towards the famous 'Se Cathedral' (17th century) of St. Catherine of Alexandria. This is considered as one of the largest church in Asia. Please note that photography is permitted in these churches, but taking an individual’s photo with church/ any part of the church as background is specifically prohibited.

Church of Bom Jesus is close to Se Cathedral; all these churches including Assisi church are located in a large but flat surface.

Church of Bom Jesus - currently a renowned UNESCO world heritage site – is an important one for Christians, as it is also home to the relics of St Francisco Xavier. You can see the upper part of preserved body through a glass plate from a distance. Once in every ten years the body will take out for a day.

On the way out, we saw the ruins of St Augustine church.

This church complex is located around eleven km from capital Panaji.

Miramar beach

Bom Jesus Church from the front

Another long journey first through an uninhibited area and then through - Panaji, Kadamba bus stand, Mondovi River etc - we finally reached Mirmar beach and got down in front of famous unity memorial (Hindu-Christian Unity statue) located at the entrance of Miramar beach. This is a small beach and not seems to be a popular one.

Mirmar beach is located around four km from capital Panaji.

Dona Poula Bay

Lots of people, vehicles, shops and water- this was the first expression came to my mind while walking towards Dauno Paulo bay view point. It is here, the two of Goa's most famous rivers - Mondovi and Zuvari – attain their salvation in Arabian Sea. According to legends, this bay is named after 'Dona Paula de Menezes' - daughter of a Viceroy.

You can see this area in many movies, including the latest one - Singham. Indian Institute of Oceanography stands close to the bay. After spending some time here, we went back to our bus.

Vasco-Da-Gama city (Vasco)

Waves at Mirmar beach

This was the last one in the schedule of our South Goa tour. We got down from GTDC bus at a junction, from where we got a public bus to Vasco - the biggest city in Goa. Our train (Vasco da Gama – Yeshwantpur bi weekly express) was at 8.45 pm. As there was nothing else to do, we thought of exploring some areas close of Vasco Railway station.

Fishing Harbour

We got down at Railway station stop; there was a neatly laid market in front of us. Close to that, but on other side of the main road, stands a fishing harbour. After walking here and there for some time, we thought of going there. It was a rough fishing harbour with so many boats unloading their cargo - fish.

Suddenly one old lady walked past and tried to enter the harbour; unexpectedly a person sitting in an old chair and talking with his friends called her and asked entry fee. At first she asked how much, then told something to him. She was not willing to pay, however she finally settled the account and walked towards the ships.

If I correctly remember, the entry fees were five/ten rupees per head. After buying the tickets, we walked towards the shores. It was interesting to see Goa from there, a lot of finishing boats - both big and small, most of them are motorised, their nylon nets, steering wheel, cargo, dirty waters etc. After spending some more time, we left the harbour, moved towards the city and started walking through her streets... Vasco seems to be a well planned city, with straight roads and parks.

Finally its 8.45, time to go... Good bye Goa...


PS: Cashew and fenny are two famous items in Goa. Don’t think that, cashew is cheap here – it’s not, it’s about the verity and taste.

Fenny is a country liquor - spirit made from either coconut or the juice of the cashew apple. Goa has registered for a geographical indicator that would allow it to claim the sole right to term drink created in the region as fenny or "Goan cashew feni".


1. Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC)
2. Wikipedia

For reading other parts of this series

Se Cathedral

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