It’s Christmas and how can we miss the celebrations in the Capital of Christmas? @ 13.45 hrs, we started our journey back to Goa from Dudhsagar. The south sojourn wiped our minds to a fresh blank state and they were waiting to be rewritten with new experiences! But before that, we have to fill our stomachs with something, we were damn hungry. Our cab driver told us that good food will be available on our way back.
By the way, the Christmas destination was The Basilica of Bom Jesus, which is on our way back. But before that, we halted at a restaurant in Ponda and ordered our food. The food is not that great nor that bad, but the quantity is too bad, I think it hardly fills anyone’s stomach. Content after our meal, we resumed our journey to the Basilica. Goa lies at the convergence of cultures and civilizations: Konkani intertwined with Portuguese. This is visible in her heart, the by-lanes of Old Goa.
Our cab stopped just in front of the Basilica which is filled with people. I think there was a mass going on at that time, not a bad timing at all 🙂 . Goa is literally synonymous with churches. They are living testimonies of the rich historical past of Goa. During the early days of the Portuguese rule in India, church building was the primary concern and occupation in Goa.
A fine example of Baroque architecture, the foundation of The Basilica of Bom Jesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was laid in November 1594. It is dedicated to Bom Jesus meaning good or infant Jesus. Its intricately designed altars and paintings are an exquisite artistic expression for lovers of art. Murals and marble floors inlaid with precious stones add charm to the interiors, while the un-plastered exterior appears at first glance to be inferior as compared to the sparkling facades of other churches.
As we entered the church, we were able to see a wooden carved statue of St. Francis Xavier as well as the Altar of St. Anthony. Here, the mortal remains of St Francis Xavier, who died in 1552 and which are believed to have unbelievable healing powers, are kept in a glass case ensconced in a silver casket since 1624. His body was buried in three different countries; each time it was exhumed, it was found to be incorrupt! We lit some candles and had a small pray and went around the church which is too good to have some real good photos.
Just opposite to the Basilica is the Professed House of the Jesuits, which is a two storey building covered in lime plaster which was completed in 1589. There is some legend behind this too, but couldn’t know it as we were running of time 😦 . No probs, next time 😉 . There is also a modern art gallery with paintings depicting various biblical scenes adjacent to the Basilica. We took some photographs here too. And that was the best Christmas ever in my life 🙂
Vivid colors from Portugal and narrow cobbled streets emanate an old-world charm, perfect for busy souls on a quest for quietude!