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7 Ways To Celebrate Goa’s Portuguese Legacy

access_time May 23, 2019 chat_bubble_outline 0 comments 1443
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Goa is still synonymous with the cult-favourite Bollywood film ‘Dil Chahta Hai’, and the famous scene was shot in Chapora Fort, built in 1510. It has been a colony under the rule of Hindu, Muslim and Portuguese conquerors. Goa is the state of India that people from all age groups look forward to visiting at least once in their lifetime (and most prefer once in a year), and it beautifully reflects the Portuguese culture and extravaganza. Read on to know about the Portuguese influence in Goa.

Scroll further to virtually tour Goa with fbb Colors Femina Miss Goa 2019.

Read about the Portuguese influence on Goa

Pathway leading to the courtyard of Catedral de Santa Catarina in Old Goa

Inhabited by the Portuguese for more than four centuries, an indelible mark was left behind on the Goan life and culture. Known as ‘Lisbon of the East’ in the early days, Goa charms its visitors with beaches, water sports, seafood and several fantastic places to visit. The Portuguese influence on Goa’s architecture and lifestyle is today famous across the length and breadth of India. One of the finest examples includes the Old Goa Church, also known as the Basilica of Bom Jesus, which houses the remains of St. Francis Xavier. Forts such as the Aguada Fort, add to the might and power of an era gone by.

Before we take a look at the list of places to visit in Goa, here’s a sneak-peak into the gorgeous state through the eyes of fbb Colors Femina Miss Goa 2019!

Places To Visit In Goa With The Portuguese Influence:

If you’re looking for a glimpse of the Portuguese influence in Goa, then here’s a first-hand guide to all the things to see and do for all types of tourists- solo backpackers to female travellers in India.

Basilica Of Bom Jesus

Know about the Portuguese influence in Goa

One of the most revered churches of Goa, Basilica of Bom Jesus church is known for its Baroque architectureYou will find places like these mentioned in Dan Brown novels. Coined by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, its construction was started in 1594 and lasted till 1605. Reflecting Baroque architecture, the church is a visual treat with its marble floors and precious stones on the inner walls. It is one of the oldest churches in the world, and its construction is of significant value to the history of Christianity in India.

The Basilica of Bom Jesus is the only church with no plaster on its outer walls. A statue of Saint Ignatius of Loyola and Francis Xavier is found in the main altar along with a small image of Jesus. The relics of St. Francis Xavier are kept on the southern side in a silver casket and portrays 32 scenes from the saint’s life. The mausoleum of Saint Francis Xavier was sponsored by the Duke of Tuscany and the necessary arrangements to house the body was completed on 24th April 1659. The relics are open to public display once a decade. The event is a spectacle in itself, as thousands of tourists and pilgrims attend it from each and every corner of the globe. The old Goa church timings are from 8 AM to 9 PM, but if you wish to attend mass, then the schedules may differ, so make sure to check this out before you visit.


Goa still reflects immense influence of the Portuguese era

You will fall in love with the vibe of Fontainhas

Fontainhas, also called as ‘Goa’s Latin Quarter’, is another heritage site in Goa. An aesthetically pleasing site, it was established in the late 18th century by Antonio Joao De Sequeira, a wealthy Portuguese who used the place for coconut plantations. Following an epidemic in the 1800s, the administrative quarters shifted to Panjim, and the area turned into residential quarters for Portuguese officers. You could stroll down the streets here to admire the old Portuguese houses in Goa that are beautifully painted in pastel and fluorescent hues.

An interesting feature of the area is the fact that the streets remind you of Portugal. The Rua 31 de Janeira (31st January Street) is named to mark the Portuguese independence from Spain on the same day in 1640. A walk through the area will not only unveil a festival of colour but will surround you with a calming and peaceful vibe as well.

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Detailed Itinerary

Our Lady Of Immaculate Conception Church

Built in the year 1541, it was actually a chapel that turned into the present day church in the year 1619. The church is a magnificent blend of Portuguese-Baroque and Goan style of architecture. It houses an ancient bell that has been conserved from the ruins of the Augustinian monastery at Old Goa. The main altar is devoted to Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, known as Nossa Senhora da Immaculada Conceicao in Portuguese. The altar on the right is dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary, while the one on the left is dedicated to the Crucifixion of Christ.

In the olden days, it was popular among sailors, who would pray and pay their gratitude for a safe journey before marching ahead to Old Goa. Its distinct crisscrossed staircases were added in the 19th century and are a sight to experience. Since the church is located at a hilltop, it is also known as the ‘Crown of Panaji’.

Panjim Market

A perfect place to take home the flavour of Goa! Being the largest market in Goa, Panjim Market catches the eye of people from within the state and outside. The market houses a plethora of souvenirs and quality goods that can be purchased at cost-effective prices. It offers street shopping, as well as shopping malls to its visitors. Cashew nuts, wine, Goan spices, local handicrafts etcetera can be found here.

Fort Aguada

Read about the Portuguese influence in Goa

Ancient Portuguese lighthouse and fort set against the backdrop of sea in Goa

A reminiscent of Portuguese military architecture, Fort Aguada faces the junction of Mandovi River and the Arabian Sea. One of the most panoramic sites in Goa, it was built between 1609 and 1612 and defended the Portuguese from the Dutch and Maratha attacks. Housing a cistern that can accommodate 20,00,000 gallons of water, it is named after the Portuguese word ‘agua’ meaning ‘water’, and ‘Aguada’ thus depicting a place where water is collected. The fort has many secret passageways, a citadel and the ability to house as many as 200 canons. You will also find the Fort Aguada jail, which was Goa’s largest prison, situated below the fort. The prison closed down in 2015, and the inmates were shifted to Colvale.

The Church of St.Lawrence, a patron for sailors, is built on the outskirts of the fort. The Portuguese used it as a tactic to protect their bastions. If you wish to visit this magnificent attraction, then the Fort Aguada timings are from 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM every day.

Detailed Goa Itinerary

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Chorao And Divar Islands

An offbeat tourist destination, it houses some of the most exquisite Portuguese villas that will take your breath away. One can also find Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary on Chorao Island, which is home to a variety of birds and animals. Visitors can reach these islands through a ferry from Panjim.

Mouth-watering Goan Delicacies

The Goan cuisine is a reflection of the eastern and the western styles of cooking. Here are some of the most popular Goan delicacies with a touch of Portuguese which you should try when visiting Goa.


A traditional Indo-Portuguese dessert, it is a multi-layered cake made from egg, coconut milk, sugar and ghee. It is a dish that requires a lot of patience and skill. One cannot cook the next layer until the previous one has been cooked perfectly. It comprises of seven layers traditionally, and you can savour it hot or cold. The locals generally eat it during Christmas.

Goan Fish Curry

You cannot leave Goa without tasting the famous Goan fish curry, of course! A staple diet of the people, it is prepared using marinated fish. The fish is then added to a spicy curry made from coconut milk and a subtle blend of spices such as garlic, ginger, and Kashmiri chillies.

Portuguese influence on architecture and cuisine of Goa

Spicy fish curry, one of the most famous Goan cuisines


This dish is a testimony to the fusion of the Portuguese and Hindu culture. It is stuffed with chicken/lamb/pork filling and deep fried to perfection.

Best Time To Visit

Since summers in Goa can be extremely hot, the best time to visit Goa would be during the winter months– November to February. You can enjoy the Christmas celebrations in December, with every corner and house lit up beautifully to bring in the Christmas spirit.

How To Reach

Railway: Being a popular tourist destination, Goa is easily accessible by rail. The major railway station is the Madgaon and Vasco Da Gama station that connects to Mumbai.

Air: The major airport is the Dabolim Airport, 26 km from Panaji with regular flights to all the major cities of India.

Road: There are a number of operators providing bus services from nearby cities like Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore. All those who wish to drive could take the NH-4 and then NH-17 to reach Goa.

If you’re wondering what to do on a solo trip to Goa, there are plenty of options for solo female travellers. Experience the best of Goa with with your favourite girls with your trusted travel partner – Getaway Goddess.

Share you all-girl travel story and we’ll have it featured on our blog!

Take a look at our women-only itinerary of Goa

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