After breakfast, drive to Old Goa for exploration. The last native Hindu ruler of Goa was defeated in 1468 AD and subsequently, Goa was ruled by Muslim rulers till 1510 AD, and by the Portuguese till 1961 AD. In 1961, Goa was annexed in independent India. Old Goa used to be the capital city and centre of power till 1843 AD, when forced by massive outbreak of Plague, the Portuguese made Panaji as the capital of Goa. The churches and convents of Old Goa built during the Portuguese rule are still going strong and are the centre of tourism activity in Goa.
You will leisurely explore the Basilica of Bom Jesus, the Catholic Church of Saint Francis of Assisi (UNESCO World Heritage Site), the Archaeological Museum, the Se Cathedral, the Church of Our Lady of Divine Providence, the Viceroy Arch and the Church of Saint Augustine in Old Goa. Some of these places are collectively recognized by UNESCO as the World Heritage Sites. After Old Goa explorations, you will then stroll through the lanes of Fontainhas. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
Built in 1605 AD, the Basilica of Bom Jesus houses the tomb of Saint Francis Xavier. It has an impressive Baroque architecture and the whole structure is not plastered from outside. There are no pillars inside the main hall and to compensate for that the side walls were made extra thick. The altar has a huge statue of Saint Ignatius of Loyola and a small image of child Jesus (Bom Jesus). Saint Ignatius of Loyola and Saint Francis Xavier were the founding members of the Society of Jesus.
The Catholic Church of Saint Francis of Assisi is located opposite to the Basilica of Bom Jesus. It was built in 1655 AD in Portuguese-Manueline style. The altar is dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi. Events from the life of the saint are portrayed as fine paintings on the altar.
The Archaeological Museum is located besides the Catholic Church of Saint Francis of Assisi. It was established in 1964. It puts on display portraits, paintings, ancient stone idols, weapons used during the Portuguese rule and artefacts excavated at various places in Goa.
The Catholic Church of Se Cathedral is dedicated to Saint Cathedral of Alexandria. It is considered to be the largest church in the entire of Asia. The Portuguese Viceroy, Redondo, got the church commissioned. He wanted the church to be grand to showcase it as a symbol of the Portuguese might. Its construction was completed in the year 1619 AD. The Se Cathedral has an impressive Corinthian interior and Tuscan exterior.
The Church of Our Lady of Divine Providence is located close to the Archaeological Museum. It is popularly known as the Saint Cajetan Church. It was constructed in 1665 AD by Italian monks (Saint Cajetan and others) who came to spread Christianity in India. The architecture of the church is similar to the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome. Laterite stone blocks are lime plastered to make the edifice of the church. Towards the left of the church’s entrance lies the Convention of Saint Cathetan, which now serves as a Pastoral institute.
The Viceroy Arch is situated close to the Saint Cajetan Church. It was constructed in 1599 AD by the Portuguese Viceroy of Goa, Francisco De Gamma, to celebrate the centennial of arrival of Vasco De Gamma in India in 1498 AD.
The Saint Augustine Church was constructed in 1602 AD by the friars of the Augustinian Order. It was then the largest church in India with eight chapels, four altars and a convent attached to it. The church had three levels and two towers. The Augustinians in Goa was found to be carrying brutality in the name of conversion. As a result, the Portuguese authorities gave orders to close the church. The church was supposedly abandoned in 1835 AD. Only ruins of the church remain now at the site.
In 1843 AD, mired by Plague, the Portuguese authorities shifted base from Old Goa to Panaji. Fontainhas then became residential place for the government authorities. Colourful tiled-roof houses of Indo-Portuguese style are still inhabited by the residents of Fontainhas. Some of the cafes which operate here are the oldest in Goa. Exploration on foot is the best way of rendezvous with this charming old locality.