In the city centre of Panjim, the state capital resides century-old churches that are now a part of the UNESCO world heritage sites. There are colossal forts that were built to protect the interests of the Portuguese during invasions. And stealing the show are the restored yellow houses and mansions, which, with its purple doors and terracotta roofs, are reminiscent of the bygone times.
Take a walk back in time, and discover Goa's cultural heritage through its iconic monuments, mouth-watering seafood and divine customs!
Explore the Cultural Heritage of Goa Through its Churches
Goa is the paragon state where the influence of Portuguese architecture is the most rampant. Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church, dating back to the 16th century, displays the true essence of the culture and heritage of Goa. Next are the Basilica of Bom Jesus and Se Cathedral, the latter being one of the largest churches in Asia.
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Goa’s old capital, Velha Goa, is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, celebrated for its churches, chapels and convents. The Fontainhas neighbourhood is known for the unique houses lined along its narrow tangled roads. These houses, painted in mustard, indigo, salmon and other bold colours that mark Goa’s iconic charm, are a striking reminder of the state’s vibrant culture. You could also visit Siolim Village and Bardez Taluka where zagor, one of the state’s oldest Konkani folk theatre traditions, is performed by both Christians and Hindus.
Take a tour of these hidden gems, and find out more about the influence of Portuguese culture in Goa.
Discover Goa’s Culture Through its Food
Staples of various Indian cuisines, such as potato, tomato, maize, papaya, peanut, guava, avocado, capsicum, pumpkin, and chilli peppers were introduced by the Portuguese, leading to a strong influence on Goa’s food culture. Goa’s location by the sea also means there is a considerable touch of Konkani cuisine in its food. You can try out this amazing aspect of Goan cuisine in delicacies with food such as Feijoada, Prawns Xeque Xeque, Chicken Cafreal, Fish Recheado, Goan Fish Curry, and Pork Vindaloo. All you need to do is go to a good cafe or restaurant by the beach and order some good food to indulge in! And do not forget to take back some bebinca and a sample of fenny on your way back home!
Stay in a Heritage Property in Goa
The best way to experience Goa’s cultural heritage is by staying at a heritage retreat. Shanti Villa in Calangute, Goa, is one such retreat. A perfect amalgamation of old-world charm and contemporary comforts, Shanti Villa is a four-bedroom Portuguese abode that has now been renovated into a luxury villa. Bedroomswith wooden panel ceilings and archaic four-poster beds, pools, dining services and modern facilities make this villa in Calangute Beach the perfect place to relax and experience the beach life!
Explore the History of Goa’s Music Scene
Goa’s music scene is quite legendary, and one of the major tourists draws is the annual music festivals that are held here.
The freedom movements of the 1920s and 1930 were transpiring in the field of arts, and the ballrooms of 5-star hotels in Bombay and Calcutta were turning into major jazz centres. Most of the musicians who performed here were Goans as they were exposed to western music under Portuguese rule. Later, Goan musicians also made their presence felt in the Hindi film industry, and introduced genres like jazz and swing to the Indians. One famous jazz centre in Goa is the Gonsalves Mansion. The elegant century-old mansion in Champal, Panjim, known as the Home of Jazz in Goa, has seen a number of Indian and international jazz artists turn up to perform live music sessions on its premises!