The Portuguese came to India in 1510, after being lured by the lucrative spice routes and exotic East, but their influence is still evident in the state’s baroque architecture, dilapidating forts, whitewashed churches and stunning cathedrals of Old Goa.
Fort Aguada: Made popular by Dil Chahta Hai, the Fort Aguada was built in the 17th century and provides some spectacular views of the Arabian Sea. Take a walk through the fort to the lighthouse, which till date is one of the best example of Portuguese architecture.
Basilica of Bom Jesus: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Basilica of Bom Jesus is another excellent example of Baroque architecture. It houses the mortal remains of Saint Francis Xavier and is visited by Christian pilgrims, all through the year.
Ruins of the Church of St. Augustine: Near the Nunnery of Santa Monica, there is a lofty tower that has managed to defy the vagaries of weather and time. Right now, only one tower of the church has managed to survive, however there is a lot left for those willing to dig deep enough. If that is not enough, in 1986, the UNESCO declared the ruins to be a World Heritage Site, so this is definitely one place that is well worth the visit.
The Reis Magos Fort: One of the first bastions of the Portuguese rulers, the Reis Magos Fort stands tall and overseas the taluka of Bardez. Although it is not the biggest fort in Goa, it does not fail to impress and awe visitors. With its skilful construction and strategic placement, this fort is older than than Fort Aguada and is in no way any less impressive. Almost impregnable, with its reddish stone walls, this fort was one of the most important asset to the Portuguese colonists.
Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary: The largest wildlife preserve in the state of Goa, the Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary boasts of impressive flora and fauna. Here you can enjoy hiking and nature trails, visit this park between October and March, when the monsoons make this park come alive in all its grandeur.
Other places that merit a visit in Goa includes The Church of St. Francis of Assisi, Shri Mangeshi Temple, Dona Paula, Chapora Fort, Shantadurga Temple, ruins of St. Augustine’s Church, Reis Magos Fort among others.