Main Religion : Hinduism
Other Religions : Christianity, Islam, Jainism
Religious Centres : Ponda, Old Goa, Lamgao
Famous Religious Festivals : St. Francis Day, Shigmo, Chovoth
Mahalasa Narayani Temple, Goa
Can a holiday be religious? With an impenetrable niche that imbibes a need of adventure, fun or even a tint of leisure in ones' heart, there is no space left to spend an evening on the banks of an ebullient shore that illuminates the soul of secularity. Following a whiff that whispers "God is everywhere", interestingly, many are comfortable with the seeming contradictions they live with; Shantadurga in Fatorpa addressed as 'Saibini' (Virgin Mother), 'Our Lady of Miracles' in Mapusa worshipped by the Hindus as one of the seven sister goddesses, Hindus and Catholics playing important roles in each other's religious rituals. The holiday destination Goa is indeed a potpourri of people of different faiths living cheek by jowl, with the cry of the muezzin melting into the echo of church bells.
Portraying a bona fide example of the controversial
concept of secularity, religion in Goa is about Platonic community,
equable thoughts and common beliefs rooted in age-old realities that
incredibly survived the state's turbulent religious history. Welcome to
Goa, the pleasure paradise, an exclusive beach destination to savour
divinity, a spiritual enlightment you have never experienced before.
Contrary to general perception, Goa is predominantly Hindu (65.8 %). Christians account for just 26.7 % and Muslims for 6.8 %, according to 2001 census. Other religious communities put together account for less than 3,000 of the state's 1.3 million people. It is not easy to spot people of different sects, especially during the festive time, when all celebrate together in a singular cult of brotherhood, in a single tune of communal harmony.
Basilica of Bom Jesus , Goa
To see a coherent model of religious coalescence, drive
to Sapna valley, a building complex in Pajifond, Margao. Standing beside
the Catholic cemetery, you can behold a bird's eye view of the religious
mix of Goa. To your extreme left is the Krishna Temple. Walk inside to see
one of the two Jain temples opposite each other. A little to the back is
the unmistakable bell tower of the Carmalite Monastery. And to the front
right is the Jamat Khana of the Ismaillis and the four shinning minarets
of Margao's Jama Masjid. What a awe-inspiring sight it creates! During
your vacation stay, spare out some time to visit the Mahalsa Temple in
Mardol. You can see devotees taking oaths under the temple bells long
recognised as sacrosanct by the authorities, including the Portuguese!
Goa's most imposing temple is dedicated to Shantadurga, mother goddess of
choice of more than half of the state. Set amidst a camouflage of betel
palms, this serene place of devotion is also referred as the Shanteri
Offering the 'Golden Bell' as its main attraction, the Se Cathedral flaunts of being one of the largest in Goa, with its main carved altar coming alive with scenes from St. Catherine's life. Don't miss the Basilica de Bom Jesus, a church that attracts thousands of pilgrims from all pockets of the world for a glimpse of the relics of St. Francis Xavier. Don't feel overwhelmed to find rock cut caves showing Buddist characteristics in this palm-fringed temple territory. Enjoy a mind-blowing trek through thick jungles to reach the Khandepar Caves at Lamgao (abode of the Lamas) in Bicholim. Look out for pegs carved into cave walls that Buddhist monks used to hang their robes. Excavations at Cudnem indicate an elaborate temple, including exquisitely carved arches and two stone torsos of Jain Tirthankaras. Hundreds of tourists visit this place without knowing what lies beyond the ancient pathway in front of the temple. Taking this will lead you straight to the ruins of a Kadamba-period Jain temple, into its laterite doorways, lintels and stone canopy dating back to 1151 AD.
The government of Goa is taking enough initiatives to resurrect the religious places and promoting them as tourist destinations. And why not? The picturesque temples and serene churches indeed ports a tourist to a divine world. Come over to Goa during the festive time to enjoy the sanctity at its best. You can also go for some interesting religious tour packages initiated by the Tourism Department that takes you around Goa's sacred places.
Top 5 Highlights of Religions of Goa
A True Melting Pot of Various Faiths
A Syneristic Approach To Many Beliefs
Hinduism - The Religion of The Aryans
The Sacred Chapel of St. Francis Xavier
Route To Divinity
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