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Shubhyatra >> Goa Yatra >> Religion


Main Religion : Hinduism
Other Religions : Christianity, Islam, Jainism
Religious Centres : Ponda, Old Goa, Lamgao
Famous Religious Festivals : St. Francis Day, Shigmo, Chovoth

Religion - Discover Your True Self on The Sands of Goa

Mahalasa Narayani Temple , Goa
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.

'Sarva Dharma Sama Bhava' - All Creed To Bloom

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
Basilica of Bom Jesus , Goa

Pads of Sanctity

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 Temple.

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.

Making Up A Religious Holiday

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.

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Top 5 Highlights of Religions of Goa

Inside View of Church , Goa

A True Melting Pot of Various Faiths
Portraying an amazing cultural potpourri, Goa encourages all major religions that humanity today serves all over the world. Though the people of Goa are of different faiths and from different cultural backgrounds, they have come together to create an easygoing Goan culture with an emphasis on good living.

A Syneristic Approach To Many Beliefs
Despite being under the Portuguese control for so long , majority of the people in Goa are still Hindu. Catholic influences are visible everywhere in the art, culture and society. Beside the minority Muslim community that is found in this state is a result of the brief period in the early 14th century when Muslim rulers reigned over the state.

Hinduism - The Religion of The Aryans
The whole of Goa is peppered with numerous Hindu Temples that portray an exquisite architecture together with a divine sanctity. Visit Goa during the festive season when the whole land springs up to life during the colouful 'zatras' that mark the journey of the deities to various religious destinations.

The Sacred Chapel of St. Francis Xavier
Plan a holiday trip to old Goa and you can have a chance to visit a cathedral that is almost five centuries old. Embellished with impressive Dorian style of architecture, the chapel of St. Xavier is a must see for every tourist in Goa.

Route To Divinity
Enjoy a mind-blowing trek through thick jungles to reach the Khandepar Caves at Lamgao (abode of the Lamas) in Bicholim. The impressive rock cut caves showing Buddist characteristics in this palm-fringed temple territory is an amazement in itself.

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