Before we get to the reason why you are here, allow us to take a moment and congratulate you on the Goa plan you and your friends have been imagining for ages, finally being put into action. The legend who played the most important role in convincing everyone in your group deserves a guard of honor from the entire cast and crew of Dil Chahta Hai. Or maybe the rest of you could just acknowledge their efforts because they are not going to shut up about this till the end of time, and rightly so.
So what are you most excited about? There is so much that India’s biggest and the most sought-after party destination has for you - stunning beaches, electrifying nightlife, water sports, ferry rides, food, flea markets, unique festivals, and a chance to meet people from different parts of the world. Although it’s not difficult to guess why there’s a certain image most people have in mind when it comes to Goa, we appreciate and are guessing that there is at least one person like you in every group who will try to dig deeper and look beyond all of this.
Goa gained statehood in 1987, but it has a huge history behind it and hence its historical places are just as important and as beautiful as anything else. Let’s take a look at some of the best historical places in Goa.
Aguada is a Portuguese word that means ‘water’. Known for having an enormous capacity of nearly 24 lakh gallons of water, the reservoir at the Aguada Fort is believed to be the biggest in Asia. The Portuguese colonial rulers built the fort more than 400 years ago in 1612 in a bid to stop ships from entering the Mandovi River and protect Old Goa from the attacks of Marathas and the Dutch. Around 200 canons were installed in the fort for the protection of local residents. However, the biggest center of interest in the fort is a four-storied Portuguese lighthouse that was constructed in 1864. It is the first-ever lighthouse on the entire continent.
Aguada Fort used to have a huge bell from the Church of St. Augustine in Old Goa which has been moved to the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Panaji. Along with being a major historical place, the 17th-century fort is one of the most popular tourist spots in Goa. It is located at Sinquerim Beach and is overlooking the confluence of Mandovi River and the Arabian Sea, offering unbelievably amazing sunset views.
Location: Fort Aguada Road, Aguada Fort Area, Candolim, 403515
Timings: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, everyday
Also read: Goa Travel Guide
Bom Jesus Basilica is another contribution of the Portuguese. ‘Bom Jesus’ are words of Latin origin and the literal translation is ‘Holy Jesus’ or ‘Good Jesus’. Located in Old Goa, the Basilica of Bom Jesus is a Roman Catholic church and it is important to note that it has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The construction of the oldest church in Goa started in 1594 and was completed in 1605. It was given the status of Minor Basilica in 1964.
Renowned for its astonishing Baroque architecture, Bom Jesus Basilica is also known as St. Francis Xavier’s Tomb and is dedicated to Goa’s patron St. Francis Xavier. The thing that surprises tourists the most is the fact that the church still holds the mortal remains of the saint. His body is preserved in an airtight coffin made out of glass and is displayed for public viewing every ten years. The last time it was held was in 2014. The next will be in 2024. As you enter the church, you will see a number of paintings from the life of St. Francis Xavier who is believed to have magical healing powers. Every year on December 3, the people of Goa celebrate the Feast of St. Francis Xavier.
Location: Old Goa Road, Bainguinim, 403402
Timings: Monday - Friday: 8:30 am to 8:00 pm, Saturday - Sunday: 8:00 am to 8:30 pm
Also read: 7 Fun Things To Do In Goa During Monsoon
Goa’s oldest fort and one of its major heritage sites, the Reis Magos Fort sits near the Reis Magos Church on the northern bank of Mandovi River with the city of Panjim directly opposite to it. It was built by the Portuguese viceroy Alfonso de Noronha in 1551 and further reconstructed in 1707. Initially, the Portuguese used the fort to accommodate viceroys and dignitaries who came to Goa from Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal. In 1739, the fort served as a crucial line of defense for the Portuguese in their war against the Marathas.
The British Army occupied the fort for a short period from 1798 to 1813. As recently as 1993, the Reis Magos Fort was completely abandoned and left in tatters before being carefully repaired and restored by the government authorities. It was reopened to the public in 2012. Today, it is owned by the government of Goa and remains an important tourist spot visited and loved by people. As soon as you reach the top-most point of the fort, you will be blown away by the gorgeous views of the Mandovi River and the stunning landscape of Goa. You’ll also find the seven guns that the Portuguese used during the war inside the fort premises. In order to promote cultural heritage in Goa, the government uses Reis Magos Fort as a venue to display exhibitions and numerous events.
Location: Nerul - Reis Magos Road, Beside Three Kings Church, Bardez, Verem, 403114
Timings: 9:30 am to 5:00 pm, closed on Mondays
Also read: 7 Authentic Food Hideouts In Goa
This is the one you were probably waiting for thinking, ‘where the heck were Aakash, Sid, and Sameer sitting’. We hope you didn’t use Ctrl + F just to type ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ because there’s a lot of other amazing stuff in the article as well! And you don’t want to wait for another cult classic to capture other places and miss them this time, do you?
Situated in North Goa, the fort was originally built by the Muslim ruler Adil Shah and was called Shahpura which means ‘the town of Shah’. The ruler was defeated by the Portuguese who then reconstructed the fort in 1617 and named it after the Chapora River that flows close to the site. The reason for the Portuguese to rebuild the fort was to defend their territories from the Marathas who wanted to establish their own rule in the region. During the 150 years that the Chapora Fort was under the control of the Portuguese, the Maratha ruler Sambhaji conquered the fort twice. However, on both occasions, the Portuguese managed to regain control before finally ditching the fort in 1892.
Although the fort is in ruins today, it remains a top tourist attraction and you’ll find a lot of tourists exploring the spot. It’s a steep 10-minute climb to reach the top of the fort but can be tricky for older people as the steps are uneven. From the top, you will get to experience the best of views of the Vagator beach and the Anjuna beach along with the charming Arabian Sea, of course. Nothing comes close to experiencing these already splendid views at the time of sunset. It will force you to take out your camera to capture the beautiful scene before you!
Location: Chapora Fort Trail, Vagator, 403509
Timings: 7:00 am to 7:00 pm, everyday
Looking for a break from the sea? Even if your answer is ‘no’, you have to visit Shri Ramnath, a beautiful temple located in Bandivade. A fact about the temple that might interest you is that it was originally constructed in a settlement called Lotli (known as Loutolim today). It is said that in order to prevent the Portuguese from destroying the temple, it was shifted to its current location in the 16th century. At the time of relocation, Bandivade was under the control of the Muslim rulers of Bijapur.
The Shri Ramnath Temple completed 450 years in its current spot in May 2011. It is dedicated to the deities like Lord Ram, Shri Lakshmi Narayan, Shri Kamakshi, Shri Sidhanath, and Shri Santeri. One of the temple’s unique features is that its grand hall (sabha mandap) has no pillars and the temple has a separate gallery for ladies. The five-storied lamp tower (deep stambha) has images of Hindu saints carved on its base. You are sure to fall in love with the architecture and the artwork of the temple on your next visit.
Location: NH 17B, Loutolim, 403718
Timings: 7:30 am to 9:30 pm, everyday
The Se Cathedral, also known as St. Catherine’s Cathedral, is considered to be one of the largest churches in the entire Asian continent. Located in Old Goa, the church is the most celebrated religious place in the state and has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The symbolic structure was built to commemorate the victory of the Portuguese under Alfonso de Albuquerque over an invading Muslim army in the early 16th century. The day on which the Portuguese emerged victoriously happened to be the feast day of St. Catherine of Alexandria. As a result, the Portuguese decided to dedicate the church to her.
Se Cathedral is built in the Portuguese-Gothic architectural style. Its construction began in 1562 during the rule of King Dom Sebastiao and went on till 1619. However, its main altars were completed in 1652. So it took the entire construction almost 100 years to complete. It was consecrated in 1640. Inside the church, you’ll find numerous paintings and carvings portraying scenes from the life of St. Catherine and a huge bell. The bell is called the Golden Bell and it is known for its melody and rich tone.
Location: Velha, 403402
Timings: 7:30 am to 6:00 pm, everyday
Also read: Experiencing Goa During The New Year
There it is. We have given you a peek into the rich history of the region that you know as Goa today. But there’s still a lot more ground to cover. We are quite confident that this list will leave you wanting more. So the good news is that the above-mentioned places are only a few of the many impressive historical sites in Goa. Apart from all the fun that you’re going to have while partying with your friends, make time to visit these heritage sites which will complete your trip. So plan accordingly and have the time of your life!
What Is Goa Famous For?
So much! A lot of those things you already know and we will tell you the rest. Goa is famous among tourists for its stunning beaches, water sports, nightlife, carnivals, festivals, a blend of Indian and Portuguese cultures, delicious food, ferry rides, historical places, etc.
Which Language Is Spoken In Goa?
The official language of Goa is Konkani which is spoken and understood by over 2.5 million people in the central-west part of India. Over 50% of the population in Goa speaks Konkani. But there are other languages as well - Hindi, English, Portuguese, Kannada, Urdu, and Marathi.
How Many Days Are Enough For A Goa Trip?
When it comes to Goa, more is less. There is a lot of things to experience in Goa. We would recommend you to plan a trip for a minimum of 5 days. We are not putting any limit on the maximum number of days. In any case, you are going to wish to settle down permanently!
Is Goa Safe For Female Travelers?
Yes, Goa is absolutely safe for everyone to visit.
What Is The Best Time To Visit Goa?
The perfect time to visit Goa for a vacation is from November to February. The weather is pleasant and cool, and the temperature ranges from 20°C to 28°C. March, April, and October are also considered good enough months for exploring Goa.
What Is The Famous Food Of Goa?
Goan food mostly consists of fish, rice, and curry, mostly taking inspiration from its Portuguese heritage. Some dishes like Vindaloo and Xacuti are very famous and known globally.
Which Part Of Goa Is The Best?
If you want to enjoy beaches and stay in proxiity to all stores and creature comforts, North Goa would be the best for you. However, if you want to experience the more serene parts of the state with lesser crowds, South Goa should be on your itinerary.
What Is The Cost Of A Room In Goa?
The rooms in Goa vary from very affordable prices like INR 500, to the most luxurious accommodations in the swankiest hotels that will cost multiple thousand rupees.