1. St Cathedral Standing with its gracious façade facing east to welcome each new day, and to the west of the great square Terreiro de Sabaio, Se Cathedral is the most imposing of all the churches at Old Goa, its vaulted interior overwhelming visitors with its sheer grandeur. Se Cathedral Goa, is dedicated to St. Catherine.
2. BASILICA OF BOM JESUS Don’t let its unassuming air fool you, the Bom Jesus Basilica is a World Heritage Monument, and has been christened so by UNESCO. Its un-plastered exterior appears at first glance to be inferior as compared to the sparkling facades of churches like the Se Cathedral, but this little Basilica is rich in art, architecture and history, and the relics of Saint Francis Xavier are enshrined here.
3. OUR LADY OF IMMACULATE CONCEPTION Not all of Goa’s myriad ancient churches are concentrated in Velha Goa. A notable exception is the Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church which is located in Panaji, the capital city of Goa. It is possessed of a singularly distinctive appearance thanks to the double flights of steps that zigzag across the hillside on which it is built. True to its name, the façade of this church is painted an immaculate, sparkling white. To the untrained eye, this might even belie the actual age and antiquity of this church.
4. REIS MAGOS CHURCH “Reis Magos” is Portuguese for the Three Magi, otherwise known as the Three Wise Men. Like these esteemed gentlemen, in order to reach this church one must stray off the beaten path. The little hamlet of Reis Magos, is the home of not one, but two famous landmarks, the Reis Magos Church and the Reis Magos fort. Located on the banks of the river Mandovi, the sparkling white façade of this church is easily visible from the opposite banks. To reach it, however, one must turn off the road leading to the tourist hotspots of Calangute and Baga. A little turn just past the Verem Bazaar past the Hindu tree shrine will lead you to this church. Notwithstanding its slightly out of the way location, this church was once the residence of all Catholic Dignitaries and also a Mission Centre of the Franciscan order.
5. CHAPEL OF OUR LADY OF THE MOUNT Although its secluded location often leads to this little church being overlooked, it is certainly worth a stop on a tour of Velha Goa (Old Goa). With simple exteriors, lavish interiors and wealth of historical significance, this chapel is what one might call a hidden treasure. Its plain whitewashed walls present a delightful picture at sunset, and the view from its vantage point is truly breath taking. Situated as it is atop the Monte near the Church of St. Cajetan, it overlooks the expanse of the Mandovi and the islands of Devar and Chorao.
6. CHURCH OF ST FRANCIS ASSISI Journeying west from the Se Cathedral, one comes upon the Old Palace of the Archbishop, which serves as a conduit from the cathedral to the Church of St. Francis of Assisi. Thanks in part to its renovation in 1665, this graceful building displays a charming mix of architectural styles and intricately carved artwork. The adjoining convent has long since been converted into the Archaeological Museum and is worth a visit in its own right. No tour of Old Goa could be complete without a visit to this twofold attraction.
7. CHURCH OF OUR LADY OF ROSARY Standing atop the Monte Santo (Holy Hill) and keeping a benevolent watch over Old Goa, is the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary. Beautiful in its austereness and simplicity this church is one of the only buildings in Goa that attests to the introduction of Renaissance architecture, brought to Goa by the Portuguese. It is perhaps the most Portuguese of all the Goan churches as it was not influenced by the Goan architectural solutions, which though they have their roots in the Portuguese tradition, have their own unique standing. Additionally, the building remains largely unchanged.