by Rommel Fernandes
1. Basilica of Bom Jesus
The Basilica of Bom Jesus is famous throughout the Roman Catholic world. It contains the tomb and
mortal remains of St.Francis Xavier who, in 1541, was given the task of spreading Christianity among the
subjects of the Portuguese colonies in the East.
A former pupil of St.Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order, St.Francis Xavier embarked on
missionary voyages that became legendary and, considering the state of transport at the time, were
nothing short of miraculous.
Apart from the richly gilded altars, the interior of the church is remarkable for its simplicity. Construction
began in 1594 and was completed in 1605. The focus of the church is the three-tiered marble tomb of
St.Francis - his remains are housed in a silver casket, which at one time was covered in jewels.
2. Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary
About 9 kms South of Palolem, a good option for an early-morning excursion, is this beautiful, remote-
feeling sanctuary. Snakes, monkeys and birds are in ample supply. Marked trails are hikable. Set-off
early for the best sighting prospects from one of the sanctuary's two forest watchtowers - though heed
the park warden's recent warning: "Don't climb too high, madam, for ladder is under repair."
3. Mapusa Market
The state's liveliest local market, Mapusa Market, is most worthwhile visiting on Friday, when throngs of
locals arrive to vend fresh produce, clothing, textiles, bangles and footwear, along with more tourist-
oriented jewel ery, mirrored bed spreads and the like. Inside the market area, smal cafes churn out chai
and snacks at break-neck speed, and everyone haggles hard to score their bargain.
4. Varca Beach
Varca, a seemingly endless palm-backed strip of sand (punctuated here and there by the grounds of a
luxury resort or a whitewashed Christian shrine), is quiet, calm and almost entirely hawker-free, making
it easy to find a quiet spot al to yourself.
5. Cabo da Rama Fort
This fort named after the god Rama of the Hindu Ramayana epic came into Portuguese possession in
1763. Used as a prison until about half a century ago, there's not much to see these days, though the
drive through thick coconut forests is a real treat, and it's without doubt a windswept and melancholy
spot with a couple of cold-drinks stal s at the entrance, a luxury the poor Portuguese surely never had.
6. Goa State Museum
An eclectic collection of items awaits visitors to the large Goa State Museum; in a rather forlorn area
South West of the Kadamba Bus Stand in Panjim. As wel as Christian art, Hindu and Jain sculpture and
bronzes, and paintings from al over India, exhibits include an elaborately carved table used in the Goa
7. Savoi Spice Plantation
The 200-year-old Savoi Spice Plantation, whose motto is `Organic Since Origin', is less touristy and
elephant-free, but you'l find a warm welcome from knowledgeable guides keen to walk you through the
40-hectare plantation. Local crafts are for sale, and you'l be welcomed with fresh pomegranate juice,
cardamom bananas and other organic treats.
8. Secretariat Building
Goa's oldest colonial building, this was once the moated palace of 15th-century Muslim Sultan Yussuf
Adil Shah who controlled Goa before the Portuguese took a fancy to both the state and his home in
1510. It now houses governmental buildings and is currently undergoing extensive renovations.
9. Holy Spirit Church
This richly decorated Church in Madgaon is certainly worth a look and can be positively exciting when a
big service is taking place.
Courtesy - http://www.lonelyplanet.com/
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