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Saturday
Dec262009

Some churches in Goa.....

I am not particularly religious but I am interested in history and some culture. The Indian state of Goa was a Portuguese colony until it was (forcibly) liberated in 1961. There is therefore much Portuguese influence. Before liberation, Portuguese was an 'enforced' language and was not popular. The indigenous elite learned it, but the bulk of the population ignored the language. Today, some of the elders still speak Portuguese.

The church of St Cajetan - Old Goa

Ornate pulpit within the Church of St Cajetan, Old Goa

However, Goa has ended up a multi-lingual state despite the widespread absence of spoken Portuguese. The 'local' languages are Konkani and Marathi. Hindi is the national language of India. Among educated Indians the 'unifying' language is English. It is compulsory in the schools. One of the waiters at the hotel was fluent in seven languages

Goa is also known for a unified religious tolerance across all faiths. My Hindu taxi driver was quite happy, unasked, to find mosques and churches for me to look at. Approximate religious split in Goa is as follows: Hindu 65%, Christian 30%, Muslim 3%, Sikhs and others 2%.

Monte Church, Margao - building began in 1656

Not far from where I was staying was the impressive Church of Mae de Deus at Saligao.

Church of Mae de Deus - Saligao

There are many aspects of social and moral welfare that, presumably, all churches will get involved with. The Church of Mae de Deus is no exception. The following sign, near the car park, will testify:

Not all churches are in pristine condition although there is a lot of work being carried out on the restoration of historic buildings. Indian addresses tend to be along the lines of 'near to the post office' or 'near to a local monument'. The address of my hotel was 'near to St Anthony's chapel' It is in the middle of the main road nearby. It still requires some restoration.

St Anthony's Chapel - Calengute