I did mention in my last post “Spice Garden – Goa“, how much I loved history and past cultures. Its kind of in our family, the passion is flowing in all our blood. My mum gets excited if she gets her hands on some old ceramic set with a label on it, my french grandfather works voluntarily in Emmaus and has accumulated an impressive collection of old books, which he of course payed for! I wish I could have a medieval book in my collection… one day maybe. To preserve Artifacts you d better live in a cold climate anyway, its pointless to keep things in a tropical climate, everything gets spoiled in no time. Paper crumbles to dust, mold grows on anything except metal and metal get corroded, so imagine!
A week ago we had taken up a trip to visit Old Goa (Velha Goa in Portuguese). This historical city is called like that because it was chosen by the Portuguese to serve as capital of Portuguese India. The place was abondant in the 18 th due to the plague and was transformed in modern time to a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Old Goa has some few churches, a basilica, a cathedral and convents to show off.
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The main attraction is the basilica of Bom Jesus which is situated at the main tourist center surrounded by beautiful gardens and old majestic trees. It contains the relics of Saint Francis Xavier de Navarre. The mummy in the glass coffin used to be carried down every few years, 1000 of pilgrims used to visit the sacred remains, till this procedure was stopped because of bomb threads. Nowadays every year on the 3rd December, the feast of St.Francis is celebrated with an hourly mass for the believers in Bom Jesus. There were numerous stories that some unknown person didn’t believe that the body lying in the glass casket was the Saints and to prove so bit of a toe of the mummy. We common people wont get to see him anyway to see if its true…
The Se Cathedral is the biggest church in old goa and reportedly in whole Asia, was erected in 1510 and was dedicated to St.Katherine. It was on St.Katherine’s day (25th November) that Alfonso de Albuquerque conquered Goa. Later on, the St.Francis of Assisi church and convent was constructed at the side and the whole building status was elevated to that of a cathedral. The Franciscan Friars were expelled in the 18th by the Portuguese Government and sp the convent was converted to the museum of the Archaeological Survey of India. You can visit it, entrance is some 30 INR, but you are not allowed to make photographies from the museum inside, which is a pity (and annoying). The exhibits include ancient Hindu period antiques and as well as portraits, statues and Artifacts belonging to the Portuguese reign. Its absolutely worthwhile to visit it ,but as a woman be aware of domestic male Tourists, they tend to harass a lots and there is no security person in the galleries (in general in old goa be aware of harassment’s). I noted that many of the oil portraits on wood were having some mold growing on them and I did notice too that Tourists had no respect of Art and Culture and were touching the Artifacts. I wanted to scream out loud! We did visit further St.Cajetans church and the convent. Excavations of the archaeological survey of India are still going on at present.
Since I was inspired by the golden glory days of Goa, I thought of making one of my favorite beef dishes, a goan Portuguese recipe called “Bife de Goa”.
Bife de Goa – Serves 2
1 large Onion – thin slices
1 large Potato – thin slices
1 large Tomato – thin slices
1 1/2 Tbs Olive Oil
1 1/2 dried red Chili – roughly chopped
1/2 Tbs Coconut Vinegar
1/2 cup Water